New to IFE, the Fresh Ideas feature was a showcase of new food and drink products reflecting the high level of innovation in the industry, selected by a panel of judges from 155 entries.Containing 99% half-cream and 1% gelatine, QimiQ is a reduced-fat solid cream base and the first patented dairy product for 30 years. It has a neutral taste and can be used as a substitute for milk, cream, eggs and gelatine in sweet or savoury, cold or warm recipes. It is acid, alcohol and freeze-thaw stable and allows a longer presentation time for finished products. Contact 01923 433272 or see http://www.QimiQ.com
From the USA come Butter Buds, butter-flavoured granules produced from real butter which rehydrate to give the taste of butter with virtually no fat or cholesterol. The granules can be sprinkled directly on to food or mixed with water to form a liquid butter. Contact 01253 728053.
Olives with Attitude came about because The Big O managing director Alex Hall identified an opportunity in the bar snacks market to sell marinated olives but needed to extend their shelf life without using oil or brine. The resulting marinated deli-style olives are packed in 100g containers which are then stacked on a pole. They come in five flavours in addition to plain green olives. Contact 01428 645000 or see http://www.the-big-o.co.uk
Designed for incorporating into sauces or for use in applications normally requiring grated or melted cheese is Liquid Cheese from AB Technologies Alimentaires, a natural medium-fat cheese with no additives. Varieties available are Cheddar, Emmental and blue cheese in 20g packs to 10kg pails. Contact 01827 311288 or see http://www.ab-technologies.com
Leaves from the Makaibari tea estate in India are steamed and dried to produce Hampstead Tea and Coffee's new brew, Organic White Leaf Tea. Because the leaves undergo no processing, they retain their anti-oxidant properties. Contact 020 8731 9833 or see www.hampsteadtea.com
Theatre of Cheese
Bob Farrand of the UK Cheese Guild urged restaurateurs, operators and hoteliers to make their cheeseboards more exciting by training waiters to talk the same way about cheese as a sommelier would about wine. Customers, he argued, want knowledge and background. For a basic cheeseboard, Farrand recommended serving Camembert, Roquefort, Cheddar, Brie, Cheshire - and something local. And if the cheese is good, he said, customers would buy more wine.Farrand gave a tutored tasting of hand-made "farmhouse" Cheddars. The backgrounds of the cheeses were fascinating. Take two one-year-old Cheddars from the show, which were made at exactly the same time, but one, Westcombe's, was from Somerset and the other, Quickes, was made in Devon. Though the farms are quite close, the cows at Quickes are already in the fields by March. At Westcombe's they are still eating hay in their barns at that time of year. The difference was huge.
Contact: Bob Farrand, UK Cheese Guild, 01747 822290; Quickes Traditional 01392 851222; Westcombe's 01749 831300
If all the food on display didn't whet your appetite, then the cooking demonstrations should have. The Innovation Zone in the North Hall attracted names such as Aldo Zilli and, cooking recipes he devised in association with Norwegian Seafood, Jean-Christophe Novelli.A series of Caterer-sponsored demonstrations saw Peter Robinson from the Kings Arms in Stow-in-the-Wold, Gloucestershire; Shane Goodway, head chef at the Box Tree, Ilkley, West Yorkshire; Chris Behre, executive head chef at Knightsbridge's Mju; and Rob Kirby from Avenance all take to the stove.Kirby brought along two of his chefs - Jane Mack and award-winning Dennis Mwakulua, who prepared the pork belly braised in tamarind with sweet potato that won him the British Meat Contract Catering Chef of the Year award recently. The team also prepared dainty bento boxes as a lunch alternative for their clients' staff.Chris Behre from Mju prepared crab cakes on sweetcorn with pesto, adding tarragon and chives to bring a sharpness to the white crab meat, and mascarpone to bind. He also prepared a favourite Mju sweet of rhubarb comôte with white chocolate panna cotta.
Also of interest…
The mini world of party bites was given a new flavour at IFE courtesy of Canapés Direct with the launch of its Punjabi cold canap‚s. The six creations, such as curried potato slice with a chickpea topping, or Punjabi bread with tandoori chicken and mango chutney, can be delivered fresh or frozen nationwide with 48 hours' notice. If frozen, the product can be defrosted in about 90 minutes. Other ranges are also available. Call 020 7228 5477 or visit the website, www.canapesdirect.co.uk
The advantage of Gourmet Classic Cooking Wine is that by adding a small amount of seasoning and reducing the alcohol content to less than 5%, it escapes VAT and import duty, making it cheaper than regular bottles of wine. The white wine is made from mixed German grapes, and the red from Italian vines. There are also single-grape varieties available, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, both from Italy. Contact 01202 539000.
Preserved vegetable products, including artichoke hearts, antipasto and mixed wild mushrooms, are part of the Sorriso Preserved Vegetable range imported from Italy by L'Aquila. The ambient products are either sterilised or pasteurised, put in vegetable oil, olive oil, vegetable stock or brine and vacuum-packed in aluminium pouches in sizes from 700g to 4kg. Contact 020 8965 0666 or see www.laquila.co.uk
Mudgee Valley has put Australian Shiraz and Chardonnay, which would normally cost about £7 a bottle, in a single-serving Tetrapak. The wine not only keeps longer - with no light pollution or corking - but is stored without risk of breakage. The new packaging is particularly useful for outlets with limited storage space, such as airlines, because the square containers pack closely together. Contact 01279 654417 or see www.mudgeewines.co.uk
If you don't find what you're looking for in the Castle Aromatics range of infused oils, the family-owned company will blend one to your own specification at its organic farm in Herefordshire. However, there is an extensive list - based on sunflower or olive oil - to choose from, including mint, porcini mushroom, lavender, red chilli, garlic, lemon and orange, many of which have won accolades at the Great Taste Awards. Contact 01989 780486 or see www.aromatics.co.uk