Buyers Select:
Viani (Germany)
Edition 15
The editorial staff of "Food & Wine Italia" curates the Buyers Select editorial series, giving the floor to international buyers who promote Italian culinary culture and its high-quality products abroad. In these interviews, leading figures of the international Taste community will share passions, stories, and reflections to take stock of the food and wine market's future and discover the most exciting companies at the Fortezza and on Pitti Connect.
Mr. Antonio Viani left Pietra Ligure fifty years ago motivated by a love for the sea and for commerce that, for centuries, has been the vocation of his homeland.  His journey took him to Germany where he became an ambassador for Made in Italy. In this way Antonio made himself known to foreign connoisseurs of Italian cuisine, gourmets who, thanks to him, fell in love with truffles at first and, subsequently, with a wide range of other preeminent foods. Today his son, Remo, leads the company, an established business with over 60 employees; a great team of “perfectionist enthusiasts” who defend and disseminate our food and wine culture.
On the eve of Taste we have sought out the testimony of the Viani family to find out how they are getting ready for the new edition of the Florentine event amidst the excitement of returning to an in-person format and the curiosity about all the new features.
Which are the most interesting exhibitors for you that are attending Taste? Why?  Could you give us a brief comment about each one?
When was your company established?  How would you describe its activities today?
It was established in 1973 and today is led by our second generation.  We started off as a company that imported and distributed Italian foodstuffs and, over time, we became a point of reference in Germany for the supply of high-quality Mediterranean products, managing to extend our market to Austria and Belgium.  The business was also expanded to include retail with 8 own brand stores in the main German cities.  Since 2016 we have been supplying private individuals through our online store (, a project that has won awards for its design and functionality.
Who is your typical client?  Is the business mainly aimed at B2B or B2C?
We only work with small retailers that sell foodstuffs like delicatessens, restaurants, specialist stores, wine stores and concept shops.  We have a sincere interest in quality, in the sustainability of the production processes and the food and wine traditions of the Italian regions, values that, for us, are rooted in Liguria and have ramifications in the culinary world of the entire Mediterranean!
How has the vision of Italian cuisine and its products changed abroad? How do they differ from local products? 
Italian cuisine is much lighter than German food.  It is considered to be better and healthier; it is characterized by fresh products with more flavor, few seasonal ingredients and the use of local resources.  Unfortunately, this method of preparing food is still not as widespread in Germany, and Italy is a great source of inspiration.  Most Germans only know about pizza, pasta and the most famous wines; extra virgin olive oil, for example, is not used very much. It is for this reason that we have made ourselves the guarantors of Made in Italy.
Which Italian product do you consider is still little known in your country and deserves to be introduced there?
Colatura di alici (anchovy sauce), for example, that many people do not know how to use, or friselle pugliesi (bread snacks from Puglia), a “poor” and very simple dish that needs to be explained and described.  Without mentioning the autochthonous vine varieties.  In addition to these, Franciacorta DOCG merits a special acknowledgment, a spumante that is still relatively underrated in Germany and deserves greater attention.
Have you recently detected a particular interest in the topic of sustainability, in environmental/ethical as well as economic terms?
Germans are becoming increasingly interested in this topic. They are asking the government and companies to intervene in this sense more often. However, the process is taking place slowly. With regard to foodstuffs, it is clear that meat farming and consumption are subjects that divide opinion. The most attentive consumers continue to look for transparency and demand better information about the origin of the products. The sustainability of the packaging, nutritional values and healthy well-labeled ingredients also play an important role. 
Looking to the future of the food and wine market: in your opinion what will be the trends?
The most desirable trend concerns the valorization of good ingredients.  Excellent extra virgin olive oil that costs € 2 does not exist.  You cannot offer a true Neapolitan pizza with PDO buffalo mozzarella for € 4.  Quality has a price and the challenge will be to valorize the work of the people cultivating the fields, processing the products, transporting them, selling and promoting them.  Our motto is "Good food for a better life” in every sense, including socially and environmentally.  In short, the philosophy of Carlo Petrini with Slow Food and Terra Madre.
Which are Taste’s main elements of distinction and value compared to other events?  How important is the return to in-person participation at events of this kind?
Fragrances, flavors, emotions. Elements that it is difficult to transmit — luckily — via a virtual meeting. The pre-selection of the exhibitors is certainly unique and participation at Taste is a guarantee, a certainty for us sector actors. Human contact, in business and, above all for companies like ours, remains essential.
Posti del cuore-Places of the heart” at Taste: what is your favorite restaurant (or bar, store, wine shop/wine bar, etc.) in Florence?
Trattoria Cammillo, synonymous with Tuscan-ness, always heavily frequented and very popular. Then, Il Vivandiere, a wine cellar with Tuscan wines and other delicacies and a very welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.