January 27, 2013
Since we were on a tight schedule, we did our business follow-up on Sunday, then were off to the ISM in Cologne, Germany. There is of course no direct flight between Cologne and Lyon, so we landed in Dusseldorf, Germany, and ever so slowly walked across the FROZEN, icy marble of the train platform to take the train to Cologne, then a taxi to the hotel to get some sleep so we could get up and do it again the next day. Nothing was open for dinner at 10 p.m. (our arrival time) so it was a mini-bar dinner of nuts and beer.
The ISM in the Koln Messe is a HUGE convention site in the sleepy town of Köln (Cologne) Germany, famous for its cathedral (Dom), its sightseeing cruises on the Rhine and of course its Kölsch Bier. The Messe itself is massive, with 10 or 11 halls, and is the biannual home of the ANUGA, which is billed as the largest food show in the world. The ISM is devoted to sweets on an international scale. There are country pavilions, machines to coat chocolate, portion control equipment, packaging, huge companies, and yes, wee companies, sprinkled though out. This however is not really like a Fancy Food Show: the only way to get information is to buy the 19EU ($25.00) show guide, which only lists companies by name. So the easiest thing to do is quickly walk the halls and decide on areas/pavilions to concentrate on…easier said than done. But thanks to some quality time spent with the informal British foods ambassador David Porat at Chelsea Market Basket, our trip was enjoyable, smooth and highlighted by a fun uber-traditional dinner at the Haxenhaus eating pork knuckles, kraut, potatoes, blood sausage and the like washed down with the aforementioned Kölsch Bier purchased by the half meter. Delightful! See the pic from David: a photo is worth a thousand words…
We had follow-up calls with a couple of existing vendors and I had the privilege of hanging out at the Italian chocolate producer Venchi while Linda placed an enchanting (and tasty) Easter order. Otherwise, we were on the trail of confections—preferably confections that might go with cheese, our favorite food buddy. The search was fun and fruitful! New things we are looking at are oatcakes, Scottish shortbread and licorice. Between the shows and “street foraging” (shopping in stores and markets), even in the overwhelming ISM, we got the goods! Several should be ready for the Fancy Food Show this summer.
February 3, 2013
As with all voyages, the trip home was a 12-hour grind, with the knowledge that now comes the hard part: the follow-up!
We’ll be letting you know about our progress on this blog and website. Please let us know what you want to hear more about and we’ll be happy to comply. Thanks!