1. Henry’s Stingers.
The natural products world talks a lot about how kids are the future of wellness, and here's evidence. At age 11, Henry Miller (now 13) learned about Colony Collapse Disorder and decided to do something about it, so he became a beekeeper; soon, Henry’s Stingers was born, featuring three deliciously spicy honey blends: Grumpy Grandpa with spicy red pepper and garlic; Naughty Nana with pepper and ginger; and Phoebe’s Fireball (named for Henry's cousin) with chipotle and cinnamon. I love these honeys (great for meats, marinades, dips, and dressings), and I love Henry for taking on this crucial cause.
2. Baobab fruit powder.
Baobab is the newest superfruit discovery, with more antioxidants than anything yet tested, including acai, pomegranate, and blueberries. It’s the dried fruit from pods of the African baobab tree, which is minimally processed (really, just dried and ground). It’s got a pleasant citrus taste – I drank it in straight water – making it well-suited to smoothies, juices, bars, or pretty much anything (I predict we’ll see it in beauty products soon). Major bonus: It’s a fabulous, fair-trade cash crop for traditionally impoverished indigenous communities in Africa.
3. Rhythm Superfoods Kale Chips.
Who needs trans fats and potato chips when you can eat these? Rhythm Superfoods takes this great leafy green to new heights with tasty spice combinations and a consistent, crispy texture, making them a completely addictive, healthy snack. Certified organic, these chips are air-dried (not fried), vegan, gluten-free, and even raw, and come in five flavors: Bombay Curry, Zesty Nacho, Texas BBQ, Kool Ranch, and my favorite, Mango Habanero.
4. Hail Merry snacks.
A gluten-free, raw, and vegan line that’s dedicated to taste and nutrition, Hail Merry’s motto is “No More Gluten-Free Junk Food!” I adore all of their spiced nuts (I tossed some of the Chimayo Chili Pecans in a salad the other night), coconut and chocolate macaroons (moist and chewy), and “grawnolas” (made with GF buckwheat groats, not oats). The company favors maple syrup and agave, suitable for diabetics, and most ingredients are organic. If you can get your hands on their refrigerated Meyer Lemon Miracle Tarts -- made with coconut oil, almond flour, agave, and Meyer lemons -- they’re absolutely incredible.
5. Crunchfuls Cereal.
Tasty, crunchy, lightly sweetened, and … hold on to your hat … a full serving of vegetables in every bowl. The secret ingredient? Pulses, aka beans and lentils! Minimally processed (the pulses are milled, steamed, baked, and toasted), the original and cocoa versions have a short list of recognizable ingredients, and contain no gluten, corn, soy, eggs, or dairy. Rich in protein, fiber (more than whole grains), B vitamins, and iron, and a highly sustainable eco-crop, Crunchfuls are a truly innovative, delicious breakfast option. I’m totally impressed.
6. Purely Elizabeth granola.
Purely Elizabeth gluten-free baking mixes caught my eye a while back for their healthful ingredients; now they’re launching a granola line (in May) with the same nutritional focus, featuring artisan grains like quinoa and amaranth, super-seed chia, no refined sugars, and all gluten-free. Tasty flavors I tried were original, cranberry-pecan, and pumpkin fig.
7. Blue Lotus reusable produce and bulk-food bags.
OK, these aren’t technically food, but I fell in love with these bags, which are made of 100% organic cotton, are completely washable, and bridge that critical next step between bringing your own grocery bags but still using tons of those flimsy plastic produce bags. Blue Lotus makes drawstring bags for things like bulk-bean items like beans and rice; mesh bags for foods that need to breathe, like onions and potatoes; leafy green bags that you moisten and stash in your crisper to keep greens fresh; and they even include the tare weight on each bag. Beautiful in more ways than one.
8. Rodelle organic extracts.
These richly flavored baking extracts (vanilla, chocolate, lemon, and almond) now have a certified organic line, and they're developed by a local Colorado company that runs on renewable energy sources. The products are delicious (I use them in my own baking), the new packaging is clean and beautiful, and I love that Rodelle also extends its reach to Uganda (where they source cocoa), partnering with local farmers and the Trees, Water, & People nonprofit to bring safe, clean, energy-efficient stoves (see photo, above) to communities there.
9. Matt’s Munchies fruit leather.
Like me, you’ve probably had fruit snacks that were too sticky, too sweet, or just not satisfying. Matt’s Munchies (which maker Chef Roberts named after his son) has cracked the fruit snack code with lush, organic mango and banana purees, which they blend with spices into flavors like Island Mango, Ginger Spice, Choco-Nana, Chili Chocolate, and more. I don’t know how they got the texture so good, but I love ‘em, and each serving is less than 100 calories of certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher yumminess.
10. Udi’s gluten-free buns.
Udi's has made me and my GF son happy all over again with their new hamburger and hot-dog buns -- the most requested items from their gluten-free eaters. I tried them at Expo and they’re terrific; good texture and taste, and they hold up to fillings. Look for them in stores in May.
From the newest superfruit to surprising cereals to spicy artisan honey made by a 13-year-old, these ten new food products at Expo West 2011 rose to the top of our food-find list for innovation and good taste.
I am saying just bravo from Paris!
Glad to have met you. Money, honey.