Each year our spring trade shows aim to inspire guests with exciting menu suggestions, new cooking techniques and more. Walking the show floor this year, I was truly inspired by all the products and presentations. Truly outstanding!
Enjoy this recap video of our 2018 show; thank you to all customers and suppliers who made this show another fantastic event.
(Below the video, I've highlighted a few of my favourite new products from the show. (Fair warning—I have a sweet tooth!)
Strawberry Blonde Cake by Wow Factor Desserts
Flanagan code 104252
Decadent is the best way to describe this tasty white cake with strawberry ganache, topped with strawberry whip cream icing and white chocolate drizzle and curls. A great way to showcase one of summers most popular flavours!
Wow Factor also featured their new Baklava Cake (Buttermilk pound cake layers filled and frosted with a vanilla cream cheese mousse, garnished with a chopped baklava topping) and Italian Almond Cream Cake (Two layers of rum soaked buttermilk pound cake filled and frosted with amaretto mascarpone mousse). I warned you I had a sweet tooth.
Wow Factor has always done a stellar job on their desserts; each cake is made by hand. A Canadian owned company who uses premium, local ingredients (when available).
My absolute favourite story about Wow Factor is the amazing team who fold their boxes! Partnering with the Robin Hood Association, a group of disabled people take pride in carefully folding each box. Wow Factor could have boxes produced much faster through automation but they are choosing to pay it forward.
Veggie Burger by Fast Company
Flanagan code 155048
This isn’t your average veggie burger! It looks and tastes like a hamburger however it is made with 100% plant proteins. Gluten free and GMO free, this was my biggest surprise of the day. After trying every veggie burger on the planet (okay, I may be exaggerating slightly) I had finally given up on finding one. The search is over!
As the demand for vegan options on your menus is increasing, I encourage everyone to consider The Beyond Burger® when looking at your vegetarian offerings; check out this Dr. Oz video for his reaction to the burger.
Teres Major by Carve Premium Ontario Beef
Flanagan code 222828
Now more than ever, the Carve story is one that you can share with your guests and bond together over a quest to help build a sustainable Ontario. Ontario beef supplied by a group of hard working Ontario beef farmers.
Beyond the story, they served Coffee Rubbed Teres Major with Chimichurri Sauce. I am not a big meat eater (hence my quest to find the best veggie burger), but this was a delicious mix of flavours that demanded a second serving. Finely ground espresso (you could also use instant espresso powder), sugar and spices made the meat very tender and scrumptious. The Chimichurri was a refreshing addition...you can find the complete recipe here.
Teres Major is not a cut that I have personally cooked with, but it’s an affordable option.
Maple Butter Tart by Grandmother's Bake Shoppe
Flanagan code 107906
Not only is Maple one of the top trending flavours on Ontario menus, but the story behind this tart is also share-worthy. The tart was created to commemorate Canada’s 150 year anniversary, by making the tart with ingredients that we would have had 150 years ago. No corn syrup, all butter and pure maple syrup. The fluted crust gives the tart a little more personality and leads itself to the small batch look.
Grandmother’s also has a Maple Walnut Butter Tart and Maple Raisin Butter Tart.
Table Top Menu Stand
At the s.t.o.p. Cash & Carry I came across a very cool table top menu stand that allows your guests to charge their phones. It offers video, static imagery and sound. It doesn’t play too loud so it won’t disturb other guests at nearby tables.
There are two models; one has a memory card and the other is a network version (this would typically require more than 20 units). If you purchase 4 or more they offer a lease agreement. What is great about the network version is it allows you to easily adjust your offers and then take down as soon as you want to. If you want to start small, you could move between tables if guests are asking to charge their phones (it charges four devices simultaneously).
Teriyaki Turkey Burger by Hayter's Farm
Flanagan code 107906
When you think Ontario turkey, you think Hayter's. At the show they were showcasing a teriyaki burger; turkey breast marinated in a teriyaki sauce. It's incredibly flavourful just on its own, even without all my favourite toppings (looking at you, goat cheese) and a bun.
Not only are local ingredients trending, Hayter's stresses that Ontario turkey provides outstanding value on any menu; it delivers excellent margins to you, the operator, while lending itself well to burgers, deli sandwiches and centre-of-the-plate (win-win-win).
Classic Spice Craft Caesar Mix by Walter Caesar
Flanagan Code 406584
Another Ontario product, Craft Caesar Mix by Walter Caesar is a Canadian classic, reinvented. It's made with all natural Ontario products; vine-ripened tomatoes, grated horseradish, Worchestershire and hot sauce, select spices and real clam juice which is sourced sustainably. Walter's is actually the first Caesar Mix that is Ocean Wise™!
I'm not typically a Caesar-drinker, but this was refreshing and very enjoyable.
To sample their mix, they had an alcohol-free vodka called Seedlip, the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit made using peas, spearmint, rosemary and thyme.
Whole Smoked Beef Brisket by Hormel Foods
Flanagan code 159009
A unanimous favourite at the show!
Brisket has a comfort food quality to it and it’s perfect on a sandwich, pizza or even a salad. This Hormel product is a fully cooked whole beef brisket which is rubbed generously with seasoning and is smoked for up to 16 hours. In addition to the amazing taste, what I really enjoyed about this product is that it doesn’t come with sauce, giving you the freedom to make it your own signature dish.
Smoking meat is not easily duplicated at home and is an excellent draw for your guests. According to Technomic Trends presentation given at the Kitchener show, the leading entrée types featuring brisket are sandwiches, burgers and beef dishes (in that order).