So what’s new? Caramel everywhere and of course seas of gluten free everything. Salted chocolates seem to have reached sodium saturation. But what stood out at the huge fancy food show in foodie San Francisco were both the old-timers whose time may have come and a plethora of young-uns with good ideas and products.
What goes with tea? How is your imagination treating you these days? How about an Epic meat bar – specifically a turkey/cranberry or lamb/currant mint or habanero/cherry bar made from grass-fed animals with ingredients you can actually understand. And no soy. No sugar. No nitrates. Think about pairing with a full bodied oolong or perhaps a strong black keemun or even a milder darjeeling. These are tastes that call for bold pairings.
Based in Austin, Texas, the company was started a year and half ago by Katy Forrest, a ironman athlete and Taylor Collins, a triathlete, two competitive – and vegetarian – athletes, who, after trying a variety of diets from vegan to raw – found their energy waning, their performance lacking and their recovery time waning. They had already founded Thunderbird Energetica, a line of vegetarian protein bars. But when they found that protein in the form of meat transformed their energy level and performance, Epic, the meat energy bar was born. Even if you’re not planning on running a marathon, a turkey/cranberry bar cut into cubes makes a great addition to a savory afternoon tea.
Low fat muffins may be more conventional tea fare, but for flavor and taste, Simple Mills, a new company out of Chicago, makes an innovative baking mix that is not only low in calories, but is also gluten free, has minimal sugar and additives – and is also very tasty and no-fuss. Just add oil, water and eggs, and bake for 20 minutes. Ingredients include almond flour and coconut nectar for sugar. Founded by a young biology graduate of University of North Carolina, who saw a need for a healthy, no-additive, no wheat muffin, flavors include banana, chocolate, pumpkin, chocolate chip, and focaccia and sandwich bread mix.
Katlin Smith (left) was working in Atlanta as a strategy and operations consultant with Deloitte when, suffering from joint pain, she changed to a gluten and dairy free diet. But scouring supermarket aisles for healthy food became an exercise in frustration. Soon Smith, an petite, energetic and can-do entrepreneur began experimenting with recipes. After a lot of trial and error – she also took chemistry at UNC – Simple Mills as born. Starting out by herself, Smith rented a test kitchen, did all her own mixing and packaging, and was on her way. Her product is not only healthy, but moist and flavorful without the aftertaste of a lot of additive-laden mixes. Today, Smith has eight employees and is carried by Whole Foods online at Amazon and also in 500 stores nationwide.
Stay tuned for more from fancy food show….