Expotrof is a Greek Food and Beverage exhibition that is geared to consumers and professionals. Basically, producers and companies take part in this expo to sell their products to the consumer on the spot, as well as networking.
Here are the top food trends I spotted this past weekend at Expotrof:
1. Flavored Pasta
Greece has a variety of pasta in their traditional diet. We have hilopites, which is flat pasta made with milk and eggs. You usually see it cut in little tiny squares, but nowadays you see them uncut, so basically long, flat strands. In recent years, you’ll find flavored hilopites. In many cases they are made from a mixture of flour and pureed vegetables, which is a good thing as you get some vegetables in the meal, which is especially useful for picky eaters (kids).
Another type of traditional Greek pasta is trahanas, which is a type of pasta made with flour and is kneaded with milk or sour milk. You eat it as a soup, sometimes with tomato added to it and it is considered a comfort food. At the expo I saw a variety of flavored trahana, some that caught my eye was spicy trahana and goji berry trahana. As long as there are no additives, artificial flavors and coloring, this trend is interesting.
2. High End Honey
Greeks love honey. I recall one time mentioning that honey is a source of sugars and I cannot tell you how many complaints I got. Now honey is a source of sugar, but with a different ratio of sugars and it contains some antioxidants. Greece is known for producing some of the best honey in the world, and there was no shortage at this expo. It was interesting to see a variety of honey from different plants such as thyme, acorn, eucalyptus, pine.
3. New Flavors for Preserves, Sauces and Condiments
This trend has been going on for a while, but now the choices are endless. I find that most of these sauces and jams are made with almost no additives so they are great as ingredients or serving them as appetizers. The flavor combinations are quite interesting as well. I found a green pepper jam quite interesting and the pickled mushrooms would make a great meze.
4. Flavored Olive Oils and Vinegars
There were very few olive oil companies, but they usually have other expos to showcase their products. Another reason is that Greeks get a lot of their olive oil from local farmers or family or produce their own. However, there was a trend of flavored olive oils with herbs, hot pepper, even chocolate. Not sure how well the concept will go here, as Greeks are pretty hardcore when it comes to olive oil. The reality is that flavoring a very good olive oil is a waste, you really want to taste the flavor of the juice of the olives, not chocolate. I do think it may be fun as a dip or maybe in baking where the flavor of the oil is not as important.
5. Authentic Greek
Apart from these newer products there were plenty of traditional products with a focus on authentic recipes and ingredients. There were rusks, traditional sweets, cookies, pites, herbs, legumes.
A few comments…
I think these events are a great opportunity for vendors to showcase and sell their products and while it is nice to have consumers discover your product, it is not that much an expo but rather a market. Many vendors are busy conducting transactions (money, receipts) rather than having the time to discuss their product.
All the vendors were proud of their products as they should be, but there were a few things I noticed that needed some improvement:
- Smoking was allowed in the whole expo. I will not go into the health effects of smoking, but when you are tasting food or wine in a smoky environment it is not ideal.
- Vendors: Try and be a bit more careful with your samples. Here is what I saw: many vendors had no samples, they were there just to sell their products, not necessarily promote them. Other vendors were, how should I put this: a bit sloppy, crumbled rusks in a half empty bowl, sauces dripping over dishes. Presentation is extremely important when it comes to food.
- Vendors: Make sure you know where else your products are sold. I may buy a product at the expo, but if I want to buy it again where can I find it?
- I have included links for each product in the photo caption.
- Any products or companies appearing in this article are not necessarily endorsed by Olive Tomato
- I did not receive any payment or sponsorship for this article