Archive for the 'Fancy Food Show' Category

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?

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Another product that caught my fancy at this year’s show is healthDropzTM. Called a “Beverage Booster,” the company claims that by adding six drops to any beverage, you get the benefit of the supplement, free of flavor or calories. Available in energy, focus, and green tea, I decided that I was in grave need of a kick and tried the energy in water. There really was no flavor. I was truly surprised – it just tasted like plain water!

But since I am here to talk flavors, I was very pleased to find a line of flavored dulce de leche from the Argentian company el Semillero. Also a producer of chimichurri (yum), the dulces were available in mint, orange, and, I believe, cinnamon and coconut, aside from original, of course. I sampled the orange which was delicious. What a fabulous idea!

While walking the aisles of the show, I found inspiration for a friend’s baby shower at the Sutter Home booth. Alcohol Removed Fre® Wine tastes just like the real thing, and is available in all the classic varieties – Merlot, White Zin and Chardonnay, just to name a few. The Fre website also boasts “cocktails” using the wines. And at the booth, a few “Preggatini” recipes were available too – “cocktails for the mom-to-be.”

Other highlights from this year’s Fancy Foods Show included Jelly Belly’s new Superfruit mix, featuring acai, Barbados cherry, blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry flavors – a delicious mix, especially if you’re a red fruit fan like myself. Another fave, Brownie Pops take brownies, dip them in chocolate, and put ‘em on a stick – HELLO!

At the Winter Fancy Foods Show in California, hibiscus seemed to be all the rage, but in NYC it was all about the blood orange. In fact, quite a few blood orange flavored items (confit, juice, marmalade) took home Sofi Awards.

With over 2,300 exhibitors on the show floor, I had a tall order for this one-day jaunt. But once the feet start aching, and too much sampling leads to a thousand-yard stare, it’s easy to miss a great product. That’s why it’s always helpful to check out other show reviews – because we all see something different!

A few of my favorites this year are Bobby Flay’s review from the CBS Early Show (check out the video), New York Daily News (check out the mini-melon), Sara Moulton on ABC’s Good Morning America, and Slashfood’s day-by-day highlights.

Plus, you can revisit our reviews from the January Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Next up on the fancy brigade is a stop in Peru. Last month, we took you on a little journey through Peru, with flavor chemist Yuko Nodo. But at the Fancy Foods Show, the flavors of Peru came to me.

So often, I avoid the international pavilions. The mind (and feet) can only take in so much in a day, and typically the pavilions are filled with a lot of commodity products. And let’s face it, there are only so many nuts and so much olive oil a girl can take.

But Peru did it right. At a large endcap of the pavilion I was drawn in by the call of Pisco Sours…delish! After one turn around this overly crowded display, I found out that the trade organization PromPeru had joined forces with a local Peruvian restaurant, Oh! Calamares (Kearny, NJ), to present an amazing spread of goodies. I snacked on potato pastries and chocolate flan! The lucuma fruit was heavily promoted through samples and signage, as were Peruvian potatoes and purple corn. Elderberry, amaranth and quinoa were also displayed in the pavilion. With all of the foodie interest in Peruvian cuisine recently, it was no surprise to see this was the absolute busiest booth at the show.

And, speaking of crowded booths, Ciao Bella Gelato had its fair share of traffic, too! I sampled the Key Lime Graham Cracker Gelato – a 2009 Sofi Award Winner in the Perishable Foodservice Product category. There’s no question why this product won! So often, key lime flavored products don’t translate as well into non-pie applications. If not done right, they can taste, well, artificial. But this was right on – authentic and refreshing, like a frozen slice of fresh pie.

Last fall, I read about Skyr - a strained Icelandic yogurt that’s been slowly making a name for itself. Plus, it’s non-fat and sugar-free. So when I happened upon the Siggi’s booth at the show, I was excited to taste! I tried the plain first, to experience the true flavor of skyr. It tastes quite a bit like traditional yogurt, only much thicker and creamier. It’s very filling, and sour. They had a number of flavors on hand to sample, and I went immediately for the grapefruit. The flavored varieties are sweetened with agave nectar. The grapefruit seemed a bit thinner than the plain, and was more tart, or course, but quite good. I wish I hadn’t been so full at the time, or else I would have tried more of their flavors – they all sounded delicious!

In an issue of Fast Track Fast Trends last year, we explored Coneinn Pizza, which is basically, a pizza in a cone! The product heats in the microwave, in an upright package. Sounds great, doesn’t it! Problem is – it’s a European product. That’s why I was so excited to see the Coneinn booth at the show! I was pretty sad that they didn’t have any samples to try (I’ve been drooling over it for a year, after all!), but I did find out that they’re looking for stateside distributors. They will be mine…oh yes, they will be mine.

One more installment to go! Next time we’ll talk alcohol-free wine and flavored dulce de leche!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Another season, another Fancy Foods Show! Last Monday I hopped the train to New York and breathed in the scents at the Javits Center.

Perusing the booklet before hitting the show floor, I got pretty excited to see one product in particular – black garlic. I first caught wind of black garlic late last year, and have seen it pop up in a number of foodie blogs since then. More recently, it was written up in the Washington Post and Gourmet, but I still had yet to try it. Black garlic is an ordinary garlic bulb that has fermented for about a month, resulting in what you see below. The taste is unexpected – sweet, fermented, and almost smoky. It has a subtle garlic flavor, but not at all overwhelming, and the texture is very soft. I brought a sample back to the office for our chefs to try, and they were blown away by the flavor. While at the booth, I also tried the black garlic jam, which was tasty and sweeter than the actual clove, and experienced a number of visitors running up to the booth excitedly yelling, “we love this stuff!” While I had read about this new flavor phenom in a number of blogs, this was honestly the first commercial product I had found – most foodies have been making it on their own. Expect to see black garlic grow on restaurant menus in the near future. Also, the folks at Black Garlic, Inc. were featuring a black garlic energy drink. Since black garlic claims to be loaded with antioxidants, it’s possible that this foodie favorite may also grow as a healthy ingredient.

Black Garlic Uses

Now to the important stuff – chocolate!! Grazing the show floor, a girl could make a mean meal on the stuff (and did, by the way). In flavors, sea salt prevailed, as did varietal dark chocolates, caramel, tea flavors and even some florals, like lavender. But at the Vosges booth, it’s still all about good old-fashioned bacon. Those fabulous cocoa gods and goddesses debuted more bacon chocolate goodness – a dark chocolate version of the Mo’s Bacon Bar, a bacon chocolate toffee, and even, dare I say, bacon chocolate pancakes! Alas, I got to the booth a smidge too early for the pancakes – and I’m still kicking myself…

Now, I’m not much of a honey fan myself (I know, I know…how can I not love honey), but I was impressed by the concept of varietal honey from Savannah Bee Company. These varieties have been specially chosen to pair with tea, cheese and grilled foods.

Of course, there is way more to talk about from this year’s show! Check back next time, we’ll talk about Peruvian flavors and Skyr!

Winter Fancy Foods Show – Part 3…

Friday, February 6th, 2009

It’s Tea-licious!!!

Walking the floor of the Fancy Foods Show, it was obvious that tea has no intention of giving up its crown as the second most consumed beverage in the world (second only to water).

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea featured their Pink Tea for Women’s Health. This line of Super Berry teas combines green tea and hibiscus with acai, pomegranate, cherry and berry blends to satisfy the palate. My personal favorite, however, was the Cacao Berry – a blend of green tea and red tea with raspberries and dark cacao shells. Not too sweet, but not too bitter – and thoroughly enjoyable. This tea not only meets the needs of shoppers looking for superfoods, but it also contains that hard-to-miss hibiscus.

I “Got Lost” at the Republic of Tea booth tasting their line of Be Well Red Teas. With fun names like Get Clean, Get Gorgeous, Get Maternal, Get Happy and Get Smart, this line is an excellent example of the growing beauty and mood food trend. The teas offer a variety of claims from detox, uplifting mood, focus, weight control, clear skin and more.

Blue tea was also on the radar. What, never heard of blue tea? You probably know this nom de plume as oolong. A few years back, our Beverage Applications lab spotted “blue tea” as a potential trend, and we’ve been watching it ever since. With the extreme popularity of green tea, and the growing excitement for white and red teas, it’s only fitting that blue tea get a little love too. A favorite from the show? Ito En’s Oolong Shot was pretty tasty!

Winter Fancy Foods Show – Part 2

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Hey Everyone — back today with another installment from the Winter Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco!

Flower Power

There were a number of hibiscus flavored beverages at this year’s Fancy Foods Show. Its presence was subtle, but obvious, which really got me excited about the future of this tasty little flower. From South America, to Asia, to Africa, tropical cultures throughout the world count hibiscus among their signature regional flavors. Even Honest Tea’s Black Forest Berry (a hibiscus and berry blend) is well-known to be a favorite of President Obama. So it was no surprise to see this flavor quietly surfacing at a number of booths, including Ooba, a line of sparkling hibiscus beverages, including original, lime and orange.

Here They Come to Save the Day!

If you’re no fan of straight goji juice (it can be a little astringent), hold on to your hat. Gojilania now offers RTD goji berry blends featuring fellow superheroes acai, pomegranate, mangosteen and blueberry.

Another find at this year’s show was O.N.E.’s Coffee BerryTM Juice. What’s a coffee berry? It’s the fruit that houses the coffee bean, and is normally discarded. Naturally high in antioxidants, the taste is quite interesting – fruity with a touch of, what else, coffee!

O.N.E. also produces Cashew Juice. Few realize that on the tree, each cashew is attached to a larger fruit, the cashew apple. While not well known here in the U.S.A., juice made from the cashew apple is widely popular in cashew growing regions, including Brazil and Vietnam. But, if you’re expecting this beverage to taste like nut, you couldn’t be more wrong. The taste is sweet and fruity, and loaded with vitamin C.

Olive oil, step aside, there’s a new cat in town. Arette’s Tea Oil is 100% organic, has a higher smoke point than olive oil, and is high in omega-3s, antioxidants and vitamin E. Tea Oil can be used as a replacement for traditional olive oil, and is light and delicious.

Winter Fancy Food Show 2009 Review – Part 1

Friday, January 30th, 2009

With only one day to take in all the sites, smells and flavors of the annual west coast edition of the Fancy Food Show, I packed my comfy boots, my roomy purse, and trusty notebook to record this gastronomic display!

You’ve Gotta Give a Little

There were a number of themes that permeated the floor. The first and most pervasive of which was “cause marketing.” Booth after booth, products touted their charitable causes, but no one made quite as much of an impact as Project 7. Selling bottled water benefiting seven different causes, Project 7 donates over 50% of its profits to seven areas of need within each cause. How do they decide who gets what? Well, first of all, consumers choose their causes through the products they purchase. Let’s say the environment is at the top of your agenda, simply buy a bottle of Save the Earth water. Consumers also get to vote on the specific benefiting charities through the Project 7 website (www.project7.com). The company also sells three gum varieties: Save the Homeless Mango Mint, Save the Earth Fresh Mint and Feed the Hungry Peppermint Vanilla. Project 7 allows consumers to give just a little bit, purchasing items that are already a part of their daily routine. And in today’s economy, a little bit is a heck of a lot easier to part with for many of us.

Project 7 - Build the Future Water

Project 7 – Build the Future

Chocoholics Anonymous

From the charitable, to the luxurious, I rushed to the Choc-O-Lait booth for a moment of pure indulgence. Taking what looked like a chocolate lollipop, I stirred the confection in a cup of hot milk for a delicious cup of hot chocolate. The concept reminded me of the Truffle Creamers we showcased at the 2008 Innovation Roadshow (creamer, sweetener and flavor in one truffle).

Want Some Bacon in Your Salt?

Despite the fact that American consumers are demanding healthier foods, personal bacon consumption has actually risen over the past 10 years. The Vosges Mo’s Bacon Bar may just be the beginning, and a delicious one at that. (Yes, that would be a chocolate bar.) Check out J&D’s BaconSalt, because, according to the manufacturer, “Everything should taste like bacon.”TM In three flavors, original, hickory and peppered, this artificially flavored seasoning salt is vegetarian, kosher, low sodium, zero fat and zero calorie. The company also offers a natural variety, as well as a number of limited edition flavors. Don’t like salt on your turkey sandwich, not a problem. J&D’s has Baconnaise too!

[Really love bacon? Check out Lane Cardwell's recent blog post on Chain Leader, or check out the "Bacon Explosion."]

Of course, there is way more to talk about from this year’s show! Check back next week when we’ll discuss superfoods, super teas and super soda!

 

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