This morning I woke up with the best of intentions. I vowed to wow my colleagues by totally staking out the entirety of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show floor and identifying all the hottest trends and new products in the food industry today. Truth is, I walked and gawked for about five solid hours and covered as much ground as your average snail. But, in the spirit of progress, let me share a few of the cool things I found interesting.
My first stop was at the Organic & Natural Pavilion. And the first item that caught my attention was a tray of cute little microvegetables from Koppert Cress. Often used on fine-dining menus, these native, aromatic plants and herbs are selected for their very strong and distinctive tastes. I tried the Mustard Cress and an interesting plant called a Sechuan Button. The Sechuan Button produces an â€˜electricâ€™ feeling in the mouth, which then evolves to very tart. Used for cocktails, desserts, ice creams, and sorbets.
2) Exotically named flatbreads
Also while wandering the Organic area, I came across exotically named flatbreads such as Naan and Chapati from Maria and Ricardo’s Tortilla Factory. The new ethnic twist demonstrates that the flatbread phenomenon is not going away anytime soon, it will just keep evolving.
3) Green carryout packaging
Actually, it’s not green. It’s tan. And it’s compostable. And everywhere.
4) Gourmet teas and tea sets
The delicate art of teatime seems to be back in a big way. From â€˜bloomingâ€™ bundles of tealeaves that open in clear pots to interesting products like Adagio Teas â€˜Green Popcorn Tea,â€™ tea may have eclipsed coffee at least in terms of style.
5) Chicken Twists
This product looks like curly fries only it’s breaded chicken. A fun new product from TysonÂ® that seems to have boundless applications on appetizer menus, kids’ menus, salads and sandwiches, and more. Addictively crunchy too.
6) Automated Mixology
The Coca ColaÂ® booth sported a new Gold PeakÂ® FlexFresh Brewer that can customize Gold PeakÂ® teas with lemon, raspberry, or peach flavoring for up to 50 different tea variety options in one unit.
7) Inari Sushi
Deep-fried â€˜bean curdâ€™ or soy pockets just big enough to fill with rice and other sushi ingredients. A traditional but lesser-known form of sushi wrap with potential for making sushi offerings easy for any operation to offer.
_From Guest Blogger Sabrina Robb