SIAL Paris, the world's largest food exhibition

3 years ago By Christine Sahadi Whelan
SIAL Paris, the world's largest food exhibition

In the fall, we often take a long weekend to attend a European Food Show.  This year we chose to go to SIAL in Paris, which bills itself as “the world’s largest food innovation exhibition.”  It’s a great opportunity for us to see what’s going on in the International Market, where the trends are headed, and the hottest ingredients.  It is a lot of walking and a lot of fun.  The Europeans take their food shows much more seriously than the US.  There are acres of aisles of every kind of food imaginable.  Tens of thousands of people jam into a dozen buildings specializing in everything from food manufacturing and packaging machinery to the newest in hospitality tech.  And, then there’s the food!  Miles of amazing flavors.

My husband and I walked for hours.  One day we logged almost 9 miles!  I had the misfortune of having my phone die on the second day of the trip, so we had to share one phone for work, photos and counting steps (not easy for a couple that lives off their smartphones!).  However, it did give us more time to focus on the wonderful array of tastes.  While there was quite a lot of healthy foods, the European ethic of everything in moderation meant the cheese and bread displays were amazing!  I don’t think I have ever met a cheese I didn’t love, so I was in my glory with the wonderful small batch, fresh European cheeses.  The runny soft ripened cows, the creamy just-made goats, the cave aged Swiss’ — all got my attention.  The French have made bread baking into an art form.  Rows and rows of crusty baguettes and buttery crisp croissants were everywhere.

In the international pavilions we met with many exporters from all over the world hoping to get their products in the US market.  We made a lot of contacts and hope to curate some great new items for the store next year.  We also saw one of the coolest displays I have ever seen: a tahini fountain!  I am thinking of borrowing that idea for an herbal tahini dressing that I could serve for an event.  I couldn’t help imagining all the possibilities from the moment I saw it.

It was a wonderful trip and we crammed in so much during the 4 days.  There were some wonderful, memorable meals with great friends and business associates, a delicious dinner cruise down the Seine and we even managed to squeeze in a visit to view the Eiffel Tower.  Au revoir, Paris!