Welcome to

Gateway to Italy


"Together with my team of trusted associates based in Bologna, we offer a range of services for Italian market entry. We offer a friendly, supportive stepping stone. These services are flexible and adapted to your specific needs. We help you build new partnerships, new trade relationships, your market presence as your first step into the Italian market."

Chris Swingler Facilitator & Project Manager - Hot Toast International

Gateway to Italy



From opportunity spotting and grasping, through to relationship building, project follow through - tracking and persisting to completion, we are your listening, connected partner to help you deliver on your plans on entering the market in Italy. Bringing people together and facilitating building new business relationships.


New Markets

For mid-sized companies from any country considering export to Italy.
- Company Directors - Export Managers - Export Departments
We help you find trusted partners for your entry into the Italian market.
We are influential in finding you new contacts and assisting secure new trading links for your business. Creative, open-minded and
well organized with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
We help you get into new markets. You will be delighted with the new connections that you make and tell your associates back home about the new export partners you have, the new connections you have made
and the responsiveness of the Hot Toast team :-)


Italian Market Entry

A 1 min. video to give you an overview of what we do

Bologna - Office space
Search & Selection

Bologna is a great Logistics hub.

Be seen in Europe,
choose Bologna for your presence.



In association with


Our Purpose

▪ Provide advice on distribution channels
▪ Find you a good match to take care of distribution of your products in the Italian market.
▪ Facilitate introductions, helping you build new trusted relationships that you need for the success of your product in the Italian market. 


What we deliver

▪ Meetings Face to Face or Video Conference or both.
▪ A short-list of distributors.
▪ Helping you select from the short-list.
▪ Helping with your questions and overcoming hurdles prior to your decision. 


How we achieve it

▪ Phone calls to potential interested distributors.
▪ Presenting your brand and product strengths.
▪ Pre-check the potential distributors based on your requirements and potential.
▪ Preparing a short-list of distributors.
▪ Aperiviti and Lunches to build the all important relationships with your new partners. 



in association with EXPO CONSULTING

Marco and his team are trade show and events specialists with a vast knowledge and experience helping companies in many different sectors to achieve their business development goals. In Milan, Bologna, Verona, Rimini we can meet your requirements for trade show support. Many of these trade shows are international, so you will meet buyers from European countries as well as from Italian companies.

View some of the Trade Shows happening in Italy in 2019



Savour the delights of Bologna cuisine and Motor valley with a professional tour guide. 

P.Leisure Italy have put together a 3 day tour for small groups which gives you not only a taste of the Gastronomy of Bologna but also includes a visit to Ferrari with an optional test drive of a Ferrari on the streets! (A visit to the local Spa is an alternative for those not wishing to try their hand driving a Ferrari.) This package is ideal for incentive travel as a reward for your hard working colleagues or as a team building occasion. The tour guide is fluent in English, German and Italian.

P.Leisure can also provide shorter tours around the Bologna area for people wanting to tag on some local visits before or after a trade show or other event that they are attending.

Current & Previous Clients

- Fussels Fine Foods - Somerset
We worked with Fussels Fine Foods on discussions about the Italian market and on creating a promotional video with a native Italian speaker filmed at Bordeaux Quay on the Bristol Harbourside.

- Biscotti Business Networking - Reading
Together with the MD of Expo Consulting in Bologna we assisted in the evaluation of the suitability of the Biscotti Business Networking model for the Italian market.

- International Project Management Association - Young Crew (IPMA - YC) - Milan
Chris Swingler gave 2 presentations to the International Project Managers Association Young Crew in Milan, one was with Paolo Borrelli on better understanding of Italian and English working cultures in order to improve cross-border projects and exports.

- Outpace Logistics - Bristol
We are working with Outpace Logistics to help them open a new sales office in Bologna in order to serve the Italian market.

- Organic India - Lucknow
We worked with Organic India on proposals to help them improve their presence and route to market in Italy.

- Blue Horse Group - Delhi
We are working with the Blue Horse Group to find packagers and distributors in Italy for Organically Certified Organic Vinegar made with apples from the foothills of the Himalayas. This product is made with apples from the orchards of Jubbal where apples have been grown for 100 years. If you are interested, please call Giorgio on +39.338.953.0258.

- Outpace Logistics
With the help of Hot Toast International, Bristol based Outpace Logistics have now established a sales office in Izmir, Turkey.
Izmir is the leading shipping port in Turkey and a city of 4 million inhabitants.

- Blue Horse Group - Delhi
Blue Horse Group are a supplier of Certified Organic Spices who we are working with to open new markets in the UK. These spices mainly come from the Orissa region of India. If this is of interest, please call Chris on 07980.915290. More details.

- Fine Award-winning Organic Wines from the First Organic Village in France - Domaine des Aspras and Les Vignerons de Correns
Chris arranged and ran promotional activities for these wines to the UK trade market and secured distribution through a wine merchant in the Midlands.

- Phoenix Engineering (Document Imaging) - Lyon
Chris worked for many years on several projects for Specsavers Optical Group (The UK's leading optical retalier) and was the Project Manager on the pilot project for the integration of the Phoenix Engneering Codexia Document Imaging system with the store systems in order to enable patient optical records to be scaned and stored digitally and save on filing space in the High Street retail stores.

IAP GmbH - Hamburg
Chris worked for IT services company IAP to extend their export into France, Italy and Turkey with a series of seminars and signing of first customer contracts in Paris, Bologna and Istanbul. The sale of IAP's flagship product in Istanbul was to Ulukom who are Turkey's leading supplier of logistics software with over 800 clients in logistics across Turkey.

Cross-border projects and exports


International Project Managers - Young Crew - Milan Jan 2015 & May 2017

Chris gave 2 presentations to the IPMA in Milan, one was a joint presentation with Paolo Borrelli on improving inter-cultural understanding on Anglo-Italian cross-border projects and exports.

"Great examples, excellent advice, not conventional ideas." Alessandro Franzi, Project Manager Siemens Italy


Fine Organic Wines from Correns - France's first Organic Village

Chris opened the UK market for these wines by securing orders from a wine merchant in the Midlands. It's the same village where Pink Floyd recorded part of their album The Wall.


Bristol - Bologna city regions - similar size - with direct flight link

Bristol based Sean Simpkins who is a Ducati motorbike expert, Chris Swingler and Marco Barozzi MD of Expo Consulting in Bologna got together to discuss ideas about economic exchange between the Bristol and Bologna regions. With a direct flight between the 2 cities in the spring and summer months it makes even more sense to look at ways of linking these 2 city regions of very similar size.

Bologna is well situated, only 1 hour by FrecciaRossa TGV from the centre of Milan and with a well connected International airport named after Bologna's famous son Guglielmo Marconi. Famed for it's gastronomy and having the first University in the western world founded in 1088. It is also at the centre of Italy's motor valley with many big names in the automotive and motor cycle industry including Ferrari and Ducati. 
For a look at some of the trade shows on in Bologna, take a look at What's On in 2019.
For tours of the Gastronomy of Bologna and a test drive of a Ferrari, take a look at Incentive Travel.



Chris Swingler & Ilker Pakten conclude the deal for the purchase of the IAP development platform for the next generation of Uukom's Logistics systems.


Fussel Fine Foods - Promotional Film in Italian

Tim Fussell and Francesco Campanile at Bordeaux Quay prior to filming the tasting of Fussel sauces with Italian commentary.



With the help of Hot Toast International, Bristol based Outpace Logistics have now established a sales office in Izmir in order to extend their reach to the Turkish market.

“Chris has been influential in finding us new overseas contacts and assisting secure new trading links with both Turkey and Italy.”

Alex Rodman
MD Outpace Logistics, Bristol, UK

"I have worked with Chris in recent years and found him very creative, open-minded and well-organized. He has a lot of energy and enthusiasm, besides a great international experience developed by doing business in several countries. Chris is also a good speaker and story-teller and I would recommend him to any company requiring services for marketing, communication, PR and project management." 

Marco Barozzi
Founder and MD Expo Consulting, Bologna, Italy

"Do get in touch for an informal initial discussion. I look forward to speaking with you and earning your trust and permission to help your business grow in the Italian market together with my Bologna based team of experts."

Chris Swingler

Facilitator & Project Manager


Let us know how we can help
Use the form to send a message or
Call Chris on mobile/WhatsApp +44(0)7980.915290

About us

Formed with your successful entry into the Italian market in mind

In January 2015, Chris met with 4 potential business partners in Italy and selected to work with Expo Consulting. Soon after, Giorgio Guidi and Ruggero Rossini also became business associates.

We are all about helping you build new partnerships and trade relationships to ensure the success of your products and services in the Italian market.


Why the name Hot Toast?

The idea for the name came from watching a TV show where Brian Cox was interviewing Richard Branson. The setting was in a hotel breakfast room and Brian asked Richard if he wanted some toast? Richard said yes and Brian popped 2 slices of bread in the toaster. It’s one of those moments of conviviality, something hot to share while having a conversation and the name Hot Toast was chosen as it symbolizes bringing people together which is what our service is all about. In Italy this is embodied by the Aperitivi often with a buffet. 




Chris Swingler
Facilitator & Project Manager
New International Connections
Italian Market Entry Services
Mobile / WhatsApp:
+44 (0)7980.915290 


Hot Toast International
10, Crescent Road,
Bristol, BS16 2TW, ENGLAND