With the growing interest in regional food and speciality suppliers, it's no surprise that this year's Hotelympia speciality pavilion is expected to be one of the busiest sections of the exhibition. Emma White reports
Visitors to this year's Hotelympia will have the opportunity to sample all the latest food and drink delicacies from about 20 companies exhibiting in the Speciality and Regional Food Pavilion.
Handmade cakes, wheat/gluten-free scones and traditional pies are just some the products on offer for chefs, menu developers and food and drink suppliers to taste and compare.
Cotswolds bakery Marshfield will be drawing attention to its selection of mini snack bars for hotels, conferences and lounge service operations. The range of individually wrapped flapjacks, shortbreads, fruitcakes, brownies and biscuits are also available in gift bags and tins for hoteliers to offer to guests as an added treat. As sales director Ben White explains: "The snack bars are small, convenient and reasonably priced."
Catering for customers with food intolerances is Delicious Alchemy, with its range of wheat-, gluten- and lactose-free products. A wheat/gluten-free sultana scone will be launched at the show, accompanying existing products including loaves, rolls, cakes and cereals for food service.
Delicious Alchemy's product line has been singled out for a number of awards to date, including a Gold Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Foods for its wheat/gluten-free loaf and a Caterer Excellence in Food & Drink Award for its wheat/gluten- and lactose-free ginger mini loaf.
Managing director Emma Killilea says: "Once an allergy sufferer identifies a venue that can satisfy their dietary needs they become a loyal customer and recommend the venue to fellow sufferers. Our research shows that three- to five-star hotels will probably cater for at least one gluten- or lactose-intolerant guest every day."
Pie lovers should head to the Pieminister stand for a lowdown on the latest pie trends. Pieminister's wholesome pies are made with locally sourced ingredients from farmers and growers in the West Country. An in-house batch-recording system traces meat and vegetables back to the farm - or even the field - where they originated.
The company combines traditional pie-making techniques using flavours from around the world. The range includes the PM pie, with prime steak, kidneys, shallots and ale and the Heidi pie, made with goats' cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion and roast garlic. Some of the Pieminister's recent accolades include two gold medals at the Great Taste Awards 2007 for the PM pie and Poussin Boots pie as well as a gold medal for its Mr Porky pie at the 2007 Taste of the West Awards.
Several fine-leaf tea companies will be showing how operators can make the most of their speciality blends with a range of serving suggestions.
ASO Development will be promoting its Tea Forté and Revolution Teas brands. Its latest "teatogo" system incorporates a tea bag into the cup lid, giving users control over brewing and the disposal of the bag, which can be pulled back into the lid. The high-grade tea, which includes popular black and herb varieties, is in a nylon bag for clear visibility.
ASO's Revolution speciality teas come in a wide selection of formats - from wooden chests, miniature boxes, pyramid bags and foil wraps, while its Revolution Tea Chests are made from natural imported wood and are suggested for conference rooms, banqueting areas, pubs and restaurant settings.
T-Box Revolution are boxes containing individual infusers which can be used to refill the Tea Chests, while the T-Pot Revolution are pyramid-shaped bags that contain enough tea each to make a pot. Flavours vary from the much-loved English Breakfast and Earl Grey varieties to the more exotic Bombay Chai and Honeybush Caramel.
All good food needs seasoning and British Pepper and Spice will be at the ready with its huge selection of herbs, spices and seasonings. The company has a trading history dating back more than 300 years and offers everything from chilli powder, garlic salt and paprika to bay leaves, coriander and oregano. Seasonings include Mexican, Oriental, and El Fuego Steak and Lemongrass. British Pepper and Spice also incorporates Eastern Star curry powder and the Gordons brand of chutney, mustards and sauces.
Italian company Emmegroup, represented in the UK by Taste of the Highlands, will be giving UK visitors the first viewing of its hand-built range of mobile cooking units, wine and beer trolleys. Each unit is tailored to individual requirements and comes with a range of fashionable accessories.
Heart of England fine foods (HEFF), the regional food group for the West Midlands, will be promoting regional food and drink initiatives including its latest delivery service and minibar concept. Some 65 food and drink producers have signed up to the service across the West Midlands: in the first five days the initiative brought in £50,000 in additional sales.
The delivery service enables food service companies to source regional food and drink with only one invoice and one delivery.
Up to 12 minibars are available to hotels or B&Bs in return for a minimum supply commitment to seven regional producers for food items such as fruit juices, beers, biscuits and chocolate.
"Our delivery service and encouragement to stock regional food and drink by supplying equipment such as the minibar all helps to promote quality, diversity and integrity of the food and drink produced within our region by a diverse range of companies," says HEFF chief executive Karen Davies.
Sandwich and Tea Pavilion
The Sandwich and Tea Pavilion, run in association with The British Sandwich Association (BSA), will feature demonstrations and free-of-charge seminars on latest innovations and best practice. This new pavilion will house up to a dozen companies that are largely suited to visitors from the fast-food sector as well as those providing light snacks for customers. Typhoo and Cherry Valley are the two key sponsors at the show.
Latest products from Typhoo include its In-Cup system and Decaffeinated teas. The In-Cup system offers a tea bag inside a branded paper cup for tea on the move. Cherry Valley will be offering visitors free menu advice as well as promoting its range of sandwich meats. Its sliced honey-roast duck has a sweet taste and is double-sliced to fit wraps and sandwiches. The confit duck is marinated in garlic, cracked black pepper and herbs overnight before being double-sliced.
A full seminar programme will include sessions with BSA guest chef Tom Bridge and talks by representatives from pavilion sponsors Typhoo and Cherry Tree.
In the opening session, Bridge will make a selection of sandwiches using ingredients from around the show and present some ideas for healthy eating options. And during the launch of the Soloist Club for Independent Sandwich Bars, Bridge will discuss ideas to give sandwich bars an edge over their competitors, while BSA director Jim Winship will talk about the BSA section for independent sandwich bars.
Other highlights include a talk on using duck to add value to your sandwich range by Cherry Valley development chef Howard Rowell and an outline of the tea production process from plantation to cup by a representative from Typhoo.
Further presentations will examine ideas for the lunchbox and sandwich market, with Winship presenting the latest data from the BSA and Bridge showing he is a cut above the competition by making sandwiches using the top 10 fillings identified from the research.
Food service and hospitality show Hotelympia, which will be held from 17 to 21 February at London's ExCel centre in Docklands, showcases the latest products and innovations in the industry and offers visitors access to vital business information and the chance to attend events such as culinary competitions.
For tickets, call 0845 218 6044 or see www.hotelympia.com for more information.
Speciality and Regional Food Pavilion
- Chegworth Valley S1452
- British Pepper & Spice S1353
- LB Foods - Revolution Tea S1008
- ASO Developments - Tea to Go S1012
- Sri Iyyan Tea S1016
- Pie Minister S1018
- Heart of England Fine Foods S1114
- Platanos Agricultural CooperativeS1020
- Taste of the Highlands S1128
- Shortbread House of Edinburgh S1025
- The Peppermint Company S1120
- The Curry Sauce Company S1134
- Delicious Alchemy S1414
- Marshfield Bakery S1015
- Qinghai Boya Business S1022
- R-Oil S1030
- Tea & Sandwich Pavilion
- Typhoo S1553
- Cherry Valley Farms S1553a
Further exhibitors to be confirmed