Expo East: A Whole Lotta Yum
By Susan Leone, Founder
One of the best parts of my job is going to Expos. Not only is it a great break from the day-to-day, it’s a wonderful opportunity to catch-up with our retailers and distributors, but meet fascinating foodies and sample new and original products. And last week Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore was no exception.
As natural food products increase in popularity, innovation truly is the name of the game. Food manufacturers seem to constantly dig up new ingredients and develop new ways to create delicious and healthy meals, snacks, and beverages. From gluten-free bagels that taste like the real deal to avocado spreads that substitute from nutrient-poor mayonnaise to drinks made from exotic root vegetables, I was blown away by the creativity up and down the aisles.
Over the three days of the expo, I tried to sample as much as I could. Here are my picks for the most innovative and delicious products on display at Expo East.
1. Maple Hill Creamery: You can always tell the difference between an overly processed yogurt and one that is minimally processed and made from cows that have been treated well. And from the very first taste of Maple Hill Creamery’s yogurt I knew that this product fell in the latter category. Maple Hill uses organic, full-fat milk from cows that are 100% grass-fed. Their cream-on-top yogurts are buttery, smooth, fresh – simply out of this world.
2. Miyokos Kitchen: If you are lactose intolerant, gluten free, and/or vegan you MUST try Miyokos’ Kitchen’s “cheeses.” In fact, even milk guzzling carnivores are going to want to taste their cheese. Unlike most other vegan cheeses I have tried, these cheeses are robust and flavorful and come in a variety of textures. Miyokos handed out tastes of a grilled cheese sandwich that was oozy and delicious. But my absolute favorites were the Fresh Loire Valley in a Fig Leaf and Mt. Vesuvius Black Ash cheeses. You can bet I’ll be serving these along with some Fruit Bliss figs and dates when I next have company.
3. There were two beverage companies that were also noteworthy. Turmeric Temple offers delicious drinks based on Hawaiian-grown turmeric, a root that has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. In addition, it is also believed that turmeric may help to prevent the plaque buildup in the brain that is responsible for Alzheimer’s. And Organic Gemini has a drink that was as fascinating as it was delicious: TigerNut Horchata. Tigernut, I learned, is not a nut, but a small root vegetable that once comprised 80% of our ancient ancestors’ diet around 2 million years ago and helps cultivate your gut’s natural probiotics. Today tigernuts are grown in West Africa and Spain.
Have you recently discovered any great new natural food products? Learned about any root vegetables with invigorating health properties? Tasted any vegan foods that you could swear weren’t vegan? If so, please tell us about them. We’re always on the lookout for foods that are new, delicious, healthy, and sustainable.