Archive for July, 2010

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So much food, so little time…

I was pleasantly surprised at the 479° Popcorn booth. How exciting can flavored popcorn be? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Me too. But their flavors –Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar, Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews, and Black Truffle & White Cheddar – were both creative and delicious.

And speaking of creative, I just loved the breakfast pitas, with real fruit pieces, from Ozery Bakery. Available in apple cinnamon, cranberry orange, and breakfast muesli, they make a fabulous substitute for your usual morning bagel, toast, etc. (I’m thinking the cranberry orange wouldn’t be too shabby with a lunchtime turkey sandwich either!)

Granola Flats weren’t much more than an ultra-thin flattened granola bar (Nature Valley type), but they were darn tasty! Plus, they’re sold as a “chip” rather than a bar which means I have something to snack on now when hubby dives into the Fritos during a baseball game.

When it comes to food, I’ll try anything once. (Whether I’ll try it again is a different story.) But there is the occasional product that my brain just won’t allow past my lips. That’s been true in the past of vinegar drinks brought to me by my wonderful co-workers at David Michael Beijing. I love vinegar – so much, that I load it up on my salads to the point of mouth numbing. But the idea of drinking it, like juice – I just couldn’t get past that. So, when I spotted Hong Cho’s pomegranate vinegar drink, I decided to go for it. And you know what? It’s pretty good! The vinegar is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Since there are a number of health-benefits linked to vinegar drinks, I’m officially adding this to my radar. With the right marketing (a downplay of the word “vinegar” I’m thinking) this could be a future trend to watch.

Other fun finds at this year’s show? I was excited to spot macqui berry at Honest Tea’s booth in the new Macqui Berry Mate – keep your eyes peeled for more of this superfruit. There was lots of prickly pear and blood orange flavored goodies, mostly drinks. I found Parisian macarons at a number of booths, including the frozen macarons at Galaxy Desserts – perfect for foodservice. The Naan Pizza at Tandoor Chef was awesome – it’s about darn time we had something like this on the market. And, Chobani Greek Yogurt now offers Chobani Champions, said to be the only Greek yogurt made for kids.

And my favorite product of the show? Nothing too crazy here – my personal favorite were the falafels at Falafel Republic. Lightly fried balls of ground chick peas, falafels are typically served in a pita from your favorite street vendor. This version needs only seconds in the microwave to heat up, and the falafels are satisfyingly savory and filling. Served with tzatziki sauce, I could eat them every day, with or without the pita.

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Probably the most innovative product I spotted at this year’s Fancy Foods Show was the Brazilian import, Bacon Krisps. Distributed by Acme Import Co., Bacon Krisps are very interesting little snacks. A minute in the microwave, and voila, these little wheat nuggets puff up into perfect little red, white and tan striped bacon-flavored snacks (you know, the kind of striped coloring you wish your at-home bacon actually looked like). And bonus: they’re vegetarian! And on a side note, this was just one of many air-popped snacks for kids and adults on display.

Danielle’s Crispy Veggie Chips sells a line of exotic dehydrated fruits and veggies, including jackfruit, roasted coconut, spicy carrot and okra. What I most surprised by was how popular the durian was at the show. If you’re not familiar with this tropical fruit, the durian is a highly prized fruit of Southeast Asia – even though it is actually banned in most public places due to its pungent odor. But, durian lovers (and there are many), are more than willing to withstand the smell to get to the custard-like filling of this spiny, football-shaped pod. Apparently, Fancy Food Show goers couldn’t wait to taste it either – by the time I made it to the booth, it was all gone…

And speaking of Fancy Food hits, I was lucky enough to sample from the last pint of Vosges’ Bacon Toffee Ice Cream. I’m a HUGE fan of their bacon chocolate bars, so I was pretty excited to sample this new, not-yet-available-in-stores treat. The verdict? Smoky, caramel, and a little meaty. Not sure I could eat a whole bowl, but I imagine a scoop melting atop the right dessert would be pure heaven.

And speaking of chocolate – my main source of sustenance at the show – an unexpected favorite was the Toasted Corn chocolate bar from Philly’s own Eclat Chocolate. And I don’t even like corn-flavored things! But this was excellent – crunchy, toasty and tasty.

Next up – granola chips, maqui berry, drinkable vinegar, and my personal show favorite!

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Ah, the Fancy Foods Show – 331,000 square feet of chocolate, cheese and sauce. A playground of flavor for food industry peeps and bloggers alike. A global adventure that takes you around the world in eight hours. In short – practice your competitive eating skills beforehand, wear your comfiest of comfy shoes, and be ready to take a lot o’ notes.

Lollibons® – ice cream filled truffles on a stick – caught my eye first. I was reminded that everything tastes better on a stick, as was the thinking behind our own Pie Pops (pies on a stick) showcased at the 2009 Innovation Roadshow®.

Of all the trends lining the aisles of the Javits Center, “real” ginger – whether it was ginger soda/ale or ginger beer – seemed to be the strongest. With too many to count, one that really made an impression was Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Organic Ginger Beer. Strong does not begin to describe the kick of this carbonated soda – but it had me wanting more. Their elderflower juice was pretty darn tasty too – and both ginger and elderflower are hot on cocktail menus right now.

Our flavor chemists recently developed a line of honey flavors from Australia and New Zealand, so I was pretty excited to spot the Manuka honey line from Honey New Zealand. The twist? The number of active enzymes in each jar are called out on the package – from 5+ to 25+. According to the manufacturer, enzymes in honey have natural healing properties and do not dissipate when heated. Each batch is independently tested for its activity level, and marked as such.

Last year, the Peruvian pavilion was the place to be. Even though Peruvian cuisine is still on the rise, Korean cuisine is beginning to steal the spotlight as the next big thing. At the Korean pavilion, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) joined forces with the Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation for a demonstration of fusion foods, like Bibimbap Mini Tacos and Kimchi Pancakes.

Next up – Bacon, bacon, and durian?

The Country’s Most Famous Garden

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I’ve talked on this blog, from time to time, of my fondness for fresh produce. I volunteer at my local farmers’ market. And I make use of what little sun I have on my deck for a potted garden of tomatoes, herbs, and new this year, peppers (their success is yet to be seen).

My interest in gardening is new – only within the past six or seven years – and has grown progressively. And my interest in vegetables, well let’s just say that still shocks my parents after all these years. I was that picky of an eater as a child.

For Father’s Day weekend, my dad, sister and I took a little road trip down to Washington D.C. to do some museum hopping. With the immense heat, we had committed to air conditioned activities only, until my sister decided that we couldn’t leave town without stopping by the White House. Since this wasn’t my first trip, I was less than excited (not much changes on the outside), until I spotted the White House Garden.

The White House Presidential Garden

From the sidewalk, it appeared smaller than I would have expected (even though it is actually about 1,100 square feet). Last year, the garden produced over 1,000 pounds of food, feeding not only the Obamas, but dinner guests and local homeless shelters as well. This year, the size of the garden has been increased. And in the garden you will find everything from broccoli and rhubarb to tomatillos and Japanese eggplant.

Even though I had stood at the White House fence before, and gazed at the South Lawn (playing spot the Secret Service men), seeing the new garden was extremely exciting. After all, the White House hasn’t housed a garden since Eleanor Roosevelt’s Victory Garden during World War II.

The White House - Washington, D.C.

In fact, the whole thing got me motivated to consider a plot in my community garden next year – something I had written off this year as too time consuming. (They have a lot more sun then I’ve got in my yard!)

But I’m not the only one. According to the Christian Science Monitor, W. Atlee Burpee & Co (a seed company) saw a 30% jump in vegetable seed sales in 2009 over the previous year. That’s pretty impressive.

And I haven’t even gotten into the real purpose of the garden, which is to encourage more consumption of fresh foods. What started out as a personal mission for her family, has become Michelle Obama’s platform – demanding healthier options and fresh food for our country’s children. This mission is winning favor with parents, and food manufacturers have responded with plans to cut sodium, sugar and more.

I managed to get a picture of the garden, before the Secret Service began to shoo us away. Others in the crowd were certain this meant the presidential motorcade was coming through, or that President Obama was coming out onto the lawn. But, since it was late in the day, I’m certain that it that the high alert was to allow the First Lady, and her girls, a chance to water their garden undisturbed.

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