Good (IBIE) Eats

Deborah Cassell, managing editor
casselld@bnpmedia.com

The day before attending the International Baking Industry Exposition, I lunched at a Village Inn in sunny (i.e. humid) Orlando, Fla. On my way out, the hostess told me oven-fresh apple pies were on sale for $5.99. (That’s for a whole pie, people.) For a brief moment, I was tempted. Then I remembered that I’d be spending the next four days eating baked goods at IBIE. I promptly paid the check and skedaddled.
As it turns out, IBIE was chock-full of everything from smooth Soylato (courtesy of Carmi Flavors) to hot cinnamon sugar doughnuts (mmmm ... Belshaw) to crusty artisan rolls (baked by backaldrin: Kornspitz, anyone?) to blueberry crunch cookies (from Best Brands — yum!) to the darkest of chocolates (thank you, Barry Callebaut). I sampled every edible item in sight, but walked it all off during the show, which featured the latest in bakery equipment, packaging and ingredients (my focus).
Since it was my first Baking Expo, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But having previously worked in a field (home furnishings) where the largest trade show (in High Point, N.C.) was 12 million sq. ft., I felt prepared to tackle the 350,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space at the Orange County Convention Center. I looked forward to the many innovations I would find there. That said, I’d heard complaints about IBIE moving from Las Vegas to O-Town, so I wondered how well-attended it would be.
Although traffic was slow for some exhibitors (especially on Wednesday), the quality of the attendees was high, and the depth of the participating companies was solid, according to Kerwin Brown, president and CEO of BEMA, the baking industry suppliers association. Despite the fact that the American Association of Cereal Chemists’ International Annual Meeting was going on in San Antonio, many ingredient suppliers also attended.
“It’s fun being part of a show where there’s a lot of life,” Brown told me. “This is the show to be at.” IBIE still will be the show to see come 2010 when it returns to Sin City. As Brown points out, “Vegas is just such a destination for folks. ... I think people are ready to go back.”
Rather than belabor you with lengthy descriptions of the enzymes, starches, shortenings, yeasts, and trans fat-free solutions on display in October, I thought I’d share a short list ... including a recap of the show’s best eats. After all, IBIE was a feast for the eyes, ears and stomach.
IBIE Highlights
Speaking with the folks from Edlong, who taught me that diacetyl is not only an additive in butter flavoring but also occurs naturally. (Wish I’d known this when I wrote my September column.) Due to customer demand, Edlong recently introduced the ED-Vantage line of flavors with no added diacetyl.
Hanging out with “Slice,” the Grain Foods Foundation’s friendly, photogenic mascot, who (silently) greeted visitors to the booth. There, the GFF promoted its advertising campaign: “Bread. It’s essential.” The adorable ads — created by the sassy ladies at PR agency Mullen (shout-out to Kristin and Jennifer!) — feature the red twisty tie in all its glory. For a closer look, visit www.GrainPower.org .
Checking out ConAgra Mills’ new Ancient Grains, a line of functional flours made from amaranth, quinoa, teff, sorghum and millet that add whole grain goodness to bread, tortillas, pita and even pizza crust. Corporate chef Stephen Hodge’s chewy samples were tasty yet healthful — go figure.
Having dinner with the team from the California Raisin Marketing Board at my favorite Orlando restaurant, Moon Fish, home of the biggest pork chops this Iowa native has ever seen. Back at its booth, the board showcased lemongrass raisin scones and a raisin and walnut multigrain bread.
Taste-testing Van Drunen Farms’ yogurt-covered, infused blueberries and raspberries. Perhaps best known for its basil, the Momence, Ill.-based ingredient supplier also featured various freeze-, drum- and air-dried fruits for use in baked goods, snack bars, and hot and cold cereals.
Attending the United Soybean Board’s Heart Healthy Dinner to benefit the American Heart Association. The meal was chased by a chocolate fountain, courtesy of ADM Milling. More importantly, the dinner featured speakers from the AHA, who addressed trans fat concerns. (Visit www.BadFatsBrothers.com for a hilarious yet educational look at both trans and saturated fats.) Later in the evening, Richard ­Galloway of the USB discussed the attributes of soybean oil in baked goods.
Watching members of my staff (not me) win free iPod nanos at the “Bring a Buddy” reception sponsored by the American Bakers Association and the Society of Bakery Women.
Burning the roof of my mouth on a tasty slice of pizza made with Caravan Ingredients’ Straight2Bake dough conditioner, which uses freezer-to-oven technology for yeast-raised products.
Watching demonstrations by the Bread Bakers Guild Team USA as it prepares to defend its Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie title during Europain 2008, March 29-April 2 in Paris. Visit www.Europain.com for all the doughy details.
Tune in next month for additional post-show coverage. Right now, I’m off to Village Inn. All this writing about baked goods has got me thinking about that pie.