Monday, October 27, 2014

Rendez-vous Gourmet Québec Product Show...

It was a real pleasure to attend the 5th edition of Rendez-vous Gourmet Québec's private specialty product show today at Roy Thompson Hall. The products exhibited are thriving in la belle province, with some already in our market, but many of these food businesses especially family-run are looking to launch in Ontario. Québec has a special place in my heart... my husband is from Montréal and I've worked extensively with the Québec food market back in my heyday... creating meat pâtés and seafood dips in R&D for a Québec division of McCain Foods and then developing recipes, content and directing on-camera talent for Kraft's French cooking show alongside working on their magazine.

Québec has a global reputation as a supplier of healthy, high quality products infused with a mix of European and North American influences. Their products range from maple products, chocolate and confectioneries, pasta and bakery goods, game meat and fowl, European-inspired charcuterie such as pâtés, cured meats and duck foie gras, fine cheeses and more. I have always been into food trends and I want to attend more of these kinds of invite-only specialty food shows to bring you what I experienced, so you are in the know of new products coming into our retail market with an emphasis on health and innovation. You can say you saw it on Susan's Savour-It! first! Here are some of my highlights from the show.

With Chef Fred Oh from Richmond Hill Culinary Arts Centre.

Rise Kombucha is a sparkling tea-based beverage with neat flavours such as ginger, lemongrass, rose hips and hibiscus and blueberry maple. Raw, organic, fair-trade, GMO- and gluten-free. The ancient Chinese called kombucha an “immortal health elixir”. Over 2,000 years old, it has a rich narrative history of health benefits such as preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases. It is made from sweetened tea that’s been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast- a probiotic beverage that improves digestion- nice to have a refreshing sparkling beverage alternative without the heaviness of yogurt-based drinks! And the bottle looks chic too! We are definitely going see a "rise" in this healthy market trend- mark my word! They can be found in Whole Foods Market.

Rise Kombucha

Bio Sphère curates organic raw food such as sprouted cereals, crackers, cookies and ready-to-eat burgers and falafel. Their products are gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free , salt-free, dairy and additive-free. I tried their sample falafel and kale sprouted trail mix. Truly remarkable tasting products without all the junk. You wonder how natural can taste so good! Well done!!

Koukla Delights is a model blend of taste and nutrition. Their cookies, granolas are raw, vegan, organic, gluten-free and have no cholesterols or refined sugars. Evelyn, the company President is absolutely lovely and is looking to get her products on our shelves... I hope we see her in Whole Foods soon! I tried her pure vitality cookie, which is called vitality bomb. It contains hemp, chia and sesame seeds, goji berries, cocoa nibs, almonds and sweetened with maple syrup, coconut, dates with a touch of Himalayan salt. If that's not an ultimate energy treat I don't know what is.. Her cacao macaroons also taste awesome using organic ingredients and zero chemicals!

Bio Sphère
Koukla Delights

The premium-quality sorbets at Bilboquet comes in 25 different flavours. All natural with no additives or colouring made with fruit puree or 100% pure juice. I tried lychee, mango coconut, apple and blood orange. Exquisite with each bite full of delicious real fruit flavour! You can taste the difference quality makes. Hands-down the apple was my favourite- it tasted like homemade apple crisp! Perfect for fall...who says icy desserts are just for summer! It is at the moment only listed at Summerhill Market at 446 Summerhill Avenue in Rosedale, Toronto.

Sorbet flavours at Bilboquet 

At Béland Organic Foods, they sell organic maple syrup, but what struck me was their jar of organic kimchi. Karthein's Organic Kimchi is unpasteurized and contain naturally occurring digestive enzymes and beneficial probiotic bacteria instead of shrimp paste, heavy chili sauce and fish sauce to preserve and ferment. They use green cabbage instead of napa with the addition of daikon radish, carrot, onion, ginger, sea salt, garlic and Thai red chilies for heat. It has the texture and look of sauerkraut which is also in their line-up, but the taste is very unique! Unlike Korean kimchi, it tastes refreshingly light and full of gingery flavour with kick! Very original! I still prefer traditional kimchi, but I would definitely pick up a jar for a twist on it! They are sold in some of our health food stores. 

 Béland Organic Foods

Other notable new products in the show included Bec Cola, (bec meaning kiss) a soft drink sweetened with organic maple syrup- the world's first! It is a new alternative to generic colas! 

Imperial Caviar & Seafood is launching a new line of specialty salmon products sold frozen such as salmon tartare in traditional and Asian flavours. Just thaw and serve. On top of that, they offer kelp caviar- 100% vegetarian, 100% natural with 0 calories and cholesterol.It can be baked, fried, cooked or whisked into pasta dishes, pizzas, omelettes or in a dip! YUM! 

And I saved my favourite in innovative products until the end... chocolate! Chocostyle's got chocolate shoes, lipstick, even iphone and mini-tabs... As artisan chocolate designers, they create novelty and everyday delicious treats. All-handmade and all premium, they are a fresh, fun and glamourously fashionable alternative to classic chocolate offerings.  And they taste as good as they look.

If you are looking to purchase any of these products, just comment on this blog and I will get the distribution of the retail stores around your area. I look forward to continue to share with you new news in the fantastic world of food products with a focus on health and innovation!

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