Continuing our Hotelympia coverage, Diane Lane takes a looks at what's hot in food and drink and provides a sneak preview of the Innovation Award finalists in that category
Take a look through the list of food and drink exhibitors that follow and you will start to see a pattern - innovation. It's a theme you would expect at Hotelympia, but this year it's even stronger because, with the economic climate as it is, if you stand still as a supplier or operator you will fall behind.
The innovation falls within some common themes. There are creative flavours, like authentic pure cacao from Willie's Cacao and Imaginative Cuisine, to new ways with fruit, like liqueur glazes from Gourmet Classic and Nim's Fruit Crisps.
Meanwhile, healthy on-the-go drinks are mixing it with emerging flavours like coconut from Iconiq Drinks. And, of course, there are the Ethnic trends including Vietnamese, Caribbean and Moroccan-inspired dishes.
In terms of textures there are flavour bursts in the form of spheres, pellets and flakes - intense eruptions of taste to enhance the dining experience. While, natural flavours such as Wild Fennel and Dill Pollen and more exotic combinations such as rosewater and ginger, sesame and cumin and bourbon and pink peppercorn all feature in the Schwartz for Chef flavour pairing challenge during Salon Culinaire.
Fruit-based liqueur glaze
A new launch from Gourmet Classic, specialist supplier of cooking alcohol, will see a fruit-based Liqueur Glaze join its line-up of cooking wines, spirits, liqueurs, eaux de vie and balsamic vinegars.
The premium, ambient range of flavoured cooking liqueurs has been developed using natural fruit extracts and contains authentic premium liqueur for maximum flavour with a minimum alcohol level of 5%.
Seven varieties are available: Crème de Cassis, Apple, Cherry Brandy, Orange, Crème de Framboise, Crème de Menthe and Amaretto, all packed in 350 ml squeeze bottles.
Besides plate decorating and finishing, the Liqueur Glazes can be used as a cooking ingredient to add an interesting kick to both sweet and savoury dishes. The glazes are thickened to maintain stability in taste, shape, colour and texture whether used in basic or more complex recipes and provide an alternative to using a standard fruit coulis.
Exhibitor: Gourmet Classic
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Single estate cacao
Willie Harcourt-Cooze produces authentic pure cacao and chocolate from the finest beans from around the world. The carefully sourced single estate beans have stunningly individual flavours, born of their specific genetics, soil and climate.
The beans are transported to his chocolate factory in Uffculme, Devon, where they are roasted and ground, refined, conched and tempered in small batches using traditional 100-year-old machines sourced mainly in Europe to capture the subtle notes and unique flavours.
Exhibitor: Willie's Cacao
Coconut thirst quenchers
Caterers looking to reinvigorate their soft drink line-up can check out ICONIQ Drinks' new thirst quenchers that tap into the emerging coconut water market forecast to be worth £100m within three years. These include icoco, a range of coconut waters blended with crushed fruit, available in Cherry Vanilla, Pineapple and Minted Apple. Made with 50% coconut water and 50% fruit juice, each of the three varieties is rich in Vitamin C, fat free and high in naturally occurring electrolytes, which replenish the body and prevent dehydration.
Other launches are a 100% natural icoco coconut water with sweet, nutty coconut notes, providing a refreshing alternative to plain water eating out, and a spring water, bottled at source in Scandinavia, in a pioneering new water pouch for hydration on the go.
Also, Smoove fruit smoothies, which come in Mango & Orange, Strawberry and Blackcurrant & Blueberry varieties, contain enough fruit to count as one of the five a day. A Caffe Latte variety has also been introduced to broaden the range's appeal.
The drinks come in 250ml Tetra Prisma Paks, a greener alternative to PET bottles, and have a six to 12 month shelf life.
Exhibitor: ICONIQ Drinks
Long-life sandwich packs
Joining the Ecoco range in response to growing customer demand, the 72hr Heat Seal Bloomer Pack provides a solution for square cut sandwiches, cakes, snacks and more, keeping produce fresh for up to three days.
Space efficient and easy to stack, the sturdy 72hr Bloomer Pack features a large wrap-around window and is ideal for differentiating between ranges and giving sandwiches professional high street appeal.
Using sustainably sourced craft board and an innovative bio laminate, which is derived from renewable plants rather than oil based plastic and can be composted, the pack provides a longer shelf life as well as reducing unsightly grease-marks and leaks.
0117 317 8600
Dried, not fried and made from 100% pure, natural fruit, Nim's Fruit Crisps are available in four varieties that are cleverly combined to perfectly balance the natural sweet and tangy flavours: Apple & Kiwi, Orange & Melon, Apple & Strawberry and Pineapple & Mango.
Fresh fruit is thinly sliced and air-dried using a unique process that helps retain their crispy crunchiness and tangy flavour. All fruits - except pineapple - used to produce the snack are dried with their skin on, retaining more of the nutrients.
Nim's Fruit Crisps are hand packed in England, contain no fat, added sugar, additives or chemical preservatives and are suitable for those with allergies to gluten, wheat, nuts and dairy.
Exhibitor: Nim's Fruit Crisps
0843 289 5519
Cupcake in a jar
In a twist on the ubiquitous cupcake, which has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, G Desserts has packaged the teatime treat in a jar.
Besides its novelty value, which makes it ideal for corporate events, wedding favours and other private dining celebrations, Cupcake in a Jar stays fresher for longer since the jar seals in moisture and prevents the cake from drying out.
Flavours currently available are Chocolate Nutter, Red Velvet, Lemon Passion, Victoria Sponge, Simply Vanilla, Strawbubbly and Carrot Passion.
Exhibitor: G Desserts
020 8689 2736
Single portion package
Aimed at caterers in markets such as nursing homes or airlines where ready meals are served, Torus Pak is a packaging solution for single-portion package meals.
It features a retractable bottom enabling caterers to easily serve the packaged meal on a plate while still have the food presented as it was in the package.
This feature opens up new possibilities for the hospitality sector, where the current package solutions force the end users to eat out of the tray or shovel the contents over on to their plates, neither of which offers attractive presentation.
Exhibitor: Torus Pak
Innovation Awatds: FooD & Drink Category Finalists
The aim of Bridor's Arc en Ciel range of multi-coloured breads is to encourage the use of bread as an ingredient as an integral part of a meal rather than just alongside it.
The range features six different breads for use in canapés, snacks and sandwiches, all made with natural flavours and colourings.
The 100% natural bread - available in two sizes, 35g and 80g - is made from traditional French flour and has a delicate, light texture. Flavours, which are reflected in the colouring, include Nori - described as savoury with a tangy taste reminiscent of the sea - Curry, Mint & Garlic, Sun-dried Tomato, and Pickled Lemon & Thyme Pastries.
Own-brand vitamin drinks
Vitamin Choice flavoured water is a new addition to the Grab'n'Go range from Oranka Fruit Juices and has been designed to allow caterers to sell customers their own-branded bottles of flavoured water with added vitamins at improved margins to the big branded options.
Oranka provides the ingredients for the drinks which operators use to fill the 330ml bottles, then add lock-on lids and labels for a personalised look. There are three flavours: Orange & Lime; Pineapple & Passionfruit and Lemon Balm, each with a vitamin benefit.
The drinks are supplied in 10-litre boxes that have an ambient shelf life of up to nine months and, once opened, a fridge life of 30 days. The filled bottles will store in the fridge for up to five days and the system slashes packaging and wastage by 90%.
Exhibitor: Oranka Fruit Juices
0870 830 1555
Freshburst Pearls aim to take the hard work out of molecular gastronomy's "spherification" process. Made from fruit-flavoured stock syrup or from thin savoury condiments such as balsamic vinegar, they are spherical in shape and when bitten into release an intensely flavoured liquid centre.
The liquids inside the pearls are made from plant-derived natural ingredients with no alcohol, gluten, gelatine or dairy content, making them suitable for most dietary requirements and ideal for functions and banqueting.
Flavours available are balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, black truffle, sea water, raspberry, blackcurrant, mango, passion fruit, chocolate, rose, strawberry, packed in 100g jars.
Exhibitor: Imaginative Cuisine
0118 986 2347
Cheese Melts are individually quick frozen pellets of natural Long Clawson cheese, suitable for melting on burgers, steaks and chicken; filling paninis, vegetables, baked potatoes; or topping pizzas, The portion-controlled pellets are supplied in three flavours - Blue Stilton, Innkeeper's Choice and Fiery Mex.
Stilton Melts are made using Long Clawson Blue Stilton with a sharp, tangy flavour, Inn Keeper's Choice is a traditional favourite of mature cheddar with tangy pickled onions and chives and Fiery Mex is made with cheddar with the spicy kick of chillies.
Produced in the UK, Cheese Melts combine a long shelf life with a convenient free-flowing, portion-controlled format, ready to use straight from the freezer, allowing chefs to vary their menus with minimal effort. The products have highly consistent characteristics and cooking performance; giving consistent appearance, browning, texture and melt.
Exhibitor: The Cheese Warehouse
Luxury individually wrapped Panettone are suitable for coffee shops, cafés, tea rooms and delis as a perfect accompaniment for coffee or afternoon tea.
Manufactured in the UK, the traditional Panettone are made to an authentic Italian recipe with citrus peel and vine fruits. They are made with 100% British flour and are certified by the Red Tractor scheme.
No preservatives are used and the Panettone are frozen straight from the oven before wrapping individually for maximum freshness on defrost.
Made to a traditional Italian recipe with rich citrus aroma, the breads are made with 100% British flour and are Red Tractor certified. Using Heygates flour from their Northampton mill, the products are made with the minimum of food miles as are all the breads from Speciality Breads.
Exhibitor: Speciality Breads
Stand: S3030 The range of CHEF Flakes jus has been specifically developed to help chefs create new flavours and textures in their dishes. The unique format ensures that each flake contains 100% of the ingredients, releasing fully rounded, intense and authentic meaty flavour.
The flakes contain up to 15% meat and are ideally suited to meat crusts, pannés, jellies and marinades, and come in a range of six flavours: veal, beef, chicken, lamb, duck and pork. They dissolve quicker than existing powder products delivering a glossy finish and are extremely versatile and convenient. Low in fat and with no added colours, each tub yields 11 litres of jus and 22 litres of stock. The product is endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs and Members of British Culinary Federation.
Exhibitor: Nestlé Professional