Buyers Select:
Claire Fangous
Épicerie l’Idéal (France/Switzerland)
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.
“On the notes of good music, with an upbeat team, the chef’s suggestions, excellent sandwiches, anchovies preserved in oil, salted capers, the exquisite vegetables of Manu, the flowers of Lila…”. These are just some of the secret ingredients key to the success of Épicerie l’Idéal. A treasure chest of delicacies launched by food and wine journalist Julia Sammut in the crossroads of culture and traditions that is the city of Marseille. Next to the shop is a Bistrot-restaurant where the products of the shop are prepared in accordance with ‘the inspiration of the day’ and the seasonal rhythm of the market. From the port city located in the heart of Geneva , Claire Fangous and Pierre Goron have been managing a new Swiss location over the past few months where, among the tastings of the chef and small takeaway dishes, it’s possible to breath in the scents of the Mediterranean Sea.
Which were the 5 most interesting exhibitors for you at Taste? Did you make any unusual discoveries and/or did you find what you were looking for?
When did your business start?  How would you describe its activities today?    
L’Idéal Ginevra opened its doors in July 2021, five years after the debut of the French location. We only sell the products we like: besides condiments, spices, pasta, rice, jams, chocolate, and sauces, we also have a good selection of cheeses and charcuterie at the counter. Taste is naturally the first parameter in our selection. This is followed by the production methods and story of the producer. Besides our over-the-counter sales, every day we bake focaccia and bread for our sandwiches, which make up part of the takeaway menu along with salads and desserts.
Who is your typical client?  Is the business mainly aimed at B2B or B2C? 
For now, it is exclusively business to consumer. Ours is a clientele of connoisseurs of good cuisine, people who love putting themselves to the test in the kitchen and experimenting with new ingredients. In the future, we would like to collaborate with restaurants, because we know how important it is for them to enter into contact with producers and learn first-hand about the ingredients. 
What do you believe is an Italian product still relatively unknown in your country, which is worth introducing?
Cremona mustard, hands down. The combination of sweet and hot might be intimidating at first, but once you’ve tasted it, you’re addicted. I love it together with blue cheeses: the perfect pairing!
Have you recently detected a particular interest in the topic of sustainability, in environmental/ethical as well as economic terms?
There is definitely increasing interest. This is all the more so true after the pandemic, which led consumers towards a rethinking of their purchasing methods. Today, we are happy to see there is greater attention on the origin and seasonality of products.
Looking to the future of the food and wine market: in your opinion what will be the trends? 
I hope that the search for authenticity and genuineness prevails over profit and that there will be increasing interest in small artisanal businesses. What I am starting to see is an attempt by large-scale distribution to adopt these codes as part of their marketing strategy. Our efforts will also see us take on the role of intermediary between quality producers and attentive consumers, with the aim of protecting the work done on multiple levels for sustainability.
“Posti del cuore - Places of the heart” at Taste: what were your favorite restaurants (or cafés, shops, wine stores, etc.) in Florence over the last few days?
The preferred stop for breakfast was in piazza della Repubblica seated at the tables of the historic Caffè Gilli, while outside the city, we chose to dine at the restaurant Tullio a Montebeni, located on the hillside of Fiesole. For a homemade dinner cooked right on the spot, Covo Pasta Fresca was a guarantee.