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Sustainable production, organic quality define the historical European heritage of brands
Consumers around the world, especially in Asia, are paying more attention to what they eat than ever before – a big part of the post-Covid era of ‘new normal’.
Healthy foods and beverages are increasingly finding favour where consumers shop for groceries to prepare at home – as well as when they dine out. There is an especially fast-growing desire for quality foods, organic produce, and beverages created using traditional farming and brewing methods.
Food and beverage companies in greater Europe are rising to the challenge. Already with a reputation for embracing sustainable growing and processing methods – including commitments to organic farming – they are seeking to take advantage of demand for natural, healthy foods from markets like greater Asia.
Progressive farmers are embracing biodiversity, which enables the cultivation of organic products without preservatives, free from harmful chemical substances.
With a mission to protect both the environment and local communities, the Authentic Heritage Healthy Europe network is building an innovative model of collaboration that enhances the diversity and specificity of European territories to build a more inclusive culture under the sign of sustainability.
The network has joined Saladplate’s marketplace to showcase members’ quality, artisan products, especially their European heritage, their commitment to quality and transparency in manufacturing, growing and sourcing.
During the past 30 years or so, organic farming has evolved from a fringe industry to a very much in-demand, mainstream category. Successful farmers like Bio Gold in Sicily, are renowned for producing organic produce to artisan quality.
While the farm has been growing produce for 50 years, the Bio Gold brand dates back to just 2004 when third-generation Lo Piccolo Nicolò – a civil and environmental engineer – connected the family’s vegetable shop to consumers around the world via e-commerce and also started distributing to retail partners.
The company’s range includes tomato paste, wild fennel pesto, fruit jams, seasonal fruits and vegetables, honey, propolis, royal jelly, marmalades, and preserves.
“We believe in a better world where tradition and innovation come together to revive ancient flavours, aromas, and colours,” says Nicolò.
With organic certification from Ecogroup Italia, the company grows only what its land gives it season by season.
“We treat you like family – picking the best products and adding a touch of innovation in everything we do.”
Caring about consumers – and their families
Like Bio Gold, Biolavitof Poland was created to meet the growing consumer desire to purchase foods with healthy ingredients. All of the company’s foods have a transparent and detailed ingredient list – free from any unwanted additives or “helpers”.
“Caring about our and our families’ health does not include making a compromise,” the company explains.
Located just outside Kraków, Biolavit selects only the finest raw materials and trusty suppliers while keeping a vigilant eye on each stage of the production. Every product is made in house with no middlemen. The result: they stand out due to their taste and composition.
“We have cooperated with plenty of food and cosmetics manufacturers, both Polish and foreign. We believe we can distinguish between a good and an outstanding product.”
Wine companies expand their reach
Authentic Heritage Healthy Europe comprises long-established traditional European wineries to showcase some of the best wines of the continent to an Asian market with a fast-growing appetite for Old World European wines.
One of those is the eighth-generation Italian winery Maltese 1897, located in the rolling hills of western Sicily.
While the company dates back to 1800, the current winemaker Gianfranco, is continuing the tradition built by the seven generations before him, expanding the environmental protection with a commitment to organic farming techniques. The company has earned the right to use the Biological Agriculture identification code from Bioagricert.
Since 2004, Maltese has been growing ‘Indigenous vineyards’, allocating about 10 per cent of its annual production to experimental research, focused on producing ever-better grapes, allowing it to make niche products with a limited production run of bottles.
“Thanks to the climatic differences offered by our plots in the heart of the most renovated Sicilian wine area, Marsala, we can offer a wide variety of wines of both white and red varieties,” Gianfranco explains.
Another Italian family winery looking to appeal to Asia’s discerning middle class is Azienda Agricola La Molara. Founders, Neapolitan Riccardo Morelli and his family, have merged passion, entrepreneurial skills and technical experience to create a highly successful winemaking business.
Committed to researching sustainable practices while maintaining tradition and innovation,La Molara sets out to create quality products that express the culture of the Italian territory it hails from.
"For us winemakers, the harvest is almost the end of the school year,” says Riccardo Morelli. “It is the moment in which all the sacrifices, all the work of a year comes to materialise for all of our admirers.”
After manual harvesting, destemming and soft pressing, its wines are made in steel tanks and aged in various sizes of wooden barrels. La Molara bottles and labels its wines in-house to ensure quality consumers expect.
La Morala has 10 wines in its portfolio – two sparkling wines, three whites, four reds, and a rose all bearing the designations of the the most important DOCGs of Italy’s Campania Region: Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino, Irpina, and Greco di Tufo.
La Morala has 10 wines in its portfolio – two sparkling wines, three whites, four reds, and a rose all bearing the designations of the most important DOCGs of Italy’s Campania Region: Taurasi, Fiano di Avellino, Irpina, and Greco di Tufo.
The winery’s recent new releases include two quality wines from the Irpinia DOC region, both made with Aglianico grapes. The Aglianico Passito 2019 is an intense ruby red wine, produced in its vineyards in Luogosano, while the Aglianico Rosato 2020 is an intense, structured Rose wine using Aglianico grapes from the company’s Paternopoli vineyard.
Authenticity at the heart
Like wineries, farmers and produce growers, breweries in Europe are looking to rediscover their reputation for authentic, quality procurement of raw ingredients and embracing traditional artisan techniques passed down through generations.
Brasserie Des Légendes is a family-owned brewery which embraces the character of the land and tradition (terroir).
“We cultivate our own barley used for the production of our beers, which is unique in Belgium,” the company explains. “We produce beers of every type: blonde, triple, quadruple, amber and seasonal ales.”
Brasserie Des Légendes controls the entire chain of production with its intimate knowledge and respect for the lands. Its beers are made from 100-per-cent-local ingredients – directly from the ground to the glass.
The latest novel releases from the brewery include EU-certified organic beers, already awarded as the best of their area in Belgium. In mid 2019, the company took over the Distillery of Biercée and its Belgian spirits of high quality, allowing it to expand into a full range of 100-per-cent-natural Belgian products, made from the finest ingredients, selected for their quality.
The company also has a demonstrable commitment to sustainability. Using its own water-treatment plant allows it to recover a large part of the heat energy produced during the manufacturing process of our beers. It has also installed photovoltaic panels to produce electricity, and thermal panels to preheat the water necessary for the manufacture of beer.
The kits contain core components of the Mediterranean diet, including organic olive oils and pasta sauces, sourced from manufacturers and suppliers who adhere to rigid standards. Latterly the company has been working on new recipes representative of other Italian regions famed for their cuisine.
By exercising rigorous control over the origin and healthiness of its product, from the sourcing of raw materials to their conversion into ready-to-use ingredients for traditional historical recipes, the company ensures authenticity and quality.
“Our mission starts from the need to have healthy and tasty food available with easy and quick preparation, but on condition that the originality of the historical recipes is not distorted, as already happens all over the world.”
While Societa Agricola Giardini del Mediterraneo produces organic products for the premium market segment, the company has recently begun work on creating a range of non-organic products to satisfy broader market demands and price points. But management guarantees the new ranges will meet the same high standards of quality and flavour authenticity.
In Madrid, Ozonoex Alimentacion is bringing new life to a century-old Spanish custom of authentic Mediterranean aromas and flavours.
Rojito di Tinto de Verano – which translates into Spanish 'Summer Wine' – is a red wine-based spritzer packaged in 250ml aluminum cans designed to be served chilled at outdoor picnics and parties.
Spritzers reportedly date back to 1900 when the manager of a restaurant in the city of Cordoba in southern Spain mixed a splash of lemon with red wine and served it to some of his customers as a joke. So popular became the drink it became his regular house cocktail.
Over the years 'Tinto de Verano' has become a traditional Spanish beverage.
Ozonoex uses only high-quality Tempranillo as the basis of its Rojito and follows the traditional recipe to produce a drink with 5 per cent alcohol content, making it an alternative for beer.
“From sunset on a beach or a barbecue with friends through to a big party, Rojito with its low alcohol content and gluten-free, is the red summer wine with a unique flavour, fresh and thirst-quenching, to be enjoyed happy on all occasions,” the company shares.
“The note of lemon juice, rich in vitamins, powerful bactericide, and eliminator of toxins, enriches our drink with an authentic nutritional treasure of the Mediterranean.”
Ozonoex also produces energy drinks, its best-known brand being the high-performance Linx, with a good compromise between quality and price.
Playhouses with purpose
The Authentic Heritage Healthy Europe network extends beyond food and beverage companies. One unique player is Lil House, an innovative manufacturer of children's playhouses, educational wooden toys, and furniture products, ideally suited to restaurants, schools and institutions with catering facilities.
The company was founded in Latvia in 2018, where the products are designed and manufactured.
Among its successful creations is an educational children’s playhouse designed for renowned education brand Montessori and made from birch plywood.
“Playhouses are designed so that parents can easily assemble them without tools in just a few minutes,” the company explains. “Lil House playhouse can be used for children's games, as well as for the development of communication, creativity, and various skills - fine motor skills, drawing with crayons, modelling, tying and knotting, learning colours, letters, numbers, and a clock.
“We are constantly working on new, functional, and original products for children that provide their first educational skills through games. We represent ecological and durable toys and furniture from generation to generation.”
The Authentic Heritage Healthy Europe network welcomes enquiries from companies – not just for discussions on trading – but to share common interests related to healthy living lifestyles.
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