On Sunday, April 1st, I attended the IACP Culinary Expo, Book & Blog Festival at 82 Mercer Street. The room was filled with so many exhibitors, from food producers and suppliers to kitchen product manufacturers. Cookbook authors and publishers were present promoting their books and doing signings as well. It was a lively gathering of food lovers, bloggers, authors, and culinary professionals centered around The Fashion of Food, which was the theme of the IACP conference. There was also a brunch area, where you could enjoy local eats in the Taste of the Five Boros, like bagels with lox and cream cheese from Zucher’s Bagels and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from Peanut Butter and Co.
I had a great time there. I learned about the different types of lentils and their health benefits from Canadian Lentils. Lentils are pulses and technically not beans. They are classified by color and size and colors range from yellow to orange to green to black. They are a great source of protein. The representatives of Canadian Lentils served lentil and cheese quesadillas and gave out The Big Book of Lentils, a collection of recipes to challenge you to incorporate lentils into any dish or meal you like.
Over at Melissa’s Farm Fresh Produce I discovered baby kiwis. They look like grapes from the outside, but once you bite into it, you’ll see the resemblance to the kiwi. The skin is edible. The fruit has a very delicate sweet flavor, unlike the regular kiwi fruit which can be a bit tangy. These baby kiwis are only available during certain months of the year – February through April, September through November.
I was quite interested in the line of gluten-free products from King Arthur Flour. They have flours as well as mixes for bread, brownies, pancakes, cookies, muffins, cake, and more. They also provided some recipe suggestions. I haven’t really tried gluten-free baking products before, so this might be somewhere to start. Runa tea shared samples of their tea which is brewed from guayusa, a native Amazonian tree leaf. It provides balanced energy and antioxidants. It contains more caffeine than other teas but less than coffee. So it’s good for an energy boost that’s gentle for the stomach. I love coffee, but the acidity can sometimes be harsh on the stomach. Their tea bags are available in traditional, spice, peppermint, and ginger citrus. They also shared their bottled teas that are very refreshing to drink chilled. The bottles are available in traditional, lemon-lemongrass, mint, and hibiscus-berry. I really liked the mint one.
I’m not sure if it was just me, but I noticed there was a lot of cheese at the expo. In addition to the samples of cheese and cheese dishes from Wisconsin Cheese, Lucy’s Whey, and Murray’s Cheese, it felt like cheese was an ingredient for many exhibitors.
In the other side of the room, I found tables and tables of sweets and baked goods. Artopolis Bakery Patisserie of Astoria, Queens, had a full table of Greek pastries like baklava (sweet pastry with layers of filo pastry), melomakarouna (egg shaped desserts filled with ground nuts), and kourabiedes (walnut sugar cookies).
The Rescue Baker shared samples of her Campfire Cookies, Mini Flourless Chocolate Cakes, Lemon Poundcake, and her fantastic Boozy Chocolate Caramel Pecan Bars, which uses Godiva liquor. Mm. My eyes were drawn to Sweet Loren’s table of cookie samples. Sweet Loren’s produces all-natural, ready-to-bake cookie dough and brownie batter. They are made with 100% whole grains and only uses natural sweeteners. There’s no preservatives. They are also dairy-free! Sweet Loren’s was the winner of The Next Big Small Brand in 2011. She provides you the cookie dough and all you have to do is heat up the oven and bake the cookies. There’s heavenly chocolate chunk, chewy oatmeal cranberry, bold espresso chunk, and nutty peanut butter oatmeal. All the cookies were great, but found the Dark Double Fudge Brownie to be very nifty. Not only is the packaging neat looking, it comes in a disposable pan that can go directly in the oven. If you like fudgy brownies, choose a shorter baking time. If you prefer cakey brownies, bake it a bit longer.
I had quite a feast at the expo sampling so much food, but definitely overdosed a bit on the sweets by the end of the afternoon. Thanks Wisconsin Cheese for inviting me to the expo. Here are some more pictures from the event. Enjoy!