The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Brews from the Fancy Food Show

The Summer International Fancy Food Show has been an annual pilgrimage for me for the last 10 years: whether with friends looking for an excuse to go to New York and dine at great restaurants, as the marketing and public relations director of the exhibiting Vanns Spices, or trend monitoring for my food consulting business. This year, like last year, I was “booth staff” for friends of mine, Katie Luber and Sara Engram, founders of the award-winning tsp spices.

Each year the Summer International Fancy Food Show gets bigger and bigger. The Fancy Food Show attracted approximately 24,000 attendees from specialty food, wine, gift and department stores, supermarkets, restaurants, mail-order and other related businesses. This year they expanded to a 3rd floor at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. It is truly overwhelming and impossible to notice every new item, though I gave it my best try in my down time at the show.

With ¼ of our paychecks going to fill the tank of our car there is less dining out and more dining in. Consumers are more involved in what is going on their table focusing on new flavors, healthy-for-you, eco-friendly, and convenience. As time permits I will be writing about my picks from the show.


#1 Pick: Hydrangea Tea (also known as Suguk Cha, E-Seul Cha or Morning Dew Tea in Korea or Amacha in Japanese).

WHY: This herbal tea is naturally sweet, truly sweet no sugar needed. No artifical sweetners or sugar needed. The key word is natural.

The sweetness of hydrangea is all natural. There is a component in the leaf called "phyllodulcin" which gives it its natural sweet flavor. The process of rolling the tea leaves further brings out this natural taste. The hydrangea plant used for this tea isn't the typical plant you find in your back yard but a different "breed" of hydrangeas grown in the wild in high altitudes.

The Japanese use the Amacha in ceremonies celebrating Buddha.

To purchase:
Hankook Tea Usa, Inc. or you can check your Korean Grocery Stores. It is not cheap and a little goes a long way.

Honorable Mention

Premium Goji Tea

To make Goji Tea it used to take 3 to 4 hours of brewing and it tasted bitter. They have perfected the 100% Natural Goji tea that can brew in 3 minutes in hot or cold water. It is 90% Gojiberry, 8% wild rice with cassa tore and Solomon’s seal wrapping up the mix.

Medicinal claims on the website are numerous from extend your life, strengthen muscles and bones and improves digestion. I believ e there are medical benefits to the Goji Tea but maybe not their claim to prevent cancer – it probably lost something in the translation of the website.

The taste and aroma was earthy to me, for some reason reminiscent of dried mushrooms, and I liked it with nothing else needing to be added.

They also have Baeksie Gojiberry tea powder, a granulated tea and wonder how chefs might may adapt this in their cooking and baking just as they have with Green Tea Mancha.

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