Archive for the 'regional foods' Category

The Best Part About Working for a Global Flavor Company…

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

…is the cool swag. It’s true. Not only do I get to interact on a daily basis with co-workers worldwide, but we like to trade products, to give each other a taste of what’s out there.

Whether it’s trading American Heath Bars for Mexican Pelon Pelo Rico candy (mango, of course), trying exotic vinegar beverages from China, or giving a visiting French co-worker a tour of the local Whole Foods – we take care of educating each other on local flavor (and feeding those global food cravings).

Recently, our Deputy General Manager of David Michael Beijing contributed a bag of goodies from his local supermarket, which included various flavored Oreos (vanilla ice cream, green tea ice cream, blueberry raspberry and orange mango), seaweed flavored Pringles, candied waxberry (aka, yumberry), and both blueberry and cucumber Lay’s potato chips.

Beijing Goodies

In Philly, our overall favorite was the Orange Mango Oreo – the flavors were so juicy and authentic – we could definitely see this one working here in the U.S.

Another surprise was the use of cooling sensation in both of the ice cream flavored Oreos, as well as the Lay’s chips. It added a fun dimension (especially with the ice cream flavors) and was exotic to our palates.

If you work for a global manufacturer, take advantage of it! Set up a trade program between locations – send new products to each other on a quarterly basis. It’s fun and engaging, and will keep your ideas flowing (not to mention your taste buds interested)!

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?

From Little Russia by the Sea…with love!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

This weekend, I stepped off of the subway, and into another world…literally. I, along with a gaggle of women, visited Brighton Beach, Brooklyn on Saturday night for an unconventional bachelorette party at The National – a Russian supper club where English is scarce, and the vodka is French.

A display of cold appetizers awaits us.

Smoked sturgeon and lox.

When we were seated at our table for 18, a traditional Russian spread was already waiting for us. A bevy of cold appetizers ranging from Russian potato salad, smoked sturgeon, lox, grilled vegetables, chicken liver pate, pickles, eggplant, assorted salads, and beef tongue. Even in this brave group of women, the beef tongue was met with cringes and “no thank you’s,” until our intrepid friend Jennie manned up, and chased it quickly down with pumpernickel and vodka – a scowl on her face.

The infamous beef tongue!

Almost full already, the food kept coming, and miraculously found space on the table. More cold appetizers – pancakes with salmon roe, more fish, more salad. Then the hot appetizers – roasted potatoes, chicken-filled pirozhki (like a dumpling, pierogi or knish), grilled white fish, and stuffed roast beef.

Getting stuffed - chicken pirozhki amid a table full of food!

And, oh wait, there’s more!!! A few hours into dinner, dancing, and live music, and there were more hot appetizers to be had! Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, the waiters served us a beautiful bread bowl filled with beef stew that was out of this world. All the while, straight vodka was the beverage of choice, and our requests for water were lost a bit in translation.

Bread bowl with beef stew.

Happy birthdays were sung to those from one year to 50. Anniversary dances were made with grandkids running circles round. And then, the stage show began. White suits and mesh leotards accented by wigs, hats and feathers. Salsa prevailed in the Carnivale theme that didn’t seem out of place, even though every other bit of chatter was in Russian.

Beef tongue, later in the evening, remains mostly untouched!

Dinner was served as we watched, a collection of chicken and pork kebabs, stuffed chicken breast…and french fries (a little random, but completely appreciated!). The evening finished with more dancing and singing, as well as cakes, pastries and coffee. For those six hours of solid eating, I felt as if I had been transported to Russia, and all I did was drive up the turnpike. It’s amazing how food can do that – in concert with language, song and vodka, of course!

We asked why the vodka was French, but the Russian speaking waiters didn't quite understand our question. The response? "It's for fun."

**Thanks to all the ladies that donated their food pictures!!!

A Peruvian Adventure

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Today we welcome guest blogger Yuko Noda, a chemist in our processed flavors department. Yuko recently returned from a trip to Peru, and had lots to share with us about the experience, and the flavors!!

Last year, both Epicurious and Bon Appétit predicted that Peruvian cuisine to be the hot ethnic cuisine of 2009. True to their predictions, we are seeing more Peruvian inspired dishes and drinks making their way into magazines and on restaurant menus. As I had coincidentally planned a vacation to Peru, I was excited to find out more about this delightful cuisine on my trip. 

Some people say that Peru has the best and most diverse food in all of South America.  Peruvian cuisine is a melting pot of flavors ranging from Incan and Spanish cuisine to Chinese, Japanese, African and other European immigrant influences. One example of this is the popular dish lomo saltado, a beef sirloin stir-fry seasoned with soy sauce, vinegar and aji chili pepper (Peruvian hot pepper). It is served with French fries, which are sometimes mixed with the stir fry, and white rice. Visually, it seemed kind of strange – but then again, how can you go wrong with deep fried potatoes?

Speaking of potatoes, Peruvians adore potatoes and grow a few thousand varieties of them, ranging in color, shape and size. Potatoes were in virtually every dish that I ate on my trip-as one of the main ingredients in dishes like causa (potato mashed with aji chili and layered or stuffed with a mixture of tuna, chopped red onions, avocado, boiled eggs, lime juice and mayo) and lomo saltad. They were also served as sides or garnishes in dishes like ceviche, alpaca steak and roasted cuy (roasted whole guinea pig which is a specialty in the area around the town of Cusco). If you’re wondering, both the cuy and alpaca were quite tasty. Alpaca meat was tender and the flavor was similar to a cross of goat and lamb. And cuy tasted kind of like rabbit. I cheated and got the shredded cuy confit, instead of the whole animal with its head and feet. (Seriously, would you want this thing staring at you from your plate??)

One of my favorite dishes was arroz con pollo. Arroz con pollo is a popular dish in the Latin world but what makes Peruvian arroz con pollo special is the use of cilantro. Cilantro blended with water is added to the cooking liquid, giving the whole dish a green hue. People who don’t like cilantro may actually enjoy eating this dish since the cilantro flavor is very mild. The same flavor profile is seen in seco, a stew with cilantro sauce made with beef, lamb, chicken or duck.  

Cuy (roasted whole guinea pig)

Cuy (roasted whole guinea pig)

From munching on Inca protein bars (containing quinoa, amarath and popped wheat and a hint of anise) while hiking on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, to enjoying aji de gallina (shredded chicken in a rich creamy aji chili sauce served over rice) in an upscale restaurant overlooking the pre-Inca ruin in Lima, my trip to Peru was definitely a culinary adventure!

Machu Picchu in the early morning

Machu Picchu in the early morning

Tempted to try some Peruvian flavor for yourself? Stay tuned to dmflavors.com! Yuko will recreate one of her favorite dishes for the August Recipe of the Month. Visitors to this year’s Innovation Roadshow will also have the opportunity to enjoy some Peruvian flavor at Yuko’s booth.

Makin’ Whoopie (Pies)…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

When I was a little girl, my mom and her fellow teacher friends loved to take summertime day trips to Lancaster, Pennsylvania (a.k.a. “Amish Country”). We’d get lost on country roads filled with slow moving buggies. Walk idly through textbook warehouses, searching for the latest teacher editions. And stare at patchwork quilts for hours. Since the water slides and smorgasbords were reserved for when dad made the trips, you may be wondering why a young gal would want to tag along on these excursions. Two words – whoopie pies!

While lost on those country roads, we’d inevitably stop off at a farm or two, and raid the little shed-like shops where Amish wives would sell their wares. There amongst the fresh eggs, rhubarb and homemade root beer, lay my salvation.

A whoopie pie isn’t really a pie. It kind of looks like a giant sandwich cookie, only it’s soft and cakey. I fell in love with chocolate immediately, and grew to love the pumpkin even more. While mom insisted that the chocolate version was actually molasses – an Amish original, she claimed – my nine year-old self could have never dreamed up the possibilities in store for these delectable treats.

Years later, it seems whoopie pies are suddenly, well, hip. In fact, they appear to be the next cupcake. I was catching up on a little late reading on Bloomacious.com and came across a feature on the treats. Not only was I ignorant of the fact that the residents of Maine stake a claim to whoopie pie, as well (I was convinced this was a Pennsylvania Dutch thing only), but I was painfully unaware of a growing number of bakeries specializing in the treat.

In March, the New York Times ran an article on whoopie pies, citing a number of bakeries – from the fancy to the unassuming – that specialize in them. And the flavors! Wicked Whoopies of Maine sells everything from banana crème to CHOCOLATE COVERED for about $24 a dozen. And Cranberry Island Kitchen gets a bit more adult with Chambord and Champagne varieties.

The hopeful success of whoopie pies, as well as the popularity of cupcakes, is proof positive that we as consumers love what makes us feel good. Simple, childhood treats are what really pull at our heartstrings. Of course, there is always room for improvement and variation, which is why noveau classics are so popular.

Hmmm…I’m feeling a trip to Lancaster…

Do Regional Favorites Translate?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

A wise man once said (or, maybe it was a travel show host), that the best way to get to know a foreign city is to attend a sporting event. This week, Nathalie Pauleau-Larrey, our Color Engineer from David Michael Europe, is visiting the Philadelphia office. And last night, Danielle and I took her to a Flyers game.

Danielle (left) and Nathalie at the game

Danielle (left) and Nathalie at the game

Since Nathalie is from the French countryside, an American-style sports arena was a first for her. She was amazed by everything – from the crowds, to the merchandise, but especially the food. Well, we wouldn’t be proud ambassadors if we didn’t introduce her to a few local favorites. So we enjoyed a carb-laden feast of crab fries and soft pretzels (with yellow mustard, of course). (Not cheesesteaks? You ask. This isn’t her first trip to Philly).

Nathalie and I enjoying our pretzels!

Nathalie and I enjoying our pretzels!

My non-Philly readers are probably wondering, “what in the heck are crab fries?” They’re a concoction developed by local sports bar Chickie’s & Pete’s, and they’re delicious. You’d be surprised to find out that there’s no actual crab in said fries. Just crispy French fries, seasoning (Old Bay?) and American cheese dip….mmmmm…

The whole meal got me thinking about favorite regional foods. There’s been a few shows on the Food Network devoted to roadside bars and diners in the U.S., and the wacky things people eat there. And on the travel channel, food specific programs, as well as the traditional travel fare, take on more foreign regional specialties.

But, do these always translate? Well, it depends. In this country, for example, we’ve come to know many regional favorites nationwide. Philly Cheesesteak is available as a Domino’s pizza topping. And Kansas City BBQ can be found in Vermont.

Other favorites, however, don’t catch on. I read about Kool-Aid marinated pickles, a Southern tradition, a few years back. And, that was about it… Now, deep-fried pickles? That’s another story.

Similarly, the occasional regional favorite makes it beyond the country of origin. Take cheesesteaks again. We’ve found Philly Cheesesteak flavored potato chips in such far away places as Japan!

With a focus on regional authenticity on restaurant menus, both in domestic and international foods, it will be interesting to see what has legs, and what doesn’t.

After all, not everything can become a worldwide phenomenon – sometimes favorites are more special when they stay local.

[P.S. - The Flyers won 2-1, and made the playoffs.]

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