Monday, October 7, 2013

Germany - Anuga Food Fair 2013

About a month ago I received an email from the head of department of my university regarding the Anuga Food Fair 2013. At first, only 150 students were supposed to go, but in the end about 363 students from my university visited the fair on Saturday, October 5th. Thanks to my friend's hospitality, I was able to stay over on Friday so I can join the excursion bus on Saturday morning.

In short, Anuga Food Fair in Cologne, Germany was like the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) annual meeting in the United States, with more halls, more wholesale foods, and more international companies from all continents. Six hours was definitely not enough. Thankfully, my past experience in IFT gives me better ability to navigate through the exhibitors and thus I was able to make the best out of the short visit. One thing I would highly recommend, though, is not to wear heels. I was running around 11 halls in heels, and that was actually possible. However, I had to take a full day for recovery on Sunday. I had a knee injury, and for the whole day today it had been screaming for help.

As I mentioned previously, there are 11 halls covering fine food (gourmet and delicatessen products), drinks, chilled & fresh food, meat, frozen food, dairy, bread, bakery, hot beverages, organic food, food service and retailtec (technology for retail services).

As much as I love food, I've never been exposed to this much showcase of traditional food from all around Europe. There were plenty of opportunities to taste some of the foods because most exhibitors in Anuga, in my opinion, are looking for distributors. And of course, the best way to convince them is through product confrontation.

One of the most impressive showcase - to me - was the black truffles.

I have not seen one in my life, but I have watched multiple documentaries about the rarity of this species, and how special dogs have to be trained in order to detect the truffles buried deep in the grounds of the wild. What's even better, I was able to taste these truffles.

Oh god, it was fantastic. The flavour was just bursting in my mouth.

I joined a wine-tasting session in Hall 7. I know that I'm missing the enzyme to digest alcohol, but I try to alternate wine and water as much as possible. My favorite wines come from Italy, but there were some great wines from Portugal and France as well. Some of the wine bottles were rather cute, like this one from Cyprus:

At Visions of Cooking, I was able to taste various types of fusion frikandellen with tapas on the sides. I always love to try a little bit of everything.

Lamborghini Cafe held a Coffee Creations session, and I was able to drink freshly-made specialty coffee drinks: Cafe Borgia.

I saw yet another interesting concept: choco kebab. I was really tempted to try it, but I did not have any more space in my stomach at that time.

And yet another interesting concept was the pizza on the stick that looks like ice cream. And the way to prepare it is to put it in a toaster. I think this is very creative!

Aside from the scrumptious treats, there were also panels and posters about the trends in food industries in various continents. I found them very interesting and I wish they could have given me a compilation book or pamphlet about the trend summaries.

I was unusually attracted to the machinery technology section in Anuga. I have to say that I was impressed by what the exhibitors could offer. One of the coolest thing I saw was the vending machine that makes a freshly-baked thin crust pizza in 3 minutes - FROM FLOUR.

Okay, so let's explore the booths prepared by several countries that I visited. There were too many booths to visit within 6 hours, so I'm sure I still missed a lot of countries.

Italian cured meats are just top notch. Salami, speck, prosciutto... you name it. They have everything. And unlike those cured meats that I tried eating in Asia, you don't get any hint of rancidity. Amazing textures, amazing flavours.

It would be very strange not to see anything German when the food fair was held in Germany.

Fresh meats!

Latvian beer is very delicious. Two thumbs up!

Those huge cured meat cuts... just remembering them makes my mouth watery again. A cup of espresso afterwards would be nice, too.

I was expecting sausages but they were showcasing sauces. I'm surprised that they are also into wasabi.

I tried the olive oil from Tunisia. I'm not so familiar with olive oils so I can't discern its uniqueness, but for certain, I love their citrus olive oil. Very fresh and interesting.

There were just so many food companies in Singapore that I have never heard of. I'm surprised to see at least 4 blocks of companies from Singapore.

One of my favorites. Of course, this is a biased opinion from me. I love it because I love how Japan in general is so enthusiastic about food and is always committed to bring perfection in food. Another reason was that I was able to - after a year - have conversations in Japanese. And the best compliment I received from them was "Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were Japanese! You speak Japanese very well!".

My favourite from this section? The baby peaches compote. And the gluten-free rice ramen.

Oops, and the mochi with sweet miso. I wish I could buy that sweet miso. Ah, such a bliss.

I have never tasted anything from Israel. I was expecting something like hummus, but they definitely have much more than that. Their spiced rice was splendid, and the cookies made from tahini (sesame paste), halva, was just irresistible.

All I can say is that I was very happy to see quite a number of Indonesian food companies. I had a chance to talk to some of them. Representatives from one particular company was very happily distributing their products to me because they know I miss them. Indeed, I miss them!

What is Belgium without sweets? I was already mesmerized by their waffles when I visited Brussels last year!

Chipotle, jalapeno, guacamole... oh, those things that I really miss from my days in the US!

I used to have a co-worker from Peru, and whenever she heated up her lunch in the microwave, I would always smell mouth-watering aroma from that metal box. Apparently, grains make a big part of their diets.

Chocolates and nuts. It's hard to hate them.

Argentina and Chile
I didn't have time to check them out individually. I wish I had more time!

Their chocolate and cheese never fail to disappoint me.

South Korea
Their freeze-dried kimchi is just magnificent: crispy, with just the right amount of spiciness and sourness. They also showcased aloe vera drinks and ginseng energy drinks.

I'm ashamed to say that my phone ran out of memory so I couldn't take pictures of every countries I saw. There were just too many companies from China. I saw Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand as well. There were definitely some British and North American companies. Well, a lot of companies are multi-national in the first place.

There were way too many things to tell about Anuga 2013, and I could take another hour just to write everything down. Way too many interesting pictures to take. If I could go to Anuga again in two years, I would definitely spend more time there!

Enjoy the rest of the pictures!

Toffee vodka. Deliciously dangerous, especially for a weak drinker like me.

One of my favourite canned coffee brand: Mr. Brown
I've never seen the orange can (latte) in my hometown.

Very strong energy drink

Because there is a perfection to the taste of water.

Teh Botol Sosro. One of the products that reminds me of home.

Red quinoa is supposed to contain the same nutritional benefits as the normal quinoa. But I believe that there has to be some additional benefits like antioxidants. Got to do more research on this.

Ahem... I have to take a picture to prove that I was there, right? ;)


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