While many may have spent June 7th enjoying a warm Sunday with a day in the park, perhaps a late brunch, and a quiet close to the weekend, the deli industry was all abuzz with one of its largest shows of the year.
The 2015 IDDBA kicked off at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) with out-the-door lines of attendees, exhibitors, and retailers as everyone waited to gain entry to the collection of bakers, cheese makers, meat producers, and everything else deli from all over.
The first thing to strike you at IDDBA is the organized chaos of it all - colorful, dynamic, and bustling displays hit you in a way that comes just short of overwhelming.
The next is the sheer size of the GWCC. Hundreds of ehibits from all sides of the industry are gathered in one expansive room. After two hours of exploring, meeting, and sampling we had not even covered half of the square footage of the building. I still don't know that I saw everything there was to see or tasted everything there was to taste during the three day long show.
Speaking of taste, if there is one thing to impress upon anyone who has not yet had the IDDBA experience it is to skip breakfast.
There are so many breads, cheeses, meats and other snacks that skipping your first two meals of the day is almost essential. And everyone exhibiting is happy to make sure you don't regret it.
Culinary Chefs from Chopped and other Food Network programs, as well as local up-and-coming chefs from the area, used ingredients from several different exhibitors to create delicious samples as retailers and attendees browsed, among them representatives of chains like Raley's and H-E-B. Other events included a cake decorating competition and educational sessions on current new products, marketing ideas, and consumer trends.
On the note of sharing, a resonating signature of the deli world was the camaraderie of the exhibitors in the aisles. It was not unusual to see representatives of companies sampling each other's offerings and giving commendation, enjoying jokes, and swapping stories of how they got into their businesses.
A couple of companies even paired their items, finding combinations that showcased flavors from both, such as the jelly of one company adding their product with the cheese of another, or the cheese of one adding to the bread of another. It was a friendly and open atmosphere that helped to create a fun and dynamic show, as well as networking opportunities for those in attendance.
To share everything from this year's IDDBA would mean to keep you reading for hours. Suffice it to say that the trip across the country was worth it, and I look forward to next year's show in Houston, Texas.