Ventuno Italy makes its debut: The Lombardy Experience Box

The entrepreneurial spirit of Riva 1920 in support of an Italian food technology startup

Milan, April 9-14, 2019 – On the occasion of Milano Design Week 2019, Ventuno Italy, an all-women Italian startup, presents its Lombardy Experience Box, a triptych of wooden cases from reforested oak, designed and manufactured by Riva 1920. Each Box holds a veritable treasure trove of gourmet specialties for each of the three highlights of convivial enjoyment – l’aperitivo, that famed staple of the Milanese lifestyle, dinner and dessert. Craftsmanship, respect for nature and Italian-made excellence are the fundamental tenets of the newborn venture as much as the Riva family’s: four generations of entrepreneurs and patrons whose social and environmental awareness have steadily grown in the course of nearly one hundred years. These shared values are key to Riva 1920’s mentorship of Ventuno Italy, with a view to providing the latter with an international stage where its story can be told, its value proposition communicated.

The sumptuous dovetail joint cases in finest oak wood, crafted by Riva 1920 and treated with eco-friendly, recyclable natural oils, enclose culinary combinations painstakingly selected by Ines di Franco, Ventuno founder and a former student of Gualtiero Marchesi’s. High-end, exquisitely packaged specialties from Italy’s manifold wine & food traditions and terroirs, from boutique estates that are unavailable to the large-scale retail trade. 

Needless to say, the Salone sees the launch of Milano’s own region: Lombardy. As with all regional Experience Boxes, we toast to the classic convivial moments in Italy’s dolce vita and the Milanese way of life – aperitif, dinner and dessert. L’aperitivo takes center stage in its role as the quintessential Milanese ritual, enjoyed in hotspots of the city’s bustling nightlife or in the peace and quiet of one’s home, to relieve the pressure of a busy day in the Lombard capital. Dinner brings us the fragrance and flavors of lakeside hills, misty flatlands and snow-capped mountains, as diverse as the region’s geography. Lombard cuisine favors hearty simplicity, with staples like corn, wheat and – first and foremost – rice; butter is the preferred condiment, berry fruit is very popular and so is polenta, in its every possible rendition. At the more sophisticated end of the spectrum, the region offers exquisite, caviar-based dishes to spice up special occasions and select menus. Dessert concludes the triptych on a joyful note: crispy or soft, candied or stuffed, delightfully laden with dried fruit, raisins and almonds and paired with a luminous Moscato from Italy’s tiniest DOCG appellation.

Ventuno Italy is food technology in its finest incarnation: regional traditions and terroirs flanked by an innovative technology that constitutes our strategic asset, providing connoisseurs with an immersive, multi-sensory experience: special viewers and a Virtual Reality app, currently on beta stage, which enable users to steep themselves in Italy’s landscapes and history, region by region. Their gourmet experience is extended and rendered interactive. All five senses are brought to bear as users explore the flavors, sights and scents of a 360-degree Italian journey.

Supported by startup accelerator G2 and by two forward-thinking Chinese investors, our business venture is also based on a careful analysis of market trends for Italian food exports worldwide, which are expected to see significant growth (this was already as much as +3% in 2018, i.e. €42 billion), and for VR, indicating projections of $95 billion in 2025 (Goldman Sachs, 2017). Our target customer is the wine & food tourist in Italy, who already generates €26 billion per annum, as well as the discerning gourmet looking for the finest quality and true Italian craftsmanship.

As she prepares to make her Salone debut, founder Ines di Franco is palpably excited: “I am deeply grateful to Maurizio Riva and his family for choosing to support my presentation in the course of this unmissable international event. Translating innovative ideas into business facts is not always easy and it is far from common to see one’s predecessors in entrepreneurship be as generous and selfless as the Rivas in supporting newborn business ventures. Should more senior businesses follow their example, opportunities and motivation would grow, and so would the market.”

Ventuno Italy is the brainchild of Sicilian-born, Milanese-bred Ines di Franco, who trained at length in Paris, notably with Gualtiero Marchesi. Inspired by the depth and complexity of Italy’s cultural and culinary heritage, the Italian startup has won numerous international accolades, such as the Bank of China Award in 2016 (when the project was still on paper); it was one of ten finalists in the ISIC 2017 competition (Italian Scale-up Initiative in China); and was recognized as Best Food & Technology Startup by Martin Lindstrom at the Philip Kotler Marketing Forum in 2018.

For further info:

Ventuno Italy – – +39 02 83422410