Get Adobe Flash player

Global Cuisine

Spanish Food Show Alimentaria Reorganizes for Improved Attendee Experience

On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, the Spanish trade fair Alimentaria is organizing its most international event ever at Fira de Barcelona on April 25-28, 2016, attracting companies and buyers from all over the world to promote exports and access to new markets for the almost 4,000 companies from close to 50 countries represented at the show. The newly-reorganized trade show will reflect the key markets in the food and drink industry and showcase the opportunities for growth that innovation and gastronomy can offer the sector.

In 2016, Alimentaria will be based around five themed trade shows: Intervin (wines and spirits), Intercarn (meat and meat products), Restaurama (restaurants), Interlact (milk and dairy products) and Multiple Foods (all kinds of confectionery, preserves, oils and premium products). The aim of this segmentation is to reflect market trends, strengthen the show’s position in the restaurant and gourmet sector, and make life easier for the trade professionals from the sectors of food and drink distribution, retail and imports who visit the show in search of new suppliers and products.

To promote the attendance of international visitors, Alimentaria is sending direct invitations to more than 800 selected buyers and setting up business meetings with exhibitors. Registration for the ‘Hosted Buyers’ program is already open on the show’s website to sign up key professionals from the markets of Latin America, Asia, the United States and Canada, Europe and the Middle East with an interest in buying specific products.

At the same time, other sector organisations and Spanish public administrations are organizing business meetings to attract international buyers to the fair. Examples include food and drink business meetings organized by FIAB, ICEX and Magrama, and a brokerage event organized by Acció.

The power of the gourmet experience in promoting Spanish food products will be evident in The Alimentaria Experience, a huge space housing activities, demonstrations and cooking workshops given by well-known chefs,-including Michelin-starred ones-and young up-and-coming talents. Meanwhile, innovations, trends, launches, seminars and conferences will all be featured in The Alimentaria Hub, a major space dedicated to food knowledge, which also includes business and technology.

Alimentaria is one of the world’s benchmark events for the food sector. The previous event brought together some 3,800 companies (almost one third of which were international), and 140,000 visitors, 42,000 of whom were from outside Spain.

McCormick Flavor Forecast 2016 Unveils Tastes of Tomorrow

McCormick & Company, Incorporated has unveiled its annual McCormick Flavor Forecast revealing the tantalizing trends that will shape culinary exploration and innovation – in home kitchens, at restaurants and on retail shelves – across the globe for years to come.

Among the emerging trends is a spotlight on underexplored Southeast Asian fare – Malaysian and Filipino – and the evolution of our insatiable appetite for spicy. Also featured are pulses which serve as a protein-packed canvas for delicious flavors – fitting as the United Nations celebrates 2016 as the International Year of Pulses.

“Since its inception in 2000, Flavor Forecast has been tracking the growing interest in heat and identifying upcoming spicy flavors including chipotle, peri-peri and harissa,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “Our latest report shows the next wave of this trend is complemented by tang. Look for Southeast Asian sambal sauce powered by chilies, rice vinegar and garlic to take kitchens by storm.”

Emerging Trends and Flavors Identified by a global team of McCormick chefs, food technologists and flavor experts, these trends offer a taste of 2016 and beyond:

1. Heat + Tang – Spicy finds a welcome contrast with tangy accents to elevate the eating experience.

  • Peruvian chilies like rocoto, ají amarillo and ají panca paired with lime
  • Sambal sauce made with chilies, rice vinegar and garlic

2. Tropical Asian – The vibrant cuisine and distinctive flavors of Malaysia and the Philippines draw attention from adventurous palates seeking bold new tastes.

  • Pinoy Barbecue, a popular Filipino street food, is flavored with soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar, pepper and banana ketchup
  • Rendang Curry, a Malaysian spice paste, delivers mild heat made from chilies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, tamarind, coriander and turmeric

3. Blends with Benefits – Flavorful herbs and spices add everyday versatility to good-for-you ingredients.

  • Matcha‘s slightly bitter notes are balanced by ginger and citrus
  • Chia seed becomes zesty when paired with citrus, chile and garlic
  • Turmeric blended with cocoa, cinnamon and nutmeg offers sweet possibilities
  • Flaxseed enhances savory dishes when combined with Mediterranean herbs

4. Alternative “Pulse” Proteins – Packed with protein and nutrients, pulses are elevated when paired with delicious ingredients.

  • Pigeon peas, called Toor Dal when split, are traditionally paired with cumin and coconut
  • Cranberry beans, also called borlotti, are perfectly enhanced with sage and Albariño wine
  • Black beluga lentils are uniquely accented with peach and mustard

5. Ancestral Flavors – Modern dishes reconnect with native ingredients to celebrate food that tastes real, pure and satisfying.

  • Ancient herbs like thyme, peppermint, parsley, lavender and rosemary are rediscovered
  • Amaranth, an ancient grain of the Aztecs, brings a nutty, earthy flavor
  • Mezcal is a smoky Mexican liquor made from the agave plant

6. Culinary-Infused Sips – Three classic culinary techniques provide new tastes and inspiration in the creation of the latest libations.

  • Pickling combines tart with spice for zesty results
  • Roasting adds richness with a distinctive browned flavor
  • Brûléed ingredients provide depth with a caramelized sugar note

“Flavor Forecast is a catalyst for innovation,” said Vetter. “Around the world this year, we’re launching 56 new consumer products inspired by Flavor Forecast trends, and we’re working with our customers across the food industry – from chain restaurants to beverage and snack producers – to help them do the same.”

For mouthwatering recipes, images and more ways to explore this year’s top flavors, visit

New Ariston Organic Balsamic Vinegars

Ariston PF1The products in the new Ariston line of organic balsamic vinegars are characterized by a perfect balance between sweet and sour. This product is made exclusively with organically farmed grapes, without pesticides involved. The entire production process is certified in order to guarantee consumers compliance with the highest organic farming standards, guaranteed by the CCPB certifying body.

To make the vinegars, the grape must, cooked over a direct heat in an open vessel, simmers slowly and is concentrated until it is reduced to about one third of its original volume. It is then placed in the attic, in a series of casks of oak wood. Here the balsamic vinegar passes the years acidifying and aging until it has reached a balance that only the alchemy of time can provide, prodded along by the masterful hands of artisans.

This balsamic is naturally dark and dense, with a 5 percent acidity content. Add some over strawberries or on your favorite salad to add complexity.
For more information, call Ariston Specialties at 860.224.7184.

Italy a Partner Country for 2016 Winter Fancy Food Show

As part of Italy’s “Extraordinary Italian Taste” campaign, aimed to promote authentic Italian food in the United StatesItaly will become the first-ever partner country of the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco next year.

Under the “Extraordinary Italian Taste” banner, food companies from most Italian regions will present their best in pasta, cheese, olive oil and cured meats to buyers looking to bring more specialty food from Italy to U.S. consumers.

“There is a noticeable change in consumer trends,” said Maurizio ForteItaly’s Trade Commissioner in the U.S. “Americans are increasingly enjoying authentic Italian food, the Mediterranean diet, which is tastier and healthier. We now need to take advantage of this trend. It’s the right time to go full speed ahead.”

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Italian food exports have climbed 24 percent in the first nine months of 2015, with products such as Italian olive oil, cheese and pasta ranking as number one in their individual sector.

“Food from Italy has long set the standards for excellence in the U.S.,” said Ann Daw, President of the Specialty Food Association. “Our partnership will further raise awareness of the authenticity, taste and quality of Italian food. Together we are changing the way consumers eat.”

The Italian Trade Agency enjoys a long-standing partnership with the Specialty Food Association as well as the key Italian food and wine shows, such as Vinitaly, Cibus and Tuttofood. Italy has long been the largest international exhibitor at the Fancy Food shows.

Carla’s Pasta Launches in Big Y Markets

Carla’s Pasta’s new line of frozen, ready-to-eat pastas and pestos will be launched at all 64 Big Y locations starting this month. Big Y® is a family owned and family oriented retail food company headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“We could not be happier or more proud to launch our best in class pasta products with the best in class grocery chain like Big Y,” said Sandro Squatrito, Vice President of Business Development for Carla’s Pasta. “To this day, we make everything the way that Mom always did, just a bit more of it.” Carla’s Pasta is made at a state of the art production facility in South Windsor, Connecticut. The company has about 165 employees.

The Carla’s Pasta product line at Big Y includes Cheese Ravioli, Cheese Tortellini, Gluten Free Penne and Six Cheese Sacchettini, which come in a revolutionary microwave bag that has been over a decade in development. The line also includes microwavable steam bag meals, which include Mac & Cheese, Six Cheese Ravioli with Marinara, Tortellini Alfredo and Buttered Noodles. In addition to the microwavable line, which is ready in minutes, they have a line of frozen specialty raviolis in clam shell packaging which include Spinach & Egg Striped Cheese Ravioli, Tomato & Egg Striped Ravioli, Tuscan Style Vegetable Ravioli, Sage & Egg Striped Butternut Squash Ravioli, Spicy Italian Sausage Ravioli, Shrimp Scampi Ravioli, Vegan Ravioli and Gorgonzola Pacchetti. In addition to the eight year round flavors, Carla’s Pasta has a seasonal rotation program of four specialty ravioli flavors; fall’s flavor is Pumpkin Ravioli. The product line also includes four varieties of pestos: Basil PestoBasil Pesto with Pine Nuts, Sundried Tomato Pesto and Wild Mushroom Pesto. In addition to the four current pesto offerings, Carla’s Pasta is working on introducing Kale Pesto, which will be coming soon.

From Farm to Flavor with Tres Hermanas


In the sunburned heart of southern New Mexico, the Tres Hermanas Mountains rise from the horizon. Nearby, in the town of Deming, family homes, local business, and acres and acres of pepper farms sprawl out in their protective shadow. It is from these mountains that Tres Hermanas takes its name. It is from this community where Tres Hermanas is inspired.

Mizkan editTres Hermanas believes that great flavor comes from great farms. This is why the company works diligently alongside farmers that have grown peppers for generations. Together, Tres Hermanas and its farmers cultivate the very best seeds and ideal growing conditions to raise delicious, uniquely New Mexican peppers. All jalapenos, green chiles and tomatillos are grown within a 30-mile radius of the company’s headquarters to ensure maximum farm-to-flavor freshness.

Each fall, these peppers are harvested by hand, with each one carefully considered to ensure that only the best New Mexican peppers make it to your shelves – and your shoppers’ tables. The farmers and their families celebrate this pepper harvest by making a whirlwind of sauces and salsas, bringing age-old family recipes to life with flavorful fresh ingredients.

Tres Hermanas brings these traditional recipes to you with a full line of peppers and sauces. These peppers fill dishes with raw desert spices. Sauces run from sunset red to verdant green. All are imbued with a touch of something special that sparks the senses, something that transports anyone who enjoys their flavor from their dining room to a sun-soaked plain outside Deming, where three gentle peaks rise to kiss the turquoise sky.

Inspired by the vivid flavors this community has enjoyed for generations, these cooking sauces make it easy to create truly authentic Mexican meals in only a few simple steps.

So whether your shoppers enjoy spicy peppers, authentic sauces or both, everyone will love the dips, enchiladas, nachos, tacos, burritos and even pizzas they can make with the bold, farm-raised flavor of Tres Hermanas.


Emmi Roth USA Launches Roth Natural Melt Creamy Fontina

With restaurants continuing to seek out ways to offer their customers wholesome, natural ingredients, Emmi Roth USA has recently released a new melting cheese to meet the needs of foodservice professionals with flavor and functionality. Natural Melt™ Creamy Fontina helps operators clean up their menus with a multi-purpose melting cheese that is crafted to melt, naturally. Three simple ingredients – pasteurized cultured milk, enzymes and salt – create an approachable flavor and buttery, velvety texture that is suited for a grand scope of culinary applications.

Developed in collaboration with the company’s team of corporate chefs and master cheesemakers, the cheese is crafted specifically to melt in hot foodservice applications. Special cheesemaking techniques are employed, including reduction of the protein bondage, to create an ideal natural melting cheese. Emmi Roth’s newest creation was launched to help foodservice operators not only elevate a host of menu favorites with a deliciously distinctive note, but also meet consumer demands for natural products.

Natural ingredients and artisan cheese are among the top 20 food trends for 2015 according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Culinary Forecast. NRA’s forecast also shows that 75 percent consider natural ingredients and minimally processed food as a hot trend, 65 percent consider artisan cheeses as a hot trend and 25 percent consider it a perennial favorite.

“Our team developed Natural Melt Creamy Fontina in response to the trends we are seeing in foodservice,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “We take pride in delivering innovative products and meaningful cheese solutions to our customers and are committed to transparency in our cheesemaking practices and wholesome, natural food production.”

Available in 7.5-pound loaves, Natural Melt Creamy Fontina can be easily incorporated into any hot foodservice application that calls for melted cheese, including sauces, soups, dips, mac n’ cheeses, burgers, flatbreads, grilled sandwiches and pasta dishes. Evan Topel, Corporate Chef at Emmi Roth USA, has developed a collection of delicious recipes featuring the new cheese:­­­­

For more information about Roth Natural Melt Creamy Fontina, visit

Maple Leaf Farms Introduces Southwest Style All Natural Boneless Duck Breast

Maple Leaf Farms, a producer of quality duck products, has added Southwest Style All Natural Boneless Duck Breast to its retail product selections.

Maple Leaf FarmsThe gourmet-flavored duck breast is marinated with a robust, Southwestern spice blend featuring garlic and cayenne pepper. The marinade enhances the duck’s delicious natural taste which makes this product great as a main menu item or an addition to salads, pasta, stir-fry, quesadillas or fajitas.

Featuring all natural ingredients, the gourmet-flavored duck breast comes with unscored skin and offers easy-to-follow cooking instructions on the inside package label.

“This is the third flavor for our marinated duck breast line,” says Duck Marketing Director Cindy Turk. “Providing the duck breasts already marinated with gourmet flavor helps consumers create restaurant-quality meals with minimal time and effort in the kitchen.”

For convenience, Maple Leaf Farms Southwest Style All Natural Boneless Duck Breast is available frozen in clear, vacuum skin packaging that gives full view of the product. Nine duck breasts (7.5 ounces each) come per case for retail stores. Branded freezer trays are also available for display of the product. Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Southwest Style All Natural Boneless Duck Breast is $8.95.

Authentic Italian Food at a Fair Price from Cibo California


By Lorrie Baumann


Just as California’s Silicon Valley has a justly deserved worldwide reputation as a center of excellence in computing and information technology, Italy has a “Food Valley” with an equally deserved worldwide reputation, according to Massimo Cannas.

Cannas is an Italian-American food importer and broker who’s a familiar figure in the exhibit halls of the Fancy Food Shows, particularly in the Italian food areas, as well as throughout the entire specialty food industry. He founded specialty food brokerage MAXCO International in 1995 and has clients across the country. Now, he’s expanding his enterprises with the founding of Cibo California, a new specialty food import business based in southern California. Federico Pavoncelli is the company’s Co-Founder and Executive Vice President. “I am so proud that he has joined the company and shares its vision,” Cannas says. “He is a great person that I respect very much.”

As President and CEO of Cibo California, Cannas plans to source a wide selection of authentic Italian food specialties and import them into the U.S. He and his partners, all first-generation Italian-Americans who speak Italian as their native language, will use their knowledge of Italian culinaria as well as their Italian language skills and their ability to navigate the culture to bring authentic Italian specialty food products to an American public that’s eager to taste them, Cannas says. “Thanks to my relationships with the food producers, I have had the opportunity to find products from suppliers who have opened every door to me,” he says. “My face is known there, and I have had the chance to explain what the company is about..

The Italian foods that most Americans are already familiar with are but a small sampling of the range of authentic and delicious products that are being produced for commercial sale in Italy today, according to Cannas. Over the past 30 years or so, the Italian specialty foods industry has developed from a few large companies that made products characteristic of the owners’ culinary traditions. For years, those companies dominated the export market to the U.S., leaving many Americans with the impression that once they’d tasted, and come to love, those products, they knew all there was to know about Italian food.

But Italy is a country, not with a few basic recipes for foods that the entire country has in common, but with a multitude of intensely local culinary traditions, Cannas says. As he speaks, the Italian-accented words begin to tumble over themselves as they rush to explain why this is important to American consumers. “When you drive for 10 miles in Italy, you find yourself every 10 miles in a new Italy. Nothing is similar to what you tasted 10 miles ago. In Italy, we have dialects. Every 10 miles, there is a different dialect. Everyone speaks Italian, but between neighbors, they speak local dialects. With that, the varieties of wine are different. The kind of bread is different. The pasta, the soup, the meat, the fish, the cured meats, the cheese, the extra virgin olive oil, the wine, the mineral water, the cookies, they’re all different. This is why Italy is so very interesting to the food lover. It’s always a discovery, day after day.”

“For an example, recently I found a producer who makes what I consider the very best hand-made breadsticks,” he continues. “We drove for six hours in the rain and wind to arrive for a visit with this artisan that produces these breadsticks, which are very unique. It’s a family-owned company, and after a couple of hours, they have granted us the exclusive right for distribution in the U.S. Now it’s up to us to translate this to the American consumers and to restaurants, but we are positive that we are going to be successful…. Americans today are excited to discover these new things coming from Italy. It’s no longer spaghetti and meatballs and pizza. There are specialty foods from every region to be discovered here. This is what we are trying to do. This is exactly why Cibo California is excited to discover for all of our customers and for everyone who loves food and who loves Italy.”

For more information, visit or call Cibo California at 949.427.5555. To place orders, call 800.991.5199.


Discover the Magic of Miso

If there’s one “secret” ingredient that can enhance your favorite recipes, miso just might be it. It’s a soybean paste fermented with rice, barley or other grains. Miso adds umami or savory notes to food, and is a staple ingredient in Japan. In Japanese cooking, miso has long been prized for its salty, complex flavor as well as its nutrition benefits. Miso includes probiotics (naturally occurring live bacteria in cultured and fermented foods) that are good for the digestive system, and is a high-protein food (approximately 2 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon). It’s also versatile, not only because of the way it enhances other ingredients, but also because it comes in a variety of colors, flavors and textures, each with its own uses in cooking.

White (shiro) miso has the sweetest flavor of the miso types and is made with soybeans and rice. Of the three types, it is fermented for the shortest length of time. Despite its name, the color is actually pale yellow. The mild flavor makes it a natural choice for salad dressings, and it adds salty and savory notes to soup.

Yellow (shinshu) miso is darker than white miso, and is fermented longer. It is made by fermenting soybeans with barley and adds a nutty flavor to foods. It’s often used in soups, and works well for light marinades. Use instead of butter when mashing potatoes to achieve a richer flavor and to reduce the need for added salt. Whisk or blend yellow miso with sesame oil and mirin (rice wine) for an Asian-inspired tofu marinade.

Red (aka) miso, is the saltiest version, and has the most depth and boldness of flavor because it has been fermented the longest time. Its flavor complements meats and other robust foods.

Miso is made by combining cooked soybeans, sea salt, grains and a starter culture. It is fermented for a few months, or up to a few years. Depending on how long the soybeans are fermented and which grains are used, the flavor and color vary. In general, the darker the miso paste, the more intense the flavor. Here are some ways you can discover the magic of miso for yourself:

Mix miso with condiments such as butter or mayonnaise to add depth and dimension to the flavor of sandwiches and snacks. Enhance the flavor of soups (prepared or homemade) by adding a little white or yellow miso. Add a small dab of red miso to meat glazes. Experiment with desserts by stirring a teaspoon or two of miso into chocolate cake batter.

The Soyfoods Council offers recipes for salads, soups, and entrees that demonstrate the flavor range and versatility of miso. Entrée ideas include Miso-Marinated Salmon with Edamame Soy Stir Fry and Sirloin Steak with Black Soybean Salsa and Miso Orange Sauce.  The orange sauce recipe combines raw sugar, rice vinegar, orange juice, white miso, mirin (rice wine), butter and achiote powder. The miso marinade for salmon features white miso, mirin, tamari (similar to soy sauce) and cayenne pepper. Other recipe suggestions include soups such as Creamy Kale Miso Soup, featuring yellow miso, tofu and low sodium vegetable broth, and Miso Chicken Soup with Snow Peas and Tofu with ginger and miso paste flavoring the stock.

Gourmet News
Follow me on Twitter