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Dave's Fiery Front Page

Exploring the World of Spice and Smoke
Tags >> business trends

Which pairs best with soft cheeses like brie and camembert: red or white wine? What about harder, more mature cheeses such as cheddar and parmesan? Which cheeses will please those who prefer a beer or cocktail to wine?

Now it's fast and easy for you to find drink matches for 219 cheeses, plus thousands  more pairings for appetizers, main courses and dessert in this comprehensive food and drink mobile application. The new Drinks Matcher from Nat Decants is available now for your smartphone. It's like having a personal sommelier and a bartender at your side. Natalie MacLean, creator of Nat Decants, the wine web site here, has teamed up with the software developer bitHeads to create an application that works on your iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Curve.

"Wine and cheese is a classic for fall and holiday entertaining: delicious and simple to prepare," MacLean explains. "But we're all busy during the holiday season, so we don't have time to spend researching information online. We want to do a quick search while we browse in the liquor store, do our Christmas shopping or order from a restaurant menu."

You just choose a match on your mobile device and then you can find the top drink picks either in your local liquor store or on the restaurant menu. Unlike MacLean's popular pairing widget on her web site, this new tool doesn't require a connection to the Internet and so can be used in remote locations.

For quite a while I've wanted to offer manufacturers of spicy and BBQ products a way to test to see if their new products can compete successfully in the Scovie Awards and in the marketplace, but I didn't really have the time to devote to the project.  To the rescue comes James Beck of Houston, who has launched a site devoted to that very subject.  James, a hard-working young entrepreneur who was formerly a business and financial consultant, has decided to focus his life on the fiery foods and barbecue industries--sounds like me 25 years ago!  So we have teamed up for New Product Reviews, a for-now free service that judges the latest products according to the same criteria as the Scovie Awards, and James will publish the results on his EatMoreEat.com site. Welcome aboard, James!

Ed  Avalos, currently marketing director of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, has been nominated by President Obama as Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Ed has 34 years experience in agriculture marketing including the on-going 12-state green chile pepper promotion which yearly generates over $26 million in retail sales.  I helped Ed, along with El Pinto Restaurant and Salsa, create the World's Largest Chile Ristra that was displayed last year at the New Mexico State Fair.  In the international arena, Ed has worked in Mexico, Japan, China, Canada, and Latin America.  In the 1990's, pecans were exported to Japan and the Pacific Rim and most recently, the marketing team successfully established a pecan market in China.  The SuperSite congratulates Ed on his continuing success in promoting New Mexico agricultural products.

Sweden Embraces BBQ

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

by Paul Schatte

Head Country Food Products and the BBQ and Chili Company of Stockholm, Sweden have been doing business together for two years. Last April, as general manager of Head Country Food Products, I was invited to Sweden by Jonas and Robert Lundin, owners of the BBQ and Chili Co. The purpose of the trip was for me to share my knowledge of barbecuing.  For several days I shared my expertise with restaurant and grocery store owners, as well as magazine and newspaper personnel.  I prepared several of Head Country's specialty items like bar-b-q brisket and ribs.

One of the restaurant groups in attendance was O'Leary's Sports Bar that operates more than 40 sports bars in Sweden. From that event and follow-up meetings by the Lundins, the O'Leary's restaurant menus will be featuring several flavors of Head Country Bar-B-Q sauce and smoked meats from the BBQ and Chili Company.

The highlight of the five-day trip for me was being asked to be guest Chef at Melker Andersonn's four-star restaurant, The Grille, in downtown Stockholm.  Melker Andersonn is a respected Michelin Chef in Europe and he asked me to prepare some of his favorite barbecue items. "The Grille Plate" featured brisket, pork shoulder and homemade sausage prepared by me. More than 125 Grille plates were sold that evening.

Our company has been selling BBQ sauce off and on in Germany for the past ten years, exporting private label sauce to Canada and are in the beginning stages of a larger scale growth in Canada as well."

Originally published in The Ponca City News, Ponca City, Oklahoma.  Used with permission.


More than 16,000 buyers jammed San Francisco's Moscone Center in mid-January to taste new food products from all over the U.S. and three dozen nations around the world at the Fancy Food Show.  "Despite near-historic economic challenges, our industry is showing resilience," noted Ann Daw, president of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, the show's owner. "Consumers are eating at home more, and they are purchasing specialty items to liven up their meals."
The sold-out National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show supports Daw's theory and from my observations, business is still strong in our sector. Harald Zoschke, owner of Germany's largest online hot shop, Pepperworld.com, agrees, and notes: "January 2009 orders are up 50% from 2008 at the Pepperworld Hot Shop."
One of the more interesting displays at the Fancy Food Show continued the competition of who has the hottest hot sauce.  Dave's Gourmet introduced "Ghost Pepper" Jolokia Private Reserve, which Dave Hirschkop is calling the



world's hottest sauce. It's hand signed by Dave, numbered, vintage dated, and laid to rest in a wooden coffin wrapped in caution tape. A 5-ounce bottles are available for $35 each.


Blair Lazar, of Blair's Sauces and Snacks, begs to differ and points out that he was first with a Jolokia Pure Death Sauce. The battle rages on.

Many years ago I wrote a novel that was never published called Sidewinders, and in it my hero, a journalist, uncovers a plot to smuggle cocaine into the U.S. in cans of Mexican food products like enchilada sauce.  Well, today in Durham, Ontario police arrested Mahendrapaul Doodnauth (how could I make that name up?) and charged him with smuggling 276 kilos of pure cocaine in 1,250 boxes of Sari hot sauce, which is made in Guyana.  Doodnauth is the owner of Caribbean International Food Distributors.  The cocaine was in plastic bags that were taped to the cardboard inserts that separated the bottles of hot sauce.  Once again, fiction becomes fact!

31 Million Foodies in U.S.

Posted by: Dave DeWitt

According to the new report from Packaged Facts,  31 million foodies, or 14% of the population, are shaping the American palate and offering food manufacturers a willing audience for new product launches.  The report, with a very bulky title, Foodies in the U.S.: Five Cohorts: Foreign/Spicy, Restaurant, Cooks, Gourmet, and Organic/Natural, uses data from Simmons Market Research to segment the overall foodie demographic into the five segments reflected in the title.  Foreign/spicy and restaurant foodies are the two largest foodie groups with approximately 71 percent of all foodies, representing 10% of U.S. adults, or about 22 million people.  It is the foreign/spicy segment that's helping to introduce the next wave of international cuisine to the American palate.  The study examines foodies' demographic characteristics and includes separate chapters on each of the five foodie segments.  For more information on the study, go here--but be forewarned that these kinds of studies are very expensive to purchase.

Contributing editor (and former webmaster) Harald Zoschke and his wife Renate recently visited a huge outdoor fun trade show in Cologne, Germany, SPOGA (sports and garden). Here is his report on the barbecue and grilling aspects of that show.

      It was a HUGE show. The enormous growth of the grilling and barbecuing
biz in Germany was evident by the fact that this sector now occupied its own two-story hall.
      One trend we noticed was that the new generation of gas grills are
becoming bigger, more comfortable and simply "looking sharp,", stuff
to wow consumers' neighbors. Even those manufacturers traditionally offering cheap charcoal grills had complete lines of stainless steel "Rolls Royce" style gas grills.
      Real barbecue smokers are taking off here as well, and there were even innovations in charcoal grills: One unit had motor drives for about a dozen individual kabob skewers to rotate, easy to insert and remove. The bed of coals was easily height adjustable; i.e., when the coals burn down, you could just raise them by turning a knob while fire is on. Various companies showed fuel alternatives to traditional charcoal, briquettes, and fire-starters. Another trend is electrical grills with more of a "real" kettle grill feel to it, rather than a simple heating plate.
     There was a booth with all of Steven Raichlen's books (in various languages), and his ever-increasing line of SR-branded accessories. We met Steven and got his latest book signed. A really nice guy with knowledge of various languages, and definitely a great sense of business.
      Cobb Grill is coming back strongly, with a whole line of grills, add-ons and even a handy little Cobb gas grill! Their booth combined the HQ, Scandinavian and German subsidiaries.
With countless of more or less useful grilling accessories on display at about a hundred or so booths, we sniffed out the newest trends over here and picked up a whole bunch of BBQ related products for our shop.
     To discourage the Far-East trend-sniffing copy-cats, the organizers had
a "No copy" campaign running, and many booths had "no photo" signs to protect their innovations (hence I didn't take many shots).
      Also, we bought ourselves a kick-ass Australian Beefeater gas grill, retiring our ten-year-old Weber.  -Harald Zoschke


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