I have the best job in the world. I travel the globe in search of new flavors, unusual ingredients and innovative ways to prepare and serve food. And after visiting 40+ countries and countless food shows, I usually have a pretty good idea of what to expect. So when I decided to attend WorldFood Warsaw, I was looking forward to getting my fill of traditional Polish food…you know, the kind of hearty, home-cooked meal that satisfies the soul. Even more intriguing was the list of international pavilions at the show – Great Britain, Cyprus, Holland, Mexico, Ukraine, Latvia, Italy, Thailand – as well as select products from Bangladesh, Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Hong Kong, India, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UK, USA and Ukraine – truly a world food experience!
WorldFood Warsaw provides a platform to connect and conduct business with over 4,000 food industry buyers operating in Eastern Europe. The event brings together the region’s distributors, retailers, manufacturers and associations. These representatives are searching for the latest innovative products on the market.
One of the largest sections was the Bellavita Expo where 60 Italian producers introduced over 400 new products to the Polish market. Bellavita is the biggest artisan Italian food and beverages exhibition outside of Italy. Their Italian Pavilion hosts trade shows all around the globe – in London, Amsterdam, Chicago, Mexico and Warsaw. I was fortunate to be invited to judge a number of products and attend masterclass workshops with top chefs.
Hands down, the most surprising product I sampled was ToscoBosco’s line of what can only be described as “sweet truffles”. Before you say “what’s so special about sweet truffles?”, let me clarify these are not at all what you think they are. There are three products in the line:
- Nerosubianco®- a cocoa cream with Bianchetto Truffle with a spicy, bitter and strong taste.
- Nerosunero®- a hazelnut cream with Black Winter Truffle with a velvety, sweet and delightful taste.
- Biancosubianco®- a creamy caramel with Bianchetto Truffle with a sugary, delicious, old-fashioned taste.
That’s right, you heard me…caramel, hazelnut and cocoa cream paired with Black Winter or Bianchetto truffles. I have to say, it’s the kind of product that you just can’t get out of your mind. Imagine it served as a dessert on fruit like grilled fresh pineapple or roasted Italian plums, with sorbet or ice cream, or as an appetizer on crisp crackers.
Chef Andrea Camastra of Michelin-starred restaurant Senses explained his focus on the importance of using local, seasonal ingredients and demonstrated a few of the innovative gastronomic techniques that earned his restaurant a place as one of the Top 50 restaurants worldwide on the 50 Best Discovery Series by The Diners Club®. From a lightly-cured trout topped with prosciutto crudo, fried beetroot inside a steamed brioche bun to sous-vide (brined, cooked and then seared) Iberico pork cheek rolled in dried potato crumbs served inside a tiny “taco” shell alongside a cold cabbage reduction.
Chef Umberto Vezzoli of T. Bistrot by Vezzoli and a renowned Italian TV personality prepared “Antipasti: Variations on the Theme of Charcuterie”. With deft skill, he turned out delicious dishes using artichoke, asparagus, sun-dried tomato, ricotta and carpaccio rolls plus a smoky espresso-soaked poached egg.
If you’re interested in attending a Bellavita Expo, the next event will be held at McCormick Place in Chicago on May 20-23, 2017. Buon appetito!
Links for more information:
WorldFood Warsaw: http://www.worldfood.pl/Home.aspx?lang=en-GB
Senses Restaurant: https://sensesrestaurant.pl/en
Bistrot by Vezzoli: http://tbvezzoli.com/bistrot/
Bellavita Expo: https://www.bellavita.com/about-us/