We didn't expect our Thursday afternoon to involve eating spoonful after spoonful of dip... but, we're definitely not mad about it either. Where did we eat all this dip you ask? We headed to the From The Ground Up Trade Show and tried all of the newest, tastiest treats available from B.C.’s makers.
The event is geared towards industry folks for a bunch of emerging food and beverage brands—in other words, this is where brands reveal their newest products, and distributors come to say "Let's get this on the shelves ASAP!" We were lucky enough to snag an invite, so we can tell you about all of the new and delish fare that's now available locally. Read on for our faves.
1. Chef Pieter’s Dips
Chef Pieter’s artisan cheese dips are savoury, spreadable and well, full of cheese. Their flagship flavour is oven-dried tomato, goat cheese and chipotle but our personal favourite was the smoked gouda and jalapeno. It’s spicy, smoky and has an acidic bite from the lime and vinegar. We can’t wait to try it as a spread on a next-level grilled cheese ‘wich or even as a dip on future beach days.
2. Plantastic Dairy-Free Desserts
Plantastic’s rep told us that 59 percent of Canadians are lactose intolerant—and even more choose to not eat dairy for ethical reasons. Their dairy-free cheesecakes are made from coconut milk so they’re super creamy. Sweetened with agave (and dates in the crust), they’re not too sweet and allow the natural coconut flavour to sing. Our fave is by far the lemon version, which has the perfect tartness.
3. Oomé Smoked Tofu
Oomé’s smoked tofu is crazy flavourful and puts to rest any argument that tofu is bland. Ready to eat right out of the package and made with natural wood smoke, their tofu is a solid addition to any quick meal. We’re big fans of the maple soy, but Oomé’s Greek flavour makes for a killer feta substitute in any Mediterranean-inspired meal.
Where to buy: Vegan Supply, The Juice Truck, Larry’s Market
4. Rick’s Real Foods
Rick’s Real Foods may be known for their punchy rubs (pro tip: try Rick’s Rub Heat in sour cream for a quick party dip) but their new crispy coaters won our hearts. They're meant to replace your usual panko coating but they're made with Rick’s rubs, so they have a bunch of seasoning built in. No bland breading here. Available in original, Tuscan and seafood they supply the ideal crunch ratio for anything you deem coat-able. We tried it on chicken and it was restaurant-level tasty—but it would be equally as good on veggies (think zucchini sticks or crispy mushrooms).
5. Emkao Foods
Ayissi Nyemba was already on our radar—her company Emkao Foods is one of sister-mag Western Living's Foodies of the Year. Emkao is B.C.’s first single source, traceable and sustainable chocolate purveyor. The cocoa ingredients are made from organic beans imported from Nyemba’s family farm but here’s the kicker: it’s crazy delicious. We tried vegan chocolate and a vegan hot chocolate drink that were super creamy and rich with a strong chocolate flavour that had us asking “have we ever had real chocolate before today?”
6. Kyth and Kyn
Kyth and Kin makes tea blends that are rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Their goal is to eliminate language and culture barriers around TCM all while providing tasty teas for you to consume daily. Our favourite was the digest blend which is meant to help ease your stomach after a big meal. Made with ginger root, peppermint and dried tangerine peel, the flavour is light but soothing. All of their teas are pesticide free and verified by TCM doctors.
7. Ms. Lee’s Natural Foods
Ms. Lee makes killer kimchi that is naturally fermented (and therefore full of probiotics). Made without added sugar, fish-sauce or artificial flavours—this vegan kimchi might just be the best we’ve had. Their new cucumber kimchi has the ideal level of crunch while still soaking up all the spicy, bright flavours. We can’t wait to try it on an at-home poke bowl.
8. Living Tree Foods
If you’ve ordered a bagel with vegan schmear from Siegal’s or Rosemary Rocksalt then you’ve had Living Tree Foods’ delicious vegan cream cheese. This cashew-based cream cheese is cultured and boldly flavour-forward with a very spreadable texture. Their newest addition is the hot tropic cream cheese which is made with lime, mango, pineapple and red pepper. It starts off sweet but lingers with a spicy bite. We think this flavour would make a killer spread for a burger.