AUSTRALIA'S food industry is well known for its support of organic and sustainable farming and produce. It has even launched a new certification - the Australian Sustainable Products (ASP) Certified Standard, where the use of crop rotation and a mix of nutrient-rich compost ensures that the soil is kept healthy and fertile.
Some of the new products soon to be launched in Singapore are green beans, oats, and wheat flour by the Wholegrain Milling Company.
Other products to look out for are from The Right Food Group - a certified organic food developer from Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales. They will soon launch their gluten-free mayonnaise here, made with free-range eggs, as well as a selection of noodles made with organically grown wheat, in flavours such as charcoal, beetroot, and spirulina.
Lactose-intolerant ice cream lovers won't have to bypass the frozen section in a supermarket, when CocoFrio's dairy-free and gluten-free ice creams come to town.
Made in Melbourne by two health professionals, it's made from a coconut milk base sweetened with brown rice malt syrup. The taste is almost as good as what we're used to, except of course it has a strong but pleasant coconut flavour. There are 10 different flavours including mango, chocolate coconut, and salted caramel. As an indication of the cost, it's priced at A$7 (S$7.35) in Australia for a 500ml tub.
FROZEN sushi sounds like a big no-no, but it's hard to resist these miniature pops of colour on a platter. Bite-sized Temari sushi were apparently first made for the geisha of Kyoto, who couldn't open their mouths wide for fear of ruining their dainty mien.
Mishima Foods has repackaged the dish into party finger food for a new generation. Using "proton freezing," these rice balls can be defrosted without special equipment, and even variants with fish such as marinated kisu or soaked sayori pass muster upon tasting.
YOU'VE heard of single origin coffee, and maybe even single origin chocolate bars, but what about single origin olive oil? Chateau d'Estoublon from France produces a range of high-end olive oils, including those of single varietals such as Beruguette and Picholine (these retail for over S$70 for 500ml at Culina in Singapore).
While their products have been available in Singapore for a while, they have recently added some new items - extra virgin olive oil infused with fresh fruit and herbs for two to four days. Flavours include basil which works as a salad dressing, lemon (for fish), and thyme (for meats).
Another product to look out for at Culina is flavoured butter by Beillevaire. They will be bringing in four different kinds - a lemon, seaweed, smoked paprika, and espelette pepper.
What's interesting is that these are all made in France using raw butter, which means the milk is unpasteurised, and unhomogenised. Some suggestions are to melt some lemon or seaweed butter on top of a baked fish, and the smoked paprika and espelette pepper on a grilled steak. The butters will likely be retailed at about S$10 for 125g, and future flavours to look out for are a crushed black pepper and truffle.
SALTY SWEET TREATS
BY now you may have heard of Japanese "water cakes" - clear jelly-like desserts - that are making waves around the world. In the next few weeks, you might be able to get something similar here in Singapore too.
The Notono Salt Jellies - individually-packed (80g each) clear jellies, shaped like cute sea creatures - come from Noto in Japan. They are flavoured with regional sea salt, and other ingredients include sugar, skimmed milk powder, and gelling agents. Prices are not confirmed yet, but word is you'll soon find them at Ippin Cafe Bar at Mohamed Sultan Road.
Food fads aside, look to Yamadaya of Niigata, Japan for products steeped in tradition. This fifth-generation soya sauce brewery carries amazake - a non-alcoholic, fermented rice drink made from just glutinous rice, koji, and water.
The savoury-sweet concoction can be drunk on its own (good for that glowing complexion, we hear), or used in simple marinades. As with their soya sauces and miso, the amazake is handmade and bottled by all nine of their employees. Items now available at all Sakuraya outlets and Sake Inn in Tampines Central.
EIGASHIMA Shuzo is known for its Akashi whiskies, but check out its umeshu and sake too.
This ninth-generation distillery with over 300 years of history also produces its own red wines from Koshu grapes in the Yamanashi prefecture, which it blends with umeshu to create a tart, fruity and refreshing tipple (from S$28.50).
Try also its brandy and whisky umeshu, or its Kamitaka Daiginjo (S$78 for 720ml), a delicate, tasty sake with hints of fennel and spice. Products currently available at online store www.newcastle.com.sg, with future plans to launch in hypermarts and Japanese restaurants.
Ice wines make popular digestifs, but try switching it up with Canadian ice ciders. These boomed a decade ago on home turf, and boutique wineries are now looking to bring it overseas.
The family-owned Grand Pre Wines (from Nova Scotia) makes their version of this nectar from five varieties of apples comprising Russet, Cox's Orange, Ribston, Cortland and McIntosh. The result? Tart, citrusy liquid amber with notes of tropical fruit, and sweet preserves at the finish. They also offer an apple cream liqueur that's good with espresso.
For those who love their bubbly, there's now a new way to appreciate champagne - Aime Cartier's Ratafia de Champagne might just be the next glamorous beverage trend in Asia.
Not to be confused with rustic Mediterranean variants which are brewed from a hodgepodge of fruits and herbs, this liqueur is made from fully-ripened Champagne grapes, with complex dried fruit flavours. Take it with champagne as a chaser - it amps up the bubbly's fruitier notes.
NOT content to lose out to European culinary rivals such as Italy and France, Hungarian Trading House Singapore has launched a new line of gourmet products under the Hungarian Heritage brand, which plays to the nation's specialties with items such as canned goose liver, and an assortment of dips and sauces showcasing the region's truffles.
If negotiations go well, you may soon get a taste of their Acacia honey and Tokaji jelly - both come subtly flavoured with black truffles. Look out also for the Terfezia Truffle Chocolate Delight, which actually features the sand truffle - a sweet variety almost exclusive to the Carpathian Basin.
FOODWISE, Cyprus is probably best known for its Halloumi cheese, but family-owned Mellona brings more to the table with a range of raw honey spreads from its own beekeeping workshop.
The unpasteurised honey (from the blossoms of wild lavender, citrus and rapeseed) makes smooth, creamy treats which come mixed with ground nuts or even carob syrup (right), a regional specialty also known as Cyprus's "black gold". Mellona also retails its own concoction of this chocolate-like sauce that's great with pastries, yoghurt, or ice cream.
From Cyprus's better known culinary neighbour, Italy, comes Casa Rinaldi, a manufacturer better known for its traditional Modena balsamic vinegars and Terra di Bari extra virgin olive oil.
It has repackaged its vinegar into tins of little pearls resembling caviar, so homecooks can add a touch of molecular-gastronomic flair to their plates. The company also offers a new range of soft nougats which won't chip a tooth. Products will be available in May at a gourmet web store by local representative Gustoso (www.gustoso.com.sg), with plans to roll them out in retail outlets.
This article was first published on April 23, 2016.
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