Wine trade fairs like Vinisud in France and Sapore in Italy are happening one after the other. ©zimmytws/

(Relaxnews) – This week is chock full of major international events around the world. From the largest food and drink expo in the Middle East to wine shows in Italy and France, and the largest agricultural fair in France, here are some of the most noteworthy food and drink events around the world.

4th annual Gourmet Abu Dhabi 
February 8-23
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Presented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, this ritzy trade and food show is an aggressive attempt to establish the region as a culinary destination and spares no expense. Though in its infancy, the show has attracted a few culinary superstars already. This year’s event will be attended by master chefs like Jean-François Piège, Daniel Patterson and Christina Tosi. The dining scene of Abu Dhabi has changed dramatically over the years, and today, fine dining Italian restaurants are second only to Middle Eastern cuisine. As the Middle East’s cultural hub, it’s also a culinary cosmopolitan metropolis, with Asian flavors from authentic Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean chefs.

17th Annual Gulfood 2011
February 19 -22
Dubai World Trade Centre
Dubai, UAE

Gulfood is the Middle East’s largest food, drink, foodservice and hospitality exhibition. Live events include a live baking theater, global chef competition and award ceremonies, while conference topics will cover packaging trends, consumer trends and Halal. Last year’s event drew 62,024 trade visitors — an increase of 12 percent over last year — from more than 150 countries. In excess of 1 million square feet (close to 100 000 square meters) of exhibition space was allocated to 3,800 exhibitors bringing products, services and innovations the Middle East from 100 countries around the world.

10th annual Vinisud
February 20-22
Parc des Expositions
Montpellier, France

As the leading wine trade show for Mediterranean producers, Vinisud attracts 1,700 winemakers from France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece,Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, Lebanon, Israel and Algeria — an area that produces 52 percent of the world’s wine output. The trade show is biennial and is expected to attract 33,000 visitors around the world. New this year is a focus on digital communication, with a dedicated Pavilion 2.0 that will offer workshops and sessions on how to tap into the power of social media. It will also act as a meeting place for influential wine bloggers around the world.

SAPORE Tasting Experience 2012, Italy
February 25 – 28
Rimini Fiera, Italy

One of the biggest events at this Italian trade show is the Pasta Expo and Tasting, the largest of its kind in Italy. The event’s motto is “Eating Out Around the Clock,” and it positions itself as the first look for food trends for the upcoming year. New this year will be the Gran Prix, International Chef Contest a competition for hot and cold cuisine. Last year, more than 100 new products were showcased, and the event attracted nearly 79,820 professional visitors and 865 companies.

49th annual Salon International de l’Agriculture
February 25 – March 4
Paris, France

The largest expo of its kind in France, the agricultural show attracts 1,140 exhibitors from 35 countries and last year drew more than 675,000 visitors. In addition to the show-stopping event, the general animal competition, the fair also showcases the latest in French and international gastronomy. This year’s theme highlights the agricultural profession, as the country tries to entice younger generations into taking up the trade. Other pavilions and itineraries that are popular with the crowds include wine, new and unusual flavors and regional, specialty products.

Release of 2012 Guide Michelin France
February 27

You can bet that chefs and restaurateurs in France have circled this date in their calendar, as fine dining establishments hope to see themselves included in the exclusive, starred club reserved only for the world’s best. According to one media outlet in France, Emmanuel Renaut’s Flocons de Sel will be given three stars in the 2012 Michelin edition.

20th annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
March 2-21

A gastro-festival for Aussies, this three-week event offers more than 300 food and wine events throughout the city. One of the highlights this year is the Theater of Ideas which brings together the ‘game-changers’ of the industry who will share their big ideas on the future of food. Speakers include chefs René Redzepi, David Chang, Massimo Bottura and Ben Shewry.

Paris Cookbook Fair
March 7 – 12
Paris, France

Billed as the largest cookbook and wine book meeting in the world, organizers have added an extra day to this year’s version due to its continued growth. The first three days will be reserved for professionals before opening up to the public. One of the highlights of the event is the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, which crowns the world’s best cookbooks. The gala takes place March 6 at Les Folies Bergere. More than 8,000 professionals and 30 publishers from 60 countries attended last year’s show. This year’s event will focus on China as the invited country, and the French region of Brittany. Beer, likewise, is the product of the year. 

32nd Natural Products Expo West
March 8-11
Anaheim, California, USA

Now in its 32nd year, the Natural Products Expo West is one of the largest natural, organic and healthy products trade shows and conventions in the world, alongside Vivaness, with more than 55,000 industry professional attending last year’s event. More than 3,000 exhibits from over 1,900 different companies showcasing the newest products in natural and specialty foods, organic, health and beauty, natural living, supplements and pet products. Its sister show, the 26th Natural Products Expo East, ran September 21-24, in Baltimore, Maryland, and drew a crowd of 25,000 with 1,300 exhibits. Natural Products Expo Asia, in its tenth year in 2012, is being held in Hong Kong (dates not announced). In 2011, the event attracted some 10,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors. Admission fees range for industry professionals; admission for non-industry professionals is $375 if purchased by February 3.

International Pizza Expo
March 13- 15
Las Vegas, NV, USA

The oldest and largest pizza show resumes this year with the ever popular World Pizza Games. Competitions are held daily and will pit pie-makers against one another in challenges like freestyle, acrobatic dough tossing; fastest dough; largest dough stretch; fastest pizza box folding; and longest spin. The International Pizza Champion also crowns the best pie-maker in the world for factors like crust, cheese, sauce, toppings and creativity. The trade show spans the size of five football fields at the Las Vegas Convention Center and attracts 6,000 pizza operators and 450 exhibitors.

46th Annual Vinitaly
March 25-28
Veronafiere Fairground
Verona, Italy

Vinitaly is the Italian answer to France’s Vinexpo, a four-day event devoted to international wines and spirits, winemaking and wine business. Last year’s event attracted more than 4,000 exhibitors, and 156,000 visitors from 100 countries. Unlike other wine trade shows that are closed to the public, Vinitaly focuses on consumers, oenophiles and wine lovers in addition to offering tastings, workshops and meetings between suppliers, growers and trade operators.