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Sophisticated innovation: the latest in cutting-edge cuisine was on display at the Summer Fancy Food Show.

2,670

That is how many exhibitors--the most since the show was established in 1954--filled the halls of New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center in late June at the Summer Fancy Food Show. The record number of exhibitors displayed and sampled their wares before a crowd of more than 47,000 specialty food professionals, including buyers from supermarkets, gourmet stores, specialty shops, restaurants, hotels and resorts. Those buyers definitely had their work cut out for them, as there were scores of unique new items that in a few years will likely become supermarket mainstays.

Take Ginkgonuts--the fruit of the ginkgo biloba, the hardy pollution-tolerant trees with the fan-shaped leaves--for example. Officials at G&C Farm (Ginkgo & Chestnut Farm) out of Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea, have created a patent-pending automatic peeling process that is allowing large volumes of Ginkgonuts to be exported to the U.S. Similar in size and taste to an edamame, Ginkgonuts offer many health benefits, explained Jun Ciempl, who was sauteing them up at the show and offering samples.

"Ginkgonuts are good for your brain, help lower high blood pressure and are good for people with cardiovascular disease," she said. "We sell them frozen, with or without the shell. Without the shell you can just cook them and put them on rice, soups, bread, gruel or salad. With the shell, our company has them cracked so you can just fry them or heat them in the microwave for ojie minute and eat them as snacks. We also sell dried Ginkgonuts in jars in Plain, Salty, Honey Butter or Mixed."

That was not the only innovation. Everyone has heard of a waffle ice cream cone, but what about a waffle coffee cup? A line formed by the booth of Zia Valentina to taste Zia Valentina Espresso Waffle Cups, 2-ounce little edible cups that hold a double shot of espresso, as well as 1-ounce and bite-sized versions. "These can also be used for liqueurs, gelato, mousse and creams," said Naomi Kashi, CEO of Zia Valentina, based in Los Angeles. "We took the cupcake concept and applied it to what we're doing. We have flavors including Red Velvet and Salty Caramel that retail for $ 14.50 a box and a variety pack of six that retails for $18.50. We also offer food-service versions for stores that have their own coffee shops."

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Any retailer knows that Kombucha, the fermented tea drink with a long list of health benefits, is one of the hottest items in the dairy and refrigerated beverage cases. Officials at B-Tea Beverage were displaying a line of Kombucha with a twist, made in the Pilsner Region of the Czech Republic. "Our Kombucha is the only one of its kind that is two-year shelf-stable," said Elly Lerner, an official with Latta USA, based in Fair Lawn, N.J. "It is shelf stable because of where it is made and how it is made. We don't use any artificial juices or flavors to enhance it. If we put lemon balm, it is actual lemon balm, and the same with the aloe vera. It is a natural energy drink with only 2-grams of sugar."

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Family-owned Confiserie Adam has been making candy-coated bite-size chocolates since 1912, and was displaying a wide variety of products, including Dragee Guimauve, pastel candy-coated chocolate covered marshmallows similar in size to a Peanut M&M's; Crousti'bis, wafer balls with a creamy sweet center coated in flavored chocolate; and Perle Fondante, smooth fondant centers covered in dark chocolate. "We export to 44 countries but not yet to the U.S., and that is why we are here," said Raphael Kiesele, CEO of Confiserie Adam, based in Herrlisheim, France, near the German and Swiss borders.

Hershey is among the best-known confectioners in the U.S., and its gourmet Scharffen Berger division was at the show debuting a line of chocolates designed for pairing with wines. "We are offering a 'Party in a Box' kit of four different chocolates, along with a guide educating consumers on how to pick the right wine in advance," said Susie Burch, senior brand manager for Scharffen Berger and Dagoba, based in Hershey, Pa. "We include a step-by-step guide on how to enjoy the wine with the chocolate, and a rating card so it becomes almost like a game that can be played at a dinner party.

"We're going to be launching these in September. We are looking at selling them at specialty grocery stores and any store that sells high-end wine. If you have these kits you are going to have to buy four bottles of wine to go along with it. It is a wonderful program for a retailer," Burch said.

Enjoy Life Foods was showcasing the repacking and refresh on its Plentils brand lentil-based salty snacks. "We've done a reformulation on the flavoring, so it has a little bit more intense flavor and we have new packaging to give it a fresher look," said Joel Warady, chief sales and marketing officer, for Chicago-based Enjoy Life Foods.

Enjoy Life Foods' line of gluten-free baking mixes--brownie, pancake & waffle mix, muffins, pizza crust and all-purpose flour--introduced earlier this year, were also on display. "What is unique about our baking mixes is that they have shelf-stable probiotics and a higher protein level. We just found out that our distribution has more than doubled, so we have a lot of more distribution," Warady said.

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Beaverton Foods was sampling its Inglehoffer Ghost Pepper Mustard, billed as "America's Hottest."

"It is made with several different peppers including ghost peppers, red chili peppers, jalapeno, green chili peppers and ancho peppers," said Domonic Biggi, CEO of Beaverton Foods, based in Hillsboro, Ore. "It was one of four gold medal winners at the World Wide Mustard Festival this year, held in Madison, Wis."

Beaverton officials like to use the show as a sampling ground for potential new products. "We have a red curry that we're testing and we are coming out with an all-natural stoneground product that does not have mustard oil, but instead has a little horseradish to give it a little zip," Biggi said.

Buyers were getting hooked on the all-natural canned tuna and chicken breast being sampled by Wild Planet Foods. "Our chicken breast is just chicken and salt, and we also have a no-salt added one," said Shelby Jacobs, marketing assistant at Wild Planet Foods, based in McKinleyville, Calif.

German manufacturer Yayla was exhibiting its line of refrigerated canned cheeses, similar to a feta cheese. "Our canned cheese is produced in the most modern white cheese production facility in all of Europe," said Kerem Colakoglu, sales representative, for Yayla, based in Krefeld, Germany. "Because it comes in a can, the salt brine used in the canning gives it a one year shelf life."

People were buzzing around the Beehive Cheese booth to try its latest offerings, including Fully Loaded, an Irish-style cheese rubbed with a double Rye whiskey from Park City, Utah, and Teahive. "Teahive is rubbed with Earl Grey tea," said Pat Ford, co-founder and cheesemaker at Beehive Cheese, based in Uintah, Utah. "The nice thing about this cheese is that it is really bright and clean and goes great with fruit and bubbly."
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Author:Turcsik, Richard
Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Aug 1, 2016
Words:1207
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