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Spaniards Plan India Wine and Food Presence

Posted: Thursday, 02 December 2010 10:42

Spaniards Plan India Wine and Food Presence

The Spanish Food & Drink Industries (FIAB), Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX) and the Ministry of agriculture has had eleven regional federations join hands in coming out with the Plan India 2010-2012 initiative and organised a one- day Spanish Food & Gastronomy Workshop at the Shangri-La Hotel on Tuesday, visited by hospitality industry professionals from all over India, writes Subhash Arora

Photos By:: Adil Arora

Teresa Solbes of ICEX with Carla Iradier of FIAB

The workshop had 31 companies from different regions of Spain participating with wines, olive oil, hams, chocolates and other food products (generally categorized as Alimentaria in Spain). Most of them were looking for importers; Bodegas Franco Españolas, the oldest and the only winery in the Rioja capital city of Logroño has recently been  represented by Delhi-based Continental Sales whereas Freixenet has been exporting its cava to India for 6-7 years through Global Tax Free.

There was gourmet food-related Tapas tasting as well as a seminar on Spanish wines, followed in the evening by a food and wine feast at Olive Mehrauli, for which three Spanish Chefs had been brought in from Sipania Gourmet- a Valencia-based company that trains chefs and hotel management. 

Spanish Ambassador Ion de la Riva who soon bids farewell to India and goes to Paris on a new assignment with UNESCO, not only inaugurated the workshop in the morning but was at the Olive throughout the evening. Besides interacting with the Indian and Spanish guests he was surely enjoying the authentic Tapas followed by some finger-licking delicious sea-food paella. In fact, he wondered in the morning why there was not a single Spanish restaurant in Delhi. There are several restaurants dishing out Mediterranean food which, incidentally, has been recently accorded the International cultural heritage  status by UNESCO along with Flamenco and French cuisine, after a meeting at Nairobi that ended on November 19.

Pedro Trapero of Dinastia Vivanco

This is not the first time such an event has been organised in Delhi. ‘But we want to learn from our mistakes and want people to know that we are serious about India and would like to take them into confidence on the types of promotion we shall do in future,’ said Teresa Solbes, the Commercial and Economic Counselor of Spain, who was representing ICEX. ‘It has been a learning process for us and we now realise that India is a big and complex country and we need to position ourselves properly for a long term presence to which we are really committed,’ she adds.

The participants for the one-day event had mixed reactions about the results although a general mood of optimism prevailed in the evening. Pedro Trapero, Export Director of  the well-known Dinastia Vivanco which opened a modern wine museum about 4 years ago and is globally respected as a modern producer with wines at good prices, was quite happy with the response. Noelia Piriz, incharge of Plan India in the Commercial office in Delhi, who has been immersed in the project for months, looked exhausted but satisfied. ' Co-ordination can be difficult in the complex environment here, but thankfully everyone involved has been very co-operative, understanding and appreciative of the project. I am sure the participants will see good results and next year we shall try to make it even more participative. We love India, its food and culture and hope that we shall be able to share some of our gastronomical culture as well,' she says.

Daniel Lulla with a range of Vinicola de Castilla

Arancha Busdiego, export director of a premium newer winery from Rioja- Bodegas Roda making a presence for the second time, was extremely busy because of the incessant flow of visitors. She had boxes full of visiting cards but said, ‘Roda is a top quality wine and olive oil. We want to build the brand as we have throughout the world. So it is important for us to pick the right importer who works with us at the same wavelength for a long time.’ Interestingly, Glenn Peat, EAM of the new Grand Hyatt, Goa was so impressed by her wines that he confided that the hotel would definitely store the wine for the up-market clients once they had appointed a distributor.

Roda may not be everybody’s glass- of-wine, but there were also interesting affordable wines from Galicia, Aragon, Navarra, Penedes, Toro, Catalonia, La Mancha and several other parts. Jose Antonio Jimenez of Rioja Bodegas Escudero is keen to sell in India- having lived in Kolkata and married to Risha Sharma from that city. Daniel Lulla, export manager of Vinicola de Castilla in La Mancha had been in the audience when I had spoken at Fenavin in Ciudad Real many years ago about doing business with India.Taking my advice of perseverance and patience to be present in India, he was present. In fact, there was something for everyone in the F & B industry and eventually for discerning consumers with an international palate.

Olive by the Night-Teresa Solbes with the Ambassador chatting with a Chef in the background

The concentrated effort by the Spaniards is commendable-but they also know one event a year cannot cut ice, even if they were able to attract all potential clients on one single day which perhaps is not enough to cover the whole city. The producers will need to follow up with the potential clients on a continuous basis. Not all may be successful. But Plan India is surely going to give Indian palates a great opportunity to discover  the Taste of Spain which has a number of world star chefs and a wide variety of Tapas and dishes like Paella which has the potential of penetrating the Indian palate used to uncountable variants of biryani and fried rice.

Subhash Arora

For a list of participants connect here

For an earlier related article, click

FIAB brings Fab Spanish Gourmet Experience




Rafael from Dinastia Vivanco Says:

Dear Subhash, I sincerely appreciate all your kind words and interest shown for our Dinastia Vivanco wines and Museum of the Culture of Wine in Briones, La Rioja. Thanks a lot for becoming a great embassador for Spanish wines in your country. Best wishes and see you soon, Rafael

Posted @ December 07, 2010 16:20


Juan Carlos Llopart Says:

Dear Subhash: I would like to thank you for the article on the Spanish Food & Wine event at the Shangri-La hotel in Delhi. It was very detailed and well covered. I would like to  mention that our RIOJA BORDÓN brand has now arrived from our BODEGAS FRANCO ESPANOLAS winery to India through CONTINENTAL SALES EMPORIUM.
Our winery is now 120 years old and one of the most prestigious wineries in La Rioja (Spain) as well as one of Ernest Hemingway favorite wineries when in 1956 he came to our region to write "For whom the bells tolls".Best regards. Juan Carlos Llopart
Bodegas Franco Espanolas, S.A.

Posted @ December 07, 2010 12:08


Raquel Says:

Dear Subhash, Thank you very much. The article is very complete and fully detailed. Congrats! Regards, Raquel

Posted @ December 03, 2010 15:30


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