SIAL is Europe’s biggest food trade show and here are some of the new products I found there:
The massive caveat to this post is that SIAL is a HUGE food show and I barely saw 1/5 of it because I did not have long enough there. These products are the best of what I encountered!
KokoJoo – it won’t surprise you to read this was my favourite company to discover. This is a Black-owned business – ridiculously there aren’t many in the chocolate/cocoa industry, despite the majority of cocoa being grown in Ghana and the Ivory Coast – using Côte d’Ivoire cacao to make drinks, but mostly from the “waste” products: the husks of the cocoa bean. The drinks were delicious: fruity, slightly sparkling with the notes you get from eating cocoa nibs, rather than being particularly “chocolatey”. They were light and refreshing.
I had a bottle I was planning to drink at the airport and got caught in the security queue when I realised it needed a bottle opener. I had a go at opening it with a coin and cut up my knuckles. Ow. So, with bleeding hands I waved good bye to the bottle on the far side of security (it was worth a try!). When I got home I discovered that inside a cotton bag that was thrust upon me by another drinks company there was a bottle opener. CRYING.
Chocolat Chapon‘s whisky chocolate – not the first to lock the cocoa nibs in an old whisky barrel before grinding them with sugar into chocolate, but the bar was brilliant and deserving of its commendation by the committee at SIAL. Patrice Chapon is an old school chocolate legend, making bean to bar before it was cool and the pioneer of the “chocolate mousse bar” which is like an ice cream cart but with single origin chocolate mousses to be scooped out instead of ice cream. It’s always at Salon du Chocolat and his multiple boutiques around Paris and the rest of France.
TinyBird – 40g packs of vegan gummy-like snacks made with 65% organic fruit puree/juice plus seeds and organic cane sugar and no flavours, colours or preservatives. Not particularly gelatinous but an excellent option for parents who might want to offer these when other kids are getting Haribo if they don’t feel like they can face the sugar highs or the sadness/tantrums at missing out! Especially as the seeds used – chia, poppy, flax and others – give a bit of extra fibre to help mitigate any sugar rush. They have a 7 month shelf life. To be honest, I wanted them for myself as a substitute for when I’m craving sweets! (They do also do adult-aimed ones with alcohol.)
Van Nahmen 0% alcohol fruit drinks. Some of these were bottled like wine and so would make a really elegant alternative to juice for non-drinkers. Some were quite dry making them appropriate with a meal, not just for a party. The rhubarb juice – not really a wine substitute, from a different range – was extraordinary, but all the ones I tried were very, very good.
Bomba! – I didn’t get to sample these these umami pastes in tubes but they looked very intriguing. There was something similar in supermarkets a few years ago and I think maybe they were ahead of their time. Or maybe they’re still around. These days I’m all for a hit of flavour to boost my meal with less effort. On that note, have you tried the Belazu pastes? These and Chimmi are my fridge/pantry staples for delivery whacks of flavour and lots of the target 30-plants-in-a-week in one go, too. (This site has a great list of what you could add to your plate if you’re stuck for inspiration, and if you’re not already signed up for Oddbox then please use my name JEN EARLE at the checkout and you’ll get £10 off. I find the range of things they send so much more diverse and easier to get through than the organic boxes I used to order – though that says more about me than them!)
Guimarana – a Spanish plant based company making rates and powders to deliver the flavour of meat and seafood. They were good!
Snack’in – this company made dehydrated meat and cheese products and I really liked the Gouda one but the vegan one made with coconut was also really good. Almost as good!
Liveg – impressive vegan “charcuterie”
Happyvore – great vegan sausages. I wasn’t as keen on their schnitzel.
Beerkies – beer made with unwanted bread and biscuits made from the spent grain for beer. Delicious!
Another company, Maltivor, was selling bags of flour made from spent beer grain (Farine de drenches) and said 20-30% can be subbed out for regular flour in any recipe. They had “blonde”, “amber” and “brown” variations. I used some of the bag they gave me in a loaf of banana bread. I might have used a little much as it gave some texture to the bread, it also gave an interesting malty note.
Labo Dumoulin – very light and non-sweet water kefir.
BubbleiT – powder to add to a drink to make bubbles… I didn’t see it in action.
There was also a bottled cocktail where the botanicals and flavours were suspended above the alcohol to make it super fresh. It was called Mixolog and launched at the show by the same guy who has a tea brand using the same technology. I really want to try the tea one.
Onami Foods – Kiss Kiss (Vegan) Nuggets. Very impressive!
Agthia – a 100% compostable water bottle!
There were SO many products on display in the Innovations award section that I was upset not to be able to try. Including a meat-replacement made with carob (Leggie), another made with lentils, chickpeas and quinoa that looked like beef/pork slices for stir-fry (UmliMeat), frozen seaweed croutons, water lentils (?! – if you try them, please tell me!), a green beer brewed with olives (Italian, of course), and an Ice Cream Burger you could heat so the bun would be warm and the ice cream still frozen. Magic. Next time….