Archive for the 'Flavor' Category

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 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!

Like sand through the hourglass…

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’ve been reminded recently of how my tastes have changed since I started working at David Michael. I was a super picky eater – I’d turn my nose up at everything. If it looked “weird” or unusual, if it smelled funny, or if it wasn’t the norm, I refused to try it. But these days, things have changed, and I’ll try anything at least once. (Just not raw meat or fish – sorry, that still gets me.)But it can’t just be my work environment, can it? Sure, I’ve been exposed to more flavors and foods than I could have ever dreamed of – add to that co-workers with a real zest for flavor that can’t help but get you excited about new things. But, I’ve also matured (well, somewhat!), and have grown more experimental in my own kitchen. But is there something else? Have I simply been progressing along with other consumers – growing more open to ethnic flavors and exotic foods? After all, when your friends want to try the new Indian place in town, how can you turn them down?

Consumers are more adventurous these days. But, at the same time, they still harbor a number of preconceived notions about “weird” foods. (Like, say, my own personal refusal to eat sushi.)

Consumers like familiarity. My go to happy meal will probably always be chicken fingers and french fries, but my list of comforting favorites has grown to include goat cheese with pears, breakfast enchiladas with eggs and tomatilla salsa, and tzatziki on just about anything (including those chicken fingers and fries!).

Asparagus flavored licorice – a future trend?

Asparagus flavored licorice – a future trend?

Combining unusual and new flavor developments with more familiar ones is a great way to introduce new concepts to consumers. After all, isn’t that how we grew to love mango so much – by pairing it with peach? And now mango is the familiar flavor, helping to usher in lesser known fruits like guava.

Now is the time to get experimental…challenge yourself to try a new food at least once a week. A little hesitant? Combine it with something you love.

Heading West

Friday, June 5th, 2009

It’s that time of year again…time for the IFT Food Expo! As always, David Michael will be there. Check us out at the Anaheim Convention, booth #837 from Sunday, June 7th to Tuesday, June 9th.

2007 IFT Food Expo - Anaheim California

We’re serving a delicious, California spa-cuisine menu this year. Enjoy veggies in Sweet Vanilla Onion Dip, with our signature Soup & Salad Savory Side Bars. In Caramelized Onion, Garlic Butter Herb and Black Pepper Parmesan flavors, these biscotti-like bars will deliver a delightful taste of sweet and savory. Wash that down with a Yumberry Rooibos Tea Slushie – perfect for beating the heat!

While you’re there, don’t forget to enter our contest to win a free trip to this year’s Innovation Roadshow®. To learn more about what we’re showing at the IFT, please click here.

Not going to IFT? No worries, it’s strawberry and rhubarb season here in the Northeast, and what better excuse to sample this month’s recipe, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie. So yummy, you won’t even want to share!

World of Flavor

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Last week I received an email from Lonely Planet, listing their top travel picks, and it got me thinking about my own travelin’ ways. Like many families, the hubby and I are cutting back this year, and traveling is, sadly, on the back burner.

What I’m really going to miss, though, is being able to sample new foods, or even foods that I’ve tried here at home, in their authentic environment. Call me crazy, but the best cup of tea I ever had was in London, the best gyro was in Athens, and the best salpicon in Mexico City.

Enjoying afternoon tea in London...

Enjoying afternoon tea in London…November 2006.

For years, we’ve been saying that consumers are looking for more authentic ethnic flavors, and this year it couldn’t be truer. With more people making the best of the “staycation,” consumers are looking for ways to create exotic experiences in their own homes. Using food to recreate those experiences is not only cheaper than, say redecorating the living room in a Moroccan motif, but it is also attainable for everyone.

Personally, when I feel like reminiscing about Greece, I grab some Wegmans Greek Marinade and tzatziki from their Mediterranean Bar, grill up some chicken, pour the Ouzo, and make a cucumber salad. Those little supermarket helpers certainly make the experience more authentic to me. Having the ability to control the ingredients, adjust them from memory, but still purchase the products that make them unique – it’s a win-win.

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece…..August 2008

For new product developers, especially those interested in ethnic flavor, it’s a good idea to keep up on the latest travel trends. They can really clue you in to future destinations, and possibly future flavor trends. How do you do that? Well, I can’t give away all of my secrets, but I do have one helpful clue. Check out Lonely Planet’s Top 20 Bestsellers for their top selling travel books by destination. And, keep in mind, Lonely Planet serves the global community, not just the North American traveling crowd.

Then, go home, make a Piña Colada, sit in the back yard, and try to imagine that it’s the Caribbean.

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.

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