Gourmet western food is a rare find in Guangzhou. Although the city is renowned for its Cantonese cooking, foreign specialties such as French cuisine or Italian fare are hard to come by. In recent years, however, local restaurateurs have been beefing up the foreign food scene with a flurry of European eateries. Italian food seems to be the trend these days, as restaurants and food firms open their doors and delectables to local and foreign customers. Other Italian products such as coffee and a string of wines have been pushing their way into the Guangzhou food market. 'I think there are more companies in Guangzhou doing Italian food promotions,' said Judy Yu, general manager of the Yi Fei Trading Company, which distributes the Italian espresso coffee, Lavazza, in South China. 'There are also a lot of Italian wine companies coming here.' According to Ms Yu, although many local people are not accustomed to Italian food, the reason for the increased promotion is due, in part, to events happening in Europe. 'This year in the European Union, Italy is playing a larger role, so many Italian consulates around the world have been putting on promotions,' she said, adding that in December at the Garden Hotel on Huanshi Lu, several local Italian restaurants and food companies put on a display of Italian cooking and food products. 'This in only the beginning,' said Ms Yu. Young people are more likely to try these new Italian eateries and other western restaurants. Desserts such as tiramisu and drinks such as espresso and cappuccino are becoming more common on menus around town. 'A lot of young people are interested in tiramisu,' said Summer Xuan, the manager of the Italian Restaurant on Huanshi Lu. 'A lot of men like it because it has rum in it.' 'In Asia, tiramisu is probably the most famous western dessert,' said Davide Ruan, owner of Milano Ristorante and Caffe Italiana, located at the foot of the Guangzhou World Trade Centre. 'A lot of local people like the taste because it's very smooth.' Tastes are definitely changing in Guangzhou. And while the city still remains the Mecca of Chinese food, its growing tendency towards more western flavours is a sign that there could be more high-quality western eateries on the horizon.