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Do you sometimes get this giddy feeling when you come across something new and unique, knowing that you’re among the firsts to know about it, and you can’t wait to tell people? I get that when I try a new restaurant, or spot a new product at grocery stores. And I just had a moment like this when I attended a food and beverage product trade show at the Indonesian Trade Promotion Centre in Gastown.

Named “A Flavourful Journey to Indonesia”, the purpose of the event was to provide Canadian businesses with a glimpse of the food and beverage products Indonesia offers, thus bringing these products to Canada and making them available at local retail stores. So naturally, many products I saw at this event are not yet available in Canada, but I had the opportunity to sample them and I seriously hope they will be available here soon.

Here are a few that got me really excited:

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On one of the hottest days this summer, with the low hum of an espresso machine in the background, a tanned Italian man named Mario spoke animatedly. This was the setting that transported us to a cafe in Milan as we sipped espresso and discussed Italian style coffee at the Umbria Coffee Roasters’ warehouse in South Vancouver.

With passion and flair, Mario impressed upon us the Italian coffee culture that Umbria represents: an unpretentious experience that simply allows one to enjoy a cup of good quality coffee. He and his colleague Ricardo explained the importance of consistency and balance in the beans, and the science and art behind making a great cup of espresso — the correct ground, the perfect water temperature, the well-timed brew. In addition, the amount of effort their master roaster puts in to blend different beans from across the globe is shockingly similar to what a winemaker does to achieve consistent quality of wine year after year. Mr. and I tasted a variety of their coffee, learned about the philosophy of roasting Italian style coffee, and even had a chance to play barista with their commercial espresso machine.

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Goat curry, fiddlehead Chinese sausage stir-fry, sea asparagus & broccoli microgreens salad, and goat milk yogurt with mint, dried date, pistachio and honey…how’s that for a dinner menu?!

This menu was made possible with an interesting selection of products available at directfood.store, an online grocery platform that provides a digital marketplace for local farms. I recently ordered a delivery, complimentary of the company, and I was intrigued by what they offer. We found unique ingredients such as goat meat, sea asparagus, fiddleheads (no longer available), broccoli microgreens, goat milk yogurt and dried chanterelle. These are not something I see at grocery stores everyday. My shopping list came to be about $50 and they were gathered for our delivery directly from local farms/food producers. There’s no fancy packaging – product(s) from each company was packed separately so we received an assortment of bags and boxes in one delivery.

What We Made

With the ingredients we purchased, here is what we made.

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