The annual SIAL (Salon International de l’Alimentation) Canada event was held at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto last week. This food and beverage trade show featured included a wide array of items from around the world. Most of the foods that were there were fairly standard – lots of baked goods, spreads, cheeses, often with an interesting twist. For example, in an area dedicated just to cheese, I sampled both maple syrup and chai cheddars. Both had a very interesting (for a lack of a better term) taste to them, especially the chai cheese, with its blend of the light salty taste of cheddar cheese and the exotic spices of chai.
Other interesting goodies I tried:
Spreadable tofu: While some might use it as an alternative to butter or margarine, the texture actually works better as a dip. The brand is already available at most grocery stores, so this might be something that people may consider for their next event. Set it out along side the hummus, guacamole and salsa with your pita or chips next time you have guests.
Goat milk ice cream: The vendor I tried the ice cream from had also had various goat cheeses on display (the cheeses were a bit standard and not too special), but the ice cream on the other hand, was different. In fact, I was surprised at how it did not have a very strong goat milk taste to it. The brand only has three flavours (chocolate, vanilla and cappuccino) – four if you count vanilla as two (light and regular).
In addition to food sampling, there was a demonstration kitchen, coffee “education sessions” as well as an area for OLIVE D’OR. OLIVE D’OR’s goal is to promote olive extra virgin olive oil in North America and holds a worldwide competition where participants are judged to the standards of the International Olive Council under three categories: light, medium and intense. There are three winners in each category.
Perhaps it was because SIAL was more industry focused, but I felt that it had a very different vibe from other food-related events I’ve been to, such as the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. It’s not to say that it wasn’t fun – just “different.” In fact, I had the vibe that they were surprised to see online media in attendance. At the same time, I am looking forward to covering the event again next year.