“What will it be, my love? A cream cake?“, Without needing translations, João Garrafão will call the German clientele visiting the International Green Week in Berlin, agrifood fair, which ends on Sunday.
For 10 days, seven national companies and an association, gathered through the Center’s Agroindustrial Cluster Association, Inovcluster, show and sell directly various food products, from cream cake to olive oil.
While waiting for change, Sofia, a German woman in her late twenties, savoured the cream cake she’d just grabbed. “I ate the first time in Lisbon, they are delicious,” he confesses.
At the Beira Salgados stand, João Garrafão invites customers to try not only the cake but also the pies, the speciality of the Idanha-a-Nova company. He calls in Portuguese, thanks in German, and says goodbye in English. And who goes there goes smiling and buying.
“They are very fond of the pastels of cream because many already know it, they have had vacations in Lisbon and the rest of the country. The pies do not know as much, but they try and like it“, explains Jose Cardoso, one of the vendors, still regretting desertification which has hit the interior and affected the economy.
“The interior is practically empty, and the villages are the ones that suffer the most, the worst is that you do not see evolution,” he says.
At Maria Dias Limitada, a food distribution company in Castelo Branco, which has been visiting the fair for five years, the patty of piglets “is what sells the best“.
“The German customer does not usually like fish very much, so codfish, for example, does not always have a lot of ways out,” explains João Vilela, managing partner of the company, who confesses to being satisfied with the German consumer’s response to his products.
For Horta de Gonçalpares, which produces between 2,600 and 5,000 bottles of wine per year, the German market is even the main customer.
“There are people who come here on purpose to drink the Raya wine. Most of our exports are to Germany, it is the first destination, followed by Austria. This fair helps because it keeps us close to the customers who then go to buy our distributors”, reveals João Salavessa, one of the owners of the company.
Sérgio Saraiva, also acknowledges that the bet on the German market has borne fruit for Damar, a cheese producer, based in Fundão.
“We have been conquering the market because people try it, like it, and repeat it every year. It’s an interesting market, we still do this fair, but we’re going little by little. entry to our country. Giving the taste of our products is a way to bring more tourists to Portugal, “admits the businessman.
It is precisely thanks to the tourism and the spread that many Germans look for Dayana. The company, which was born 30 years ago in Cebolais de Cima, parish of Castelo Branco, brings honey buns, milk sprouts, bread with chorizo and, the most sought after, pastels of cream.
“Fortunately, we are fortunate enough that the cream pastries are already well-publicized in the world. Two years ago we had an interview about cream pastries on a German channel, so a lot of people came looking for the cake they saw on television. who proved them in Lisbon, “says Álvaro Lopes.
“Germany is a good market,” says João Rodrigues da Monte Barbo. “We already have some customers, so we bet on this fair. We started to grow a couple of years ago and now this destination is already between the second and third place of our exports.”
The managing partner of the Proença-a-Nova company stresses that “there are people who come on purpose because of the product, but there are also many new people who try and like it,” noting that Beira Interior wine is not yet well known.
João Domingos confesses that the largest market in Beira is still the national market, but internationalization is the way forward for the company that has been producing and selling extra virgin olive oil for ten years.
“We have already begun to export due to the presence in this fair, not yet to the desired level, but we are going in that way. We already have fixed clients, who started by buying a bottle and now take two or three and every year appear. to follow because the company is also growing, both its olive grove area and the olive oil produced, “confesses the production director.
“Germany, and especially Berlin, is already a big consumer of rock pear,” explains Joana Pereira, secretary general of the National Association of Producers of Pera Rocha, stressing the presence of this fruit in several German supermarkets.
“The reactions are good, people who come here think the pear is much better than last year, even in spite of the break we had. People are liking the taste, the size, the size, everything,” emphasizes Joana Pereira, noting that the German market is the third destination of pear exports, “with a tendency to grow.”
The 84th International Green Week in Berlin (Internationale Grüne Woche) began on January 18 and ends on Sunday.