The latest buzz making waves about Greek yogurt isn’t about innovative flavors or fresh products. Unfortunately, as of the last few weeks, internet chatter about the trendiest of foods has been focused on how companies are disposing of acid whey, a natural bi-product of the Greek yogurt production process.
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!
On Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the Fancy Foods Show in New York City!
But, a little more on that later – first I want to talk a bit about my post-show, pre-train detour to Pinkberry!
Sure, Pinkberry is old news…and yes, I’ve had it before. But with a lack of fro-yo joints in the Philly area, a gal gets a little excited when the opportunity to visit a Pinkberry arises.
An added bonus this trip was the addition of flavors to the fro-yo menu since the last time I visited. (At that time, they only boasted plain and green tea.) This trip, I sampled the pomegranate yogurt, topped with blueberries (aren’t I healthy) and Oreos (well, just a little).
The whole experience got me wondering about the fro-yo craze, and eventual fall, only a mere two decades ago. And, as fate would have it, the infamous frozen yogurt episode of Seinfeld was on re-run that night when I got home.
Watching that episode got me concerned. Does frozen yogurt have the legs make it this time? What’s so different? Well, first of all, there seems to be a better focus on health and nutrition this time. Not just as a fat-free/low fat alternative to ice cream (although, Seinfeld fans may believe differently!), new fro-yo promises certified cultures, just like in “real” yogurt, as well as low calories and natural ingredients.
The refreshing taste and encouragement to top with fresh cut fruit only adds to its perception. (Ok, so the occasional Oreo winds up in there too!) Plus, it’s even tastier, now that the tartness of yogurt has seemed to catch on with consumers.
And, according to USA Today, even though Pinkberry and Red Mango have had to close some shops in an overcrowded southern California market in the past year, both are still growing rapidly – with an estimated 1,000 shops between the two to open in the next five years.
Fro-yo certainly has a better a chance of survival this time around…or, at least, I hope so!