National Restaurant Association 2012: Whet Your Appetite On The Latest Trends

We had a lot of fun walking the floor at the National Restaurant Association show from May 4th-6th of this year. Always on the lookout for the newest trends, the following products were some of our favorites:

1. The Cecilware OJ200

The Cecilware OJ200 booth was one of our first stops. It’s a pretty awesome gadget. You put whole oranges in the top, and it automatically feeds, then slices and squeezes oranges for fresh orange juice. It can process up to 22 oranges per minute, making it a very efficient countertop model. I think we   were just as enamored with the guy in the rolling orange, so we snapped his photo. From the look on his face I am not sure if he was all that pleased. Oh well.

2. The Cookshack Pellet-Fired Charbroiler

It uses compressed wood pellets in a lower smoker box that heats and smokes meats simultaneously. It offers consistent flavor, and has minimal ash cleanup. According to the company’s website, it reduces ash accumulation from 30% to 3%. It’s been on the market since 2009 and is Cookshack’s best seller. They also sell residential and commercial smokers. It’s definitely an interesting piece of kitchen technology.

3. Cups, cups, cups! 

There were all kinds of ready-made pastry cups that work perfectly with sweet and savory fillings. There were also lots of cones on sticks that would make for great chocolate applications. One booth had savory cups in flavors like curry and basil Parmesan. They were cute and looked like Asian soup spoons. One definite bonus is that you can eat the spoon for a great “green” alternative!

 4. White Harissa Paste

This was one of my favorite tastes at the show. It tastes nothing like regular harissa paste, and is the first product of its kind in the marketplace. It has a very apparent rich garlic taste underlying the rich spicy chili flavor. You can taste the sunshine in the jar! This would be a great addition to any bean dish or  it could be used to make a beautifully balanced vinaigrette.

5. Ginger Vinegar

 Talk about an unexpected flavor experience! This vinegar is not your average vinegar. Of course, we thought it was going to be a tart, acidic, possibly tangy vinegar. I think the term vinegar does this product an injustice. It is sweet and gingery with a hint of rice vinegar. Further research on the website confirms the product content. Our first instinct was that this would be amazing in a cocktail of some kind due to its truly unique nature. Get out your wallet for this one, though, a 8.45 oz bottle retails for 49.99! Makes me want to come up with my own version!

6. FOMZ Zero Gravity Fruit

Another product we found very interesting was at the Canada-based FDR booth. It is an aerosol based all natural product. It contains fresh fruit and pure cane sugar. It is a dairy-free, alcohol-free, low fat solution to whipped creams. It was designed with mixologists and pastry chefs in mind. My personal favorite was the passionfruit mango flavor. Wish I could have tried the mixed berry!

7. Pretzel-Based Products

One trend that we found in full force at the show was the plethora of pretzel-based products. Anything from jumbo pretzels, pretzel baguettes, and pretzel rolls to pretzel bites stuffed with cream cheese, or pretzels coated in all myriads of flavors.

This last set of pictures is just simply for fun.

These were on display at the Mazzetta Company booth. Who wouldn’t want to climb on board a “ShrimpMobile”? These weren’t just display bikes either, some lucky company bloke gets to ride around on them in their free time, or maybe they let potential customers take them for a spin! The company had a great booth, and these bikes were definitely memorable.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this overview of the NRA show! Check back soon for the next adventure in food trends!

Allison & Bridget

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