By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
I recently took a business trip to Italy and one evening found myself enjoying a stroll through the town square. As I walked down cobblestone streets taking in the fresh air mixed with the aroma of delicious meals being prepared in the kitchens of the homes I passed by, it seemed the entire village was out that night enjoying time together. Children played on the curbside while their parents exchanged laughs and friendly conversation, as grandfathers sat around wooden tables playing cards and telling stories. At cafe tables, young friends enjoyed espressos and gelato while couples toasted with glasses of wine. Dogs were being walked and people on bikes and scooters whizzed by. Underneath it all was this steady pulse of life and feeling of connection that fed my soul.
I returned home bathed in the afterglow that comes from experiencing the epicurean lifestyle that is Italy. This time I was determined not to lose that feeling, but instead invite it into my everyday life. Ours may not be the culture that gathers in the streets at night for our social exchanges, but our kitchens once again have emerged as the gathering place for family and friends. Food is the experience in all parts of the world that we share in common, it’s what unites us.
Learning to make pasta was one of the highlights of the Italy trip! Holding cooking demonstrations in your showrooms not only teaches your customers how to prepare meals, it increases sales and loyalty but most importantly, it creates a connection with people. So—maybe it’s time to be selling a little more of the cooking experience rather than just the box with an appliance in it, because ultimately, food and fellowship is something most of us crave and can never have too much of.