The Salón de Gourmets has been an annual gathering point for all things gourmet for more than thirty years. Foods and Wines from Spain takes a look at how this international trade fair got started, and what we can expect from the upcoming 2017 edition
In 1976, the Grupo Gourmets published the first edition of its magazine Club de Gourmets, a publication dedicated to the world of Spanish food, wine and travel. That same year, it organized the first ever "Mesa Redonda de Gastronomía", a round table discussion attended by some of the foremost names in Spanish cuisine, past and present, including Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana, as well as great French chefs like Raymond Oliver and Paul Bocuse. Its purpose was discuss the state of Spanish cuisine and establish the foundations of the "New Spanish Cuisine Movement" – a movement that continues to shape the present and future of Spain's world renowned, avant-garde cuisine.
These gatherings continued over the next few years, addressing different topics like "Regional Cuisines", "Products", and "The Restaurant". Thus, in 1987 the Salón de Gourmets was born, an event designed to serve as a professional showcase for quality food and beverages that expanded over the years to include a wide international offering, until it became one of the world's most-anticipated gourmet trade shows. By now it features a huge variety of products including wines, preserved fish, shellfish and vegetables, fresh and cured meats, vegetables and fruits, sweets, olive oils and vinegars, olives, honeys, cheeses, beers, legumes, coffee, cider, vermouth and other spirits, nuts and snacks – as well as restaurant industry equipment and other related items. To put things in perspective, the 2016 edition of this event registered 80,872 visitors, 35,000 products, 1,396 exhibitors, and 1,628 Spanish and international journalists. More than 10,000 of these professional visitors hailed from fifty-two different countries outside of Spain, a fact that makes this fair particularly interesting for Spanish companies that are looking to expand their presence in the export market.
Now, with the 2017 edition of this Madrid-based event just around the corner on April 24th-27th, there's no better time than the present to review some of the most iconic activities that take place annually at the Salón de Gourmets. Attendees can also look forward to an event that serves as a launching pad for some of the most innovative new products, techniques and ideas in gastronomy today.
Competitions and awards
Visitors to this professional trade fair also enjoy its annual competitions, which include favorite events like the 24th Dehesa de Extremadura Ham Carving Competition, the 23rd Spanish Sommeliers' Championship "Tierra de Sabor", the 10th Écailleurs / Sorlut Spanish Oyster Shucking Competition, and the 8th "GourmetQuesos" Best Spanish Cheeses Competition, among others.
What’s more, the fair serves as the framework for the annual presentation of several different awards, including the winner of the 14th edition of the "Jaén, Inland Paradise" EVOO Awards, the Revista Club de Gourmets and Salón de Gourmets awards, and the awarding of the 32nd edition of the Guía de Vinos Gourmets awards. The last is voted on by the readers of this prestigious wine guide, a venerated publication that (in its 2017 edition) contains 3,995 wine reviews based on 4,320 blind tastings conducted by the twenty-three members of the Grupo Gourmets tasting committee.
Tunneling for wine
Of course a trip to the Salón de Gourmets would not be complete without visiting one of the trade fair’s most popular initiatives: the Tunél de Vino, or wine tunnel. This activity, which attracted nearly 30,000 visitors last year alone, is sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and the Environment. It features 297 single-variety wines from 240 Spanish wineries located all over the country, organized by grape variety. This way, visitors can compare the characteristics of wines from different regions that have been made using the same grape – a truly fascinating and more-than-palate pleasing visit for even the novice wine lover. The selected wines include whites, rosados, reds, sparkling, fortified and dessert wines, as well as both young and aged wines. The initiative also features a wide-ranging program of talks and guided wine tastings.
As if this weren't enough, other examples of this year's 738 activities and events include workshops, cooking demonstrations, tastings, presentations and much more – making the 2017 edition of the Salón de Gourmets a must for chefs, retailers, distributors, journalists or other food or beverage industry professionals from both Spain and abroad.
The Salón de Gourmets has been an annual gathering point for all things gourmet for more than thirty years