As some of you might have noticed, during the last few weeks we have been visiting some fairs presenting our finest fresh truffles and truffle speciality products.We were at the 31st edition of Salón de Gourmets in Madrid, in the hotel Las Arenas in Valencia, the fair of La Senia and the 25th edition of the San Isidro fair in Castalla, Alicante.We got interested in the history of the fairs and that is why we did some research and wrote a small article for those who would like to know more about it as well.
The first fairs were being held in West Europe between the 5th and 10th century. In this period of time rural agricultural economy was the primary source of income, but slowly cities began to grow in population. People started to trade, both on a domestic level as overseas.
In cities with a strategic geographical situation groups of merchants started to organize themselves in groups, like the blacksmiths, bakers, craftsmen etc. and began to meet annually taking advantage of the local bank holidays while many people were in the city celebrating. And so the fairs were born.
Since many of these trades concerned animals, fairs were usually held on the outskirts near the gates of the walls. Later the fairs moved into the city, on squares with buildings around. With the growth of the city these squares became central points with a commercial function.
With the expansion of goods, animals and people a better organization was essential. Merchants got physical protection from local authorities (whether secular or religious) and occasionally even from the King himself. Furthermore economic guarantees and taxes were introduced.
From the very first start of the fairs until the day of today, they have always been considered as a social, economic and cultural event. It can be permanent, temporary, periodical or annual and it is being held in an established place with a common content.
Its primary objective will always be the commercial stimulation of the products being exposed. But especially nowadays, when everything around us is so attractively presented it is inevitable to be creative and present your products in a fun and beautiful way were tastings are a welcome component.
For us the fairs have been really interesting (and ok, also hard work ;). We have met some great people, made business partners, got new ideas and learned a lot about the food and gourmet industry. In October we are going to one of the most important food fairs in Europe which is Anuga in Köln. Hope to see you there!