Dear Cheap Ethnic Eaters,
Here are my final thoughts from this yearÂ´s food show in Montreal.
On the last day, I started off in the equipment section — but only because I hadnÂ´t seen much of it previously. This area was full of shelving, refrigerators, assembly line machinery, and other spacious displays. Food for the mind – but not the body. I scurried back to the food stations without delay.
I didnÂ´t find many new things to taste (or photograph) this day, so I went back and revisited some of my favorites from the previous two days. Even though I had a map and I had poured over it the night before, it wasnÂ´t always easy to find a booth again after visiting it. Getting “lost” became part of the fun. And I got to nibble on more cookies, more chocolate, more cold cuts, and at least three kinds of gnocchi (potato based) pasta while making my way around the
IÂ´ve come home with an amazing variety of tea bags. Tea is one of the worldÂ´s most popular beverages: black tea, green tea, herbal tea, traditional flavors and different blends. Some of the flavors are organic and/or fair trade certified. All the ones I picked up smell wonderful, IÂ´ve already tried the lemon ginger tea (great on a sore throat) and I canÂ´t wait to try more. One tea was a disappointment though: Red tea from Austria, premixed and served cool, was bitter and unpleasant to drink.
Two other great beverages I tasted are made right here in Canada. Hibiscus juice is refreshing and perfumey. I could imagine drinking this icy cold on a boiling hot day. Maple-blueberry liqueur comes from the same place that makes honey wine (mead) – itÂ´s sweet and syrupy. Maple liqueur without the blueberries is great too! IÂ´ve been told it goes great in coffee with a little 10% cream.
I was disappointed that I couldnÂ´t bring home more samples of olive oil. In previous years, there were plenty of tiny bottles and single-serve packets. This year, only one olive oil and one flavored avocado oil came in bottles or packets to take home. For me itÂ´s difficult to judge oil just by wetting bread with it, especially as I donÂ´t use olive oil as a dinner-table condiment. I
would rather cook with it to judge its flavor.
Overall it was a really good show, and itÂ´s difficult for me to pick a favorite booth. There were so many great things to see and taste, and even to bring home and try later. For my first chili cook-off coming up in September, I was able to glean a few ideas at different booths. I also get to put my thinking cap on in the next couple of months – what DOES one cook with baby figs, brown wild rice pilaf, and ground roasted soy nuts? (not all in the same recipe) Add a handful of industry journals from the goodie bag, and the memories of SIAL will last for months. IÂ´m looking forward to next yearÂ´s installment already!
The chocolate sculpture is from Cacao Barry of France. Consider how much taller the headpiece is, over the booth worker
“hot stuff” illustrates some of the spicier goodies I acquired, mostly in the last day. Every culture has something hot and peppery to burn your mouth with! The red pepper in the front is plastic, though.
A selection of teabags (and a little coffee), most picked up the same day.