Barista Magazine

APR-MAR 2014

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 40 of 107

R I M I N I , I TA LY I'LL ADMIT THIS UP FRONT: I WAS SKEPTICAL. Under low-hanging gray clouds and scattered rain, the bus from Bologna passed acres of dormant fields, and the occasional orchard or vineyard where solitary farmers tended and pruned their trees and vines. January settled across the landscape like a melancholy blanket, beckoning everyone to give up their half-hearted efforts at labor, and settle in instead for another few months of hibernation. As we drove closer to the Adriatic, the specter of an amusement park rose through the misty clouds on the horizon. The roller- coaster tracks, silent and dark, looked like the bones of some great leviathan that had crawled out of the salt water in the distance only to collapse here ages ago. Now only the carcass remained. Before long, we reached the coast, and with it, innumerable shuttered and closed hotels. The bus stopped and let off the first group of travel- ers at one of the few hotels that appeared open, and then continued on its way past empty parking lots, lifeless go-kart tracks, and seemingly hundreds of vacation cottages and hotels all closed for the winter. When the bus reached my hotel in the town of Riccione, a few kilometers south of Rimini, signs of life finally appeared. A tempo- rary ice rink in its last weeks of operation vibrated with sounds of children laughing and crashing their way across the slippery sur- face. After checking in, I wandered along a pedestrian promenade as twilight gave way to night and a few shoppers, mothers with strollers, and dog walkers joined me on the walkway. It was a pleas- ant enough evening, but I couldn't help but wonder: Who on earth would be at Sigep—the international coffee, pastry, and gelato show I had just traveled halfway around the world to attend—the following day? These thoughts weighed on my mind as I rode the bus to the event the next morning, past silent marinas and the vast but barren beach. Ultimately, however, I couldn't have been more mistaken with my doubts. I exited the bus a full hour before the show was supposed to open, and was flabbergasted to see throngs of people flowing from all directions toward the main entrance. From the train station, the bus stop, and the parking lots, hundreds of people streamed toward the main hall. I heard reports that some 100,000 tickets to the event, which took place January 18–22—had been sold. I had no idea where these visitors all came from or where they might be staying, but they were certainly here and ready for the 35 th install- ment of Sigep. Opposite page: Rimini, Italy, comes alive with sunbathers in the summertime (as it will when the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe's World of Coffee takes place there in June). During Sigep in January, however, the boats were tucked away for winter. This page: More than 100,000 tickets were sold for Sigep, the annual Italian trade show for gelato, pastries, and coffee. To navigate the humongous show floor, aendees found themselves constantly referencing the jumbo event maps. 41 B o o k 1 - 4 4 . i n d d 4 1 Book 1-44.indd 41 3 / 1 9 / 1 4 1 0 : 0 0 P M 3/19/14 10:00 PM

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