Saturday, May 20, 2023

Sial Canada Show 2023

 The Sial Canada Show returned to Toronto after a few years of online and only Montreal shows.  They are Montreal Based. It returned to the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place from May 9 to 11, 2023.

Noteable were the Montreal Celebrity Chefs in attendance with products and demos such as Chuck Hughes, Stefano Faita and Michele Forgione.  The lone Torontonian was the eclectic Matty Matheson who is also involved in the show The Bear.

I haven't been to the show for a few years so there were a few notable differences.  

The one thing I noticed was that the show seemed smaller this time.  The one thing that was the same was the amount of cheese vendors because of the Cheese Competition.  I couldn't try all the cheeses unfortunately,  there were 3 rows of them.  That's a lot of cheese.

The presentations seemed to be set up differently.  There was a cuisine stage and an area for the cheese pairings but I didn't see the speakers stages.

I got there around 11 and went through the whole show by 1:30 which is pretty fast for the size of the show.

The reason it was faster was that we decided to only try a couple of cheeses.  We have seen most of them already at different shows and we were looking to sample new things.

This show is catered to food distributors more than food bloggers.  We did feel the lack of interest from some of the vendors.  We were there to sample new things and share the things we liked that will be coming to restaurants and grocery stores in the future.

I was quite surprised at home many of the vendors had booths with just a display of packaged products without samples.  The other noticeable thing was that there were many vendors who were on their phones and seemingly ignoring attendees walking by the booths.   

I understand that they are only interested in sales but we could find a product we love and share it with someone that is in the position to purchase that product.   This is not a reflection of the event organizers.  It was organized well.

What I noticed were the dominating products were:

  • Rice and grains
  • cured hams
  • Olives and Olive Oil
  • Pickled products
  • snack foods
  • sauces
  • functional beverages
We didn't try many samples but most of what we tried was very good.

Favourite samples of the day:

  • Matty Matheson's Brisket sliders with his special sauces
  • Stephano Faita's penne with his vodka pasta sauce
  • Bison Tacos, my friend said she didn't like gamey meat and liked it.
  • Milzu Hemp Crunch in Grilled Paprika.  they were round crunchy snack balls, healthier than chips.  One of the innovation award choices.
  • Long Chips in Bacon flavour - long flat chip strips with perforated sections.
  • The Bio Safe- Sour Cherry Mixology.  - It tastes like a fresh sour cherry drink.
  • Siciliana sodas in Lemon and Blood orange- I went back for more because it was so refreshing and not too sweet.
  • Chocolate covered everything fruits and nuts.  I tried the chocolate covered strawberries and it was so flavorful.

We didn't get to try the Sial Innovation Award winners but we did get a sample of the aluminum bottle.

Here are the 2023 Winners:

Gold medal: MILLENNIA TEA INC for their FROZEN SUPERFOOD TEA, a raw organic tea made
from camellia sinensis with flash freezing preserving nutrients. (

Silver medal: LOC INDUSTRIES INC. for their PLANT-BASED EGG SUBSTITUTES (WHITE, YOLK, WHOLE) from Yumgo by Alternative Kitchen, a plant-based range of allergen-free powdered egg substitutes. (

Bronze medal: LA PRESSERIE for their COLD PRESSED COCKTAIL MIXERS, a frozen mocktail base with cold-pressed ingredients. (

Own the change - Special award: KINGSTON ALUMINUM TECHNOLOGY INC. (KAT) for their
SHAPED ALUMINUM BOTTLES for beverages using less aluminum. (

And the winners in the Olive Oil Competition were:

Here are the 2023 winners per category:

  • Aromatic flavour winner: Basil Fused EVOO by Sarafino - Famiglia Pata (Italy)
  • Ripe Fruity winner: San Bartolomeo by Soc. Coop. Agr. San Bartolomeo (Italy)
  • Intense fruit flavour winner: MonoCultivar Coratina Bio Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Monini SpA (Italy)
  • Medium fruit flavor winner: Pago FG Picual by Hacienda La Serrata, S.L. (Spain)
  • Light fruit flavor winner: MonoCultivar Frantoio Bio Extra Virgin Olive Oil by Monini SpA (Italy)

Find all the 2023 winners here:

For the Sial Start Up winners per category:

Beverage Category, Souper Troopers claimed the 1st Prize
with their delicious shelf-stable chicken broth in convenient single- serving packaging. 

The Heal Tea secured the 2nd Prize with its
selection of organic, low-carb, plant-based herbal teas in recyclable cans. 

In the Technology or
Service Category, Spatula Foods took home the 1st Prize with their gourmet flash-frozen ready
meals prepared by top local chefs.

What I would like to see at the next show is more panels,  samples of all the innovative products and a seating area in the show to stop and have a drink and get organized.

Some of these products may be available already but more will be coming to your grocery or specialty store or restaurant soon.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

We are Guardians - How to save the planet


Puyr Tembe with her team of Forest Guardians


Directed by Edivan Guajajara, Chelsea Greene, Rob Grobman
Running Time: 82 Minutes

Watching this Hot Docs documentary on a rainy Sunday in Toronto makes you realize how important rain and water are to life.

There is a disconnect between the Amazon rain forest and the people that make decisions as to what will happen with it.  The people making the decisions are not the ones that have to survive in it or from it.

"WE ARE GUARDIANS"  is a complicated look at the layers of political wars going on between different levels of people with a stake in what happens in the Amazon.

This is a lush visually stunning film and at the same time it's brutal in the story of it's destruction.

The Indigenous people of the Amazon are not only fighting for their rights but they are fighting for the survival of their people and the future of the planet.   The destruction of the Amazon not only hurts the people of Brazil it also holds the keys to the effects of Climate change around the world.  The Rainforest is a delicate balance of water, earth, air, trees and animals.  They are all necessary for everyone's survival.

The Politicians look the other way to get votes and money while the Forest is stripped and burned.  The Indigenous people try and fight for their land while illegal loggers find it necessary to do clear the trees and justify their need to feed their families off the land because they have no other way to survive.

Illegal logger Valdir removes trees from an undisclosed Indigenous territory

It's a very sad look deep inside on the ground of the constant battles that go on deep inside the forests. 

The problem is the laws and minds need to change for the land to regenerate and become sustainable in the future.

There is hope though with some of the Indigenous people entering into the world of politics to make the changes from the inside.   The next step would be to change the minds of the Big Farm producers, Paper mills, and Mining operations to work with the people to find a way to make money without destroying the planet.

This is not an Amazon problem it's a World Problem.

If you want to find out more and see if you can help please go to their website:

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Food and Country - Surviving during Covid-19


Directed by Laura Gabbert Producers: Laura Gabbert, Ruth Reichl, Paula P. Manzanedo, Caroline Libresco

Run Time: 99 min.

International Premiere at Hot Docs - May 28, 2023

Just as the Covid-19 pandemic started to shut down the world in March 2020, director Laura Gabbert and famed Food Writer Ruth Reichl got together to tell the stories of the Restaurants that were forced to shut down.

You don't know how important things you have are until they are gone.  

The shut down of the Restaurants had a ripple effect like we have never seen before.   It wasn't just about the fact that you couldn't go to restaurants anymore, it was about the workers who worked in those restaurants that weren't getting paid and how they were going to continue to support themselves.  Then there were the farmers who were not able to sell their products to the restaurant industry to support their farms and families.  The whole supply chain started to crash down like a jenga puzzle.

The new word became PIVOT if the industry was going to get through this pandemic.  Reichl and Gabbert tell the stories of the people that had to think outside the box to survive the changing times.

Reichl speaks to many restauranteurs such as Marcus Samuelsson, celebrity chef and owner of Red Rooster and other restaurants about the loss of his businesses and what he had to do to survive.

Also profiled in the film is Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, Waters pioneered the Farm to table and was acutely aware of the effects on the farm community.

Other restauranteurs featured included,  Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas of Alinea, Reem Assil of Reem's, Brandon Jew of Mr. Jiu's, Minh Phan of Porridge + Puffs.

Farmers featured included: 

  • Will Harris White Oak Pastures
  • Bob and Lee Jones Chef’s Garden
  • Angela Knuth Knuth Farms
  • Bren Smith Greenwave
  • Steve Stratford Stratford Angus
  • Karen Washington Rise and Root Farms  

It's important to hear their stories because without them the rest of the world would not be able to have food and survive the Global shutdown.

Farmers had to change the way they were farming and restauranteurs had to work through take-out and delivery and create grocery packages for their staff and community.  

They all did whatever it took to support and feed people so that everyone could make it through the storm.

This is an important story that everyone should see to know what the impact was on these strong people who wanted to save their communities.

I have a lot of respect for food producers because it's not an easy job.  Long hours and little pay and most of the time people take it for granted that they will be there to do the work for us.

Part of the film was told through Zoom calls due to the travel and other restrictions so it's a very intimate peek as if you are listening in on a call with a friend.  It's a look into the sustainability of food production and the food industry as a whole.

Please see this film, it's filled with empathy, grit and hope which is what the World really needs.