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Adventures at the International Food Show

By Sean Coffey | November 7 , 2006

Sean Coffey
Kid Reporter Sean Coffey visits Sial, the international food show held in Paris, France. (Photo: Courtesy Sean Coffey)

November 7, 2006

Paris, France—I am standing in the middle of one of the seven massive halls at an international food show called Sial. As far as my eyes can see there are hallways jammed with people checking out foods from all over the world. On my left there are potato chips from Cyprus. A little further up the aisle there is ice cream from Estonia. In all there are more than 5,200 exhibitors from 99 countries, showcasing their delicacies to almost 140,000 visitors.

"In just four hours I was able to identify key trends in the industry," said Mr. M. Antilla, general secretary of the Finnish Chef Association. "Coming to Sial is quite simply a must." 

People in the food business come to the show hoping to expand the sales of their products or to put a new product on the market. I was there with my grandfather, who is an importer and exporter of food products. I was one of the few kids attending, and did my best to make a good impression by wearing a suit and tie.

Part of the adventure was tasting food samples, which were available at almost every booth. I am usually on the picky side when it comes to food—don't even think about trying to persuade me to eat broccoli—but I tried to be open-minded.

I drank a cup of a bittersweet green liquid which turned out to be cactus juice from Mexico. It was actually pretty good! I also tried teriyaki chicken from China, chewing gum from Ethiopia—and couldn't resist the Slushee from South Africa. I was at Sial for seven hours a day for three days, which was enough time to try food from all over the planet.

A few of the companies I visited stood out. Numi Organic Tea, owned by Amhed Rahim, uses all natural ingredients. Based in Oakland, California, this company has a delicious chai tea that smells great—and I don't even like tea! Another company, Stirrings, has a line of beverages and one of the best and most refreshing ginger ales I ever tasted. The company was started by Bill Creelman in 1997, and is based in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Finally, Lt. Blender's Frozen Concoctions has a new drink called Slush Rush, which comes in a pouch and is like a slushee. They plan to come out with new flavors soon. To prepare, you add warm water into a hole in the bag and freeze for 3-4 hours. They are delicious!

I will never forget the experiences I had in Sial and in France. I consider it a great privilege to have been fortunate enough to report on one of the biggest things that happens in France. I had the time of my life. 

About the Author

Sean Coffey is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

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