From Rondo to Rademaker, Panettone to pizza, the AB Tech Expo show, which recently took place in Milan, was a showcase for equipment and some new flavour combinations.

There was much interest in Tagliavini’s new Rotovent rack oven, the RVT68, which is a smaller size than its predecessor, uses less electricity, and comes in three versions, depending on goods output. But the major feature is that the rack oven is delivered in two ready-made sections. Giovanni Gaibazzi, export manager and son of the com-pany’s founder, tells British Baker: "We put the two sections together in under one hour; all the baker has to do is plug it in, there is no loss of production because, in under one hour, the oven is working."

Gaibazzi explains that the company exports all over the world, with the UK a major market. Rotovent RVT68 is suitable for trays of 60x80 or 65x85 and measures 130x170x205cm. The doorway is 75cm. Energy-saving is standard.

Sottoriva’s equipment is known worldwide. Its latest Athena divider/rounder is claimed to be the only machine that can form round doughballs from 25g up to 700g in other words from hamburger buns up to large baguettes. Aimed at large wholesale and industrial bakers, it can be converted very fast in just two minutes.

Managing director Igino Sottoriva tells British Baker: "This flexibility is not common in the market. The dough hopper takes up to 250kg of dough and dividing is virtually stress-free. Operating one to six rows, there is no need for an elevator, and a tipper is better for the dough."

Deals being done

UK representative for Sottoriva Andy Turner of Tecnobake says: "A contract with a major UK supermarket is about to be signed and a major wholesale bakery in Kent is installing a Tecna 240 ciabatta line. The efficiency of Sottoriva’s equipment is known and respected."

Pietroberto’s latest rack oven series the PBR-H, designed for the UK, is available through UK industrial sales manager Alan Burgess. "When commissioning the rack oven, it is easy to balance air distribution laterally and vertically, which is very important for overall heat distribution over a variety of products. These include flatbreads, standard breads and pastries," says Burgess.

"The model number determines the size of oven, which is designed for UK tray size 30x18," he explains. As well as a very easy-to-understand panel, allowing the operator to set temperature, baking and steam times, the Pietroberto offers an optional computer control panel with LCD display for 100 recipes. The double-glazed door ensures fingers do not get burnt.

Burgess adds: "Another asset is the fact the mechanism for driving the turntable is at the top so there is the advantage of no stress at the bottom of the oven. This ensures a smooth operation, a longer working life and no ingress of water to the electronics during high-pressure water cleaning."

Universal appeal

Rondo’s Curl & More was launched at IBA and is proving particularly successful, according to salesman Urs Wullschleger, because customers like the universality. It can make all sizes of croissants, filled and unfilled. "But what they particularly like is the filling ratio of 1-1 50g of dough weight and 50g of filling. That is unique," says Wullschleger. The machine also makes, breads and baguettes up to 400g and soft, curved sticks.

One of the advantages of visiting overseas shows is the chance to pick up on new flavours.


On the cake side, panettone used to come in plain versions, or with dried fruits and, more recently, containing chocolate chips. But now lemon-flavoured panettone is everywhere! And, right next to it, also filling the bakery shelves of major shop chains like Rinascente, is apricot and ginger panettone.

On the bread side, one very popular new product is the bacon twist. It is available in snack bars and restaurants and makes a great accompaniment to meals. Rondo and Sottoriva equipment are among those that would cope easily with the shape. The crumb, not crust, is simply dotted with tiny pieces of bacon that, once you have bitten through the light, almost crumbly crust, render a delicious, light flavour that is very more-ish.


Masterclasses at AB Tech’s demonstration theatres showed not only panettone, but how to make the perfect pizza, with long-sliced courgettes proving a popular topping and even slivers of savoury pumpkin to add a topical autumnal flavour.

On the quiche and savoury tart side, egg, minced courgette and onion was the in-flavour, with samples disappearing faster than they could be made and visiting bakers coming back from more. And while frozen breads from companies such as ’Bakery’ are growing in supermarkets and foodservice, craft still reigns supreme.

Finally, the Petra crusty loaf (left) has a simple wraparound label. It clearly identifies the name of the loaf on one side and, on the other, gives a tantalising description of the loaf itself marketing at its best.

Two into one

The AB Tech Expo show in Milan, Italy from 23-27 October featured the biggest range of Italian machinery manufacturers you could hope to find under one roof.
But Italy still has two shows SIAB in May and AB Tech in October both every three years. If they were to unite, or reunite after their earlier split, they would be a massive tour de force. Mondial Forni is among those loyal to SIAB. Polin, with a larger presence at SIAB, is beginning to take display space at AB Tech, while companies such as Sottoriva are dedicated AB Tech followers. But it is not just organising committees and craft bakery associations competing, it is also Veronafiera and Milanofiera, the city hosts, so compromise will be difficult. But visitors (like exhibitors) are split, so compromise is essential or Germany’s IBA will grow at the expense of some great Italian companies whose market is equally worldwide.
Paolo Zarantonello, MD of Rondo in Italy, is president of SIPAN, an organisation for manufacturers of bakery, pastry, pizza and pasta machinery, which has 75 members. He is the man charged with finding a way through the stand-off. Aldo Tagliabue, the founder and organiser of AB Tech Expo in 2007, was the man who also founded and built up SIAB many years earlier, before SIAB’s supporting organisation, Promopan, awarded the SIAB show to Veronafiera.