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Hunting Down the Newest Products at the Americas Food & Beverage Show

Finding the latest, greatest, newest goods at the 12th Americas Food & Beverage Show Tuesday wasn't all that difficult--and it would've been really easy if I was on the hunt for an energy drink or liquid sexual enhancer. It seemed as if every tenth booth had some scantily clad chick manning it, handing out cups of fluorescent beverages. But a buyer certainly could have found some other interesting stuff taking a journey through Hall C at the Miami Beach Convention Center. 

It didn't take long for me to get suckered into taking not one, not two, but three swigs of Dolce Shot, a new product manufactured in Miami and promising to give me energy. The flavors all tasted like the Kool-Aid we used to drink as kids when we convinced mom to only add half the recommended amount of water. I took all of about two minutes before I felt its effects and I was off and running.

But by the time I saw the fifth booth hawking the promise of Energizer

Bunny stamina, I decided to focus on other categories. However,

something about Slow Cow

got my attention. Maybe it was the marketing presentation, showing one

of those skinny silver cans with acupuncture needles sticking out of


"Lemme guess. Another energy drink," I haughtily said to the two thin girls in the booth.

"Actually, it's the opposite," the brunette one responded. "Slow Cow is made to slow you down." Upon closer inspection, I noticed the bovine on the can was in repose. Hmm. And the ingredient list contained linden (a sedative), chamomile (that stuff you drink in tea form that leads to relaxation), and valerian, an herb that ensures a good snooze. I shoved a can in my purse for later. No use killing my Dolce Shot buzz now. 

Maybe I should put something substantial in my stomach, I thought. So I headed over to a booth with Chunky Dips, a new product from Australia, and tried a few samples. My favorite was the Beetroot flavor with cashew and parmesan, though I can't imagine the U.S. market will be quick to adopt a beet-flavored spread. Can you imagine the joshing you'd get from your buddies if you served that pink stuff on mini toasts during your Super Bowl party? Yikes.

Now Marky's had something that would really impress guests: Karat Caviar. Now in its second year of production, this stuff, explained sales director Moshe Cohen, is 100% Russian Osetra, but it's farmed in Galilee. I'm not much of a caviar connoisseur, but I can tell you this Israeli caviar is about 30% less expensive than that produced in Russia and it tastes lighter and nuttier. 

One thing the caviar didn't need was salt, but I still investigated Indigo Grinds, another Australian product. Packed inside refillable grinders are solar-dried sea salts mixed with various seeds, peppercorns, herbs, and dried fruits. And I couldn't help taking a photo of Kasoli Corporation's Brazilian tiger fish fillet display. I've never tasted the species, but the skins sure were pretty.

Now I was really thirsty, so I stopped by The NecessiTeas to try their Root Beer Float flavored tea (pretty close to the real thing, I have to say), and I took home samples of Strawberry Cheesecake, Carrot Cake, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I swear, if these teas do the trick, I'll lose weight in no time... 

...but only if I can stay away from the booze. Florida Orange Groves & Winery has two new flavors out: Banana and Kiwi. And I couldn't resist trying Frostshot, frozen liquor shots in aluminum sleeves. Yum. Available in Caribbean Passion, Cherry Bomb, Extreme Lime, Tropical Explosion, and Wild Berry Blast, these "popsicles" sold in four-packs could really make a tailgate fun. Local guys are behind Frostshot, too, so they shouldn't be too hard to find.

After seeing aisles upon aisles of cereal, meat, and snack foods (nothing new there), and swilling a few samples of Fresh Start's mauby and sorrel drinks (What can I say? I'm a sucker for the unfamiliar.), my brain told me it was finally time to go. Though, strangely enough, my heart rate was telling me I could do it all over again in seconds flat. Well, there's always next year.

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Riki Altman