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Unique Food, a Growing Market

Unique Food, a Growing Market

From Canada to Italy, world companies are specialising in offering rare and precious products: from sea urchin bottarga to aphid honey, just to name a few.

By FDL on

It's a classic honey-pot, yet it's anything but classic. Rather than relying in bees, you must count on aphids. They are the ones that suck the sap off the lime wood and digest it in the Hautes-Laurentides mountains, Sud-Ovest of Quebec, Canada. An army of ants has the task of "milking" the aphids that release the molasses on the tree's branches and leaves. Only at this point, you need the apes. They will come attracted by the sweet nettar and give it a finish: they will make the rarest honey in all of North America. The Société-Original will put it on the market for 21 dollars and the price will triple by the time it reaches the final consumer.

The Canadian company, founded just over a year ago, specializes in offering sophisticated food products. Refined and unique products, unknown to most and underestimated: Gran cru maple syrup, extracted from centennial maple wood, sea urchin bottarga, lychees tomato and flour from grains gone into extinction, found again thanks to a see bank (part of the R&D program of the company). Companies that specialize in these type of products are going big and following the global foodie movement.

In countries such as Italy, considered a “gastrosociety”, every citizen is a potential gourmet and these companies have been around for at least ten years. Same as the Longino&Cardenal, founded by four guys about twenty years ago, named after two fictitious characters, very different from each other: a noble Swiss and a Cuban fisherman. Iranian caviar is the starting point of these young guys. They left for every corner of the earth to find the best and most refined products. The payoff is “rare and precious", basically the mission of the company. At the beginning of the 21st century, many companies start hiring important chefs, their company is listed in the stock exchange.

The product range foes from Tzar's oysters to extra virgin olive oil Particella 34 Cru di Pianogrillo, only from a special and ancient variety of grapes, Tonda Iblea, plants that are 800 hundred years old n°34 on the map and n° 76 della of the Modica and Chiaramonte counties, in Sicily, Italy. Clients of companies such as Société-Orignal and Longino&Cardenal are generally important chefs and restaurants. The Canoe, in Toronto, as well as chef Joe Beef in Montreal; Per Se, Del Posto, Eleven Madison Park and Daniel, The Gramercy Tavern, in New York, are among the 150 clients of the Canadian company. More and more, people outside the industry are taking notice of the products and getting used to their taste, even in countries such as Australia where gourmet is not part of the tradition, but producers launched interesting products that border in between Art and Science, based on local resources.

The Maffra Cheese Company elaborates cloth cheddar aged manually, winner of many awards: a woman lawyer left her job to launch Gourmet Union and pack supermarket shelves with jams, chutneys and sauces made from natural local products; the men of Mount Zero Olives hand pick the pink salt from Dimboola’s Pink Lake in western Victoria working with the local community. To work with small local producers is crucial for the trend: a new economic possibility opens up to family businesses, benefits the community, uses local knowledge and traditions, expert gardeners, insect trainers, open air chemistry experts and collectors. Ideal for those who want to enforce unique and particular products more more appreciated by the market. Connecting the small producers with people with money and the culture to appreciate the products: Alex Cruz, one of the two young founders of Société-Original (his partner is Cyril Gonzales) wrote a manifesto promising him and his partner will never be too busy to go visit the local producers they work with.

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