Imagine more than 4,000 exhibitors from 120 different countries exhibiting varieties and varieties of food and beverage, all in one place – at the heart of Dubai, Dubai World Trade Center.
In all my seven years in Dubai, I have not checked out the fuss that is Gulfood. Being the Middle East’s biggest food exhibition, this is the time one would really feel that Dubai is a very important business hub. People in the food industry from all over the world come to showcase their products in Dubai. And there are pavilions for each country.
Which pavilion would you visit first? My answer is this picture.
These macarons are actually frozen sweets from the French company Tipiak Traiteur Patissier. So you don’t have to go to the bakery to buy some, these frozen babies are stored in the fridge and defrosted naturally. They were so good, I wouldn’t know the difference from the non-frozen ones!
I was already in the France Pavilion so I roamed around to find more frozen sweets!
This one is from Pomone, a family owned business based in Loire Valley. The exhibitor, Mr. Eric said the apples used in their famous and best selling frozen apple tarts are from his plantation.
It seems that there’s a huge production of frozen desserts in France, however I have yet to see it here in the supermarkets. Have you seen frozen things like this here in Dubai?
You must know this – chocolate lava cake. There is also a frozen version and it tastes just like the freshly baked one after only a minute on the microwave.
Next stop: Monbana Chocolaterie – can you tell I am such a chocoholic? It’s hopeless, I tell you…
This very friendly monseur made us chocolate milkshake.
Ok, enough chocolates. France is also very famous for…what else but CHEESE!
Some of these cheeses are already available here in Dubai like the Roucoulons and Ptit Brie from Fromagerie Milleret but I was drawn to the goat cheeses from Eurial – especially the goat cheese, flavored in honey. I need to find that here, soon. I heard I might find it in Spinneys.
Beverages – there were some interesting ones like this ‘organic’ fruit flavored sodas from La Compagnie Des Boissons Biologiques.
These beverages were easy to drink and carbonated but not overwhelmingly sweet. The exhibitor said, these are manufactured with the young consumers in mind (children) so it 100% natural and organic without any preservatives and chemical ingredients.
Then we found this friendly lad at the Andros booth. Andros is known for fruit processing, dairy products, confectionery and frozen desserts. It’s international brand is Bonne Maman. They also have fruit purees which was used by this lad to make a mocktail for me, with added twist: fresh basil!
One last stop at the French Pavilion: honey.
Ok, some education for me – this is where I knew that not all honeys are created equal. I know some, like the Acacia Honey, Manuka and some others (shame, I couldn’t even remember) but there were interesting others from Nauralim France Miel: Chestnut honey, lavender honey, carrot flower honey, fir tree honey!
That wraps up my trip to Gulfood and because I only had less than 2 hours to go around yesterday, I only visited (and got stuck) at the French Pavilion. There’s a reason this event lasts for 5 days! Last day is tomorrow so if you have time, head on to the Dubai World Trade Center, exhibitions close at 7pm. Nearest Metro Station is World Trade Center on the Red Line.
Going to Gulfood? Here are some tips:
ONE: It’s easy to imagine Gulfood as a place to try out food samples from so many countries (wouldn’t that be awesome) but really, if you go there hungry and expecting lots of samples, you might be disappointed. Gulfood is mainly for business – food suppliers looking to partner with distributors from the UAE to bring their products in the UAE market. So there are a lot of food stands that don’t give away product samples or have food products for taste testing.
TWO: Take the Metro. It’s traffic in and around the World Trade Center so the Metro is your best bet of transportation.
THREE: Don’t wait to leave until 7pm when everybody does! People swarm together toward the Metro station right after the exhibition hall closes at 7pm so it would be best to leave about 5 minutes before. Or else you might need to sit down at the nearest cafe and wait for the deluge to calm down.
FOUR: Bring a friend – it’s always fun to go around with someone and you can discuss the taste, etc or where to go next!
FIVE: Don’t be like me who only allotted 2 hours for my Gulfood visit. Spend the whole day if you can. I would have wanted to check out the Asian countries pavilion!
Don’t forget: LAST DAY of Gulfood 2014 is on 27th February 2014!