This Sunday I visited organic food fair Next Organic Berlin which took place in the buildings of old Tempelhof airport. Next Organic is very trend-driven show so if you want to see food/organic megatrends in action, this is the place to visit. The fair presented the latest in Raw Food, Vegan, and organic/sustainable food manufacturing as well as some very interesting regional and glocal (think global, act local:“glocal”) culinary concepts. Add to this a wide range of niche labels and small manufactories and a strong focus on local producers, and you have a very happening trade show indeed.
Tempelhof is a great location, by the way; the airport was built in the early 1920s – it was one of the first civil aviation airports in Europe – and played an important part in the history of Berlin over the next 80-odd years. In 2008 Tempelhof was closed down; the buildings, however, are still in use – for film shoots, trade shows, concerts and all sorts of events. The Tempelhof airfield is accessible to the public and one of Berlin’s best-loved green spaces. Check out the Wikipedia entry on Tempelhof Airport.
But back to the trade show. The culinary topics of this year’s Next Organic show (the first fair took place in 2013) were wine, craft beers, spices and speciality coffees, in addition to the two major themes of Raw and Vegan food.
There were some 150 exhibitors from all areas of the German and international sustainable/organic food/culinary industries, plus 27 vineyards/wine companies which were based in a special wine-tasting area on the first floor of the building. Many of the exhibitors came from Berlin and the surrounding region; there were also plenty of start-ups and small companies.
My favourites here included Frizle Spätzle (for my international readers: “Spätzle” are a type of thin noodles very popular in Southern Germany). Frizle came up with a brilliant idea: they sell organic fresh Spätzle dough in bags that are perforated with Spätzle-sized holes at the bottom. You squeeze the dough through the perforations into a pot of boiling water and three minutes later: great tasting Spätzle noodles!
For this innovative concept the company received a “Best New Product” award at Biofach trade show in Nuremberg this year, and deservedly so. The Frizle product combines several megatrends – organic, hand-made and convenience. Frizle currently have three varieties of Spätzle (plain, wild garlic and chili) and a bag costs around 3 Euro.
Another cool concept came from ChocQlate. The start-up from Munich sells organic chocolate kits so you can make your own bar chocolate at home. The DIY chocolate kits aren’t cheap – they cost at around 30 Euro – but you get all the ingredients (ground cocoa beans, cocoa butter, cocoa powder, agave syrup and vanilla) as well as detailed instructions on how to make the chocolate. Megatrends at work here: hand-made/DIY, creativity, personalization (you can add nuts, raisins or whatever), sustainability (made at home!) and experience (being able to try out something new with minimal fuss).
I also liked Senf-Elfen, a Potsdam-based company that makes marvelous chutneys, mustards and condiments, ice cream manufacturer Eisbox from Berlin’s Moabit neighbourhood (the most amazing tonka bean ice cream and they also have chocolate sorbet!). Collectif Anonyme is a very small wine-growing collective from the Banyuls area of Southern France. They produce some amazing sweet wines, check out their website.
Berlin-based Sun Day Burgers specialize in Vegan and raw food smoothies, burgers and cakes and Blyss Chocolate is a social enterprise chocolate manufacturer from Papua New Guinea – the family-owned company works with local farming communities to create single bean virgin chocolate (i.e. non-roasted chocolate) which has an incredibly smooth and sweet taste.
Throughout the day there were tasting events covering the main culinary topics of the show – Beer & Bread, for example, Raw Food, Regional Wine, Salt vs. Salt (how to recognize good salt), Cocoa Tasting, Slow Coffee Culture, World of Spices – and guided tasting tours (Vegan Tour, Sweets Tour, Regional Highlights, Foodie Tour, Beer Tour and Wine Lover’s Tour) around the exhibitor stands.
A special highlight of the show were the live Vegan and Raw Food cooking demonstrations – fascinating stuff; the organizer had enlisted some well-known chefs indeed, including Björn Moschinski, one of the most famous Vegan chefs in Germany, and Raw Food specialist Boris Lauser.
Altogether a tremendously interesting and very well-organised trade show. I’m looking forward to Next Organic Berlin 2015.