SIAL 2015: Quebec shines!

Do you know SIAL, the trade show dedicated to agriculture, food and innovation? The word SIAL comes from the French for Salon International de l’Agroalimentaire (International Agri-food Salon), with the Paris show recognized as the flagship among all international events. For the record, the next French SIAL will be held in Paris from October 16 to 20, 2016.

In Canada, our own version of SIAL alternates between Montreal and Toronto. From April 28-30, the Queen City will be welcoming local food producers and manufacturers to feature the trends and innovations that may, or may not, win over Canadian foodies. During the 2015 Edition, a jury will award an Innovation Grand Prix to one of 10 finalists whose products embody novelty, be it for their inspired packaging, new ingredients or out-of-the-box thinking. Four of the ten products nominated this year hail from Québec, so let’s give our local food industry a big high five. Try these new offerings for yourself and come back to tell me if they represent the gold standard for you?



Fantino & Mondello – Salaminis

I actually recommended these Salaminis in the Summer issue of Véro Magazine. These bite-size salamis are quite tasty and apero-ready. With four varieties to choose from — Original, Asiago, Masala and Calabrese — you can surely find one to please or, better yet, combine a few for a generous party platter (I’m partial to the Asiago and Calabrese myself). Kudos to F&M also for the 125-g resealable bags, easy to use and very convenient. Their PR peeps sent trial samples of these, I’ve continued to buy them since, which says it all. A must for lazy summer nights, relaxing on the deck with a glass of wine, why not.

Info: $5.69 for 125 g; sold in groceries



Fresh Attitude Fraiche – Teriyaki, Stir Fry

I’m a mom always pressed for time so I buy Fresh Attitude Ready-to-eat vegetables when the day gets away from me (too often to count). So I asked for trial samples of these new Stir Fries a few months back. I was quite taken with the innovative packaging that has you peel off the lid, combine the multiple ingredient sections into the main “bowl,” then cover and microwave. The vegetables held up and were quite tender-crisp without cooking oil, a definitive plus.

Tastewise though, it was a bit of a let down and I missed the kick of freshly grated ginger, garlic and onion that characterize much of Asian cuisine. But we dine in Montreal’s Chinatown on a regular basis and I habitually stray towards the hardcore section of the menu, so I’m not the intended target here. For a healthy lunch at the office, I could see it though. Of the four varieties available, not surprisingly, I preferred the spicy General Tao…

Info: $5.99 for 325 g; sold in groceries



Malimousse – Seafood Dip

Mea culpa, I didn’t know these dips because, basically, I make my own, but I’ll try to remedy the situation. Marketed as “seafood” dips made with Greek yoghurt, they are offered in four different varieties (I’m sensing a pattern here…): Shrimp and Dill, Lobster and Chipotle, Crab and Artichoke, and Salmon and Maple. If you try them, write and tell me what you thought?

Info: $3.49 to $3.99 for 140 g; sold in groceries



Omax – Nutritious and Delicious Bars

While I’ve seen, just ignored, the Malimousse dips in store, the new Omax Nutritious Bars are not available in supermarkets right now. So I’m ill placed to comment on their taste, convenience or price. Their maker, the Nutrifrance company, specializes in healthy, mostly probiotic bakery goods.

The story goes these bars were originally sold exclusively at IGA but the fact they needed to be baked on the premises (think Cousin breads) seemed too big a hurdle. The company has decided to make and package them in-house, so look for them soon in other grocery chains. Offered in two flavours: Cranberry-Lemon and Chocolate-Hazelnut.

Info: Price and availability to be confirmed.




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