I took time from my walk today to go to the HX 2015 Expo, formerly the International Hotel/Motel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. I visit the show every year for my profession in the Hospitality field. Even though the organizers of the show said that it has changed its focus, I thought the show was smaller than it was last year and is about the third of the size it once was back in 2004 and 2005. Things have changed so much in our field since 9/11 and the financial meltdown in 2008 and are slowly picking up in our field. I spent the afternoon walking the aisles of bedding, equipment, furniture, inventory data and latest computer programs for the Hospitality field. The show has become a lot smaller when they no longer had food vendors come to the show, which at this show were the busiest vendors. I was able to see the whole show and talk to various vendors in two hours.
Two vendors that stood out to me were Sagra Specialty Equipment & Foods and Sparkling Ice Mountain Spring water drinks. Sagra had the most interesting display of a custom made chocolate fountain that looked like tiers of gravy boats descending down the flow of melted chocolate. The product was called the Cascade Fountain and the presentation was unusual and beautiful at the same time. It was also very easy to clean as all the parts come off and you put them through a wash rather than clean a whole machine in the traditional chocolate fountains.
The Cascade Fountain glittered against the lights and its presentation with the layers of gravy boats created a conversation piece to all the patrons attending the show. Everyone agreed it was an unusual product. The taste of the chocolate was excellent as well as they have their own line of flavors in dark, milk and white chocolate and a caramel sauce as well. The product is designed to work in all chocolate fountains, no oil needed, have a microwave bag and pour in or melt in the fountain basin. The product is gluten free and made in the Belgian-style with imported cocoa beans.
Two other products that Sagra was displaying was their Lollywaffle maker, which looked like a long waffle on a stick. It made a widely talked about impression on the patrons at the booth and make a great presentation to future customers. The demo person was sampling from another machine, the Lollywaffle bites, which were waffle ‘doughnut holes’. Small little round bites placed on sticks that were dipped in the chocolate and handed to us cause some pushing by the people at the stand. It really was the power of their product. Their waffle flavors come in Belgium, red velvet, chocolate, cinnamon bun, pizza on a stick and waffle dog. If the waffle dog had been sampled, there would have been a bigger line at their booth.
The other vendor that stood out was Sparking ICE, a naturally flavored sparking Mountain Spring Water. Their product was delicious. Sparkling ICE combines mountain spring water, natural flavors, fruit juice, vitamins and antioxidants to create a great tasting, zero calorie to make a refreshing sparkling beverage. The two flavors that I sampled were the Orange Mango and the Pink Grapefruit, which were both refreshing and flavorful. The product is currently only available in supermarkets but the company wants to expand into the hotel industry. It is a drink worth trying.
I still think that the show should bring back more food related merchants that are trying to crack into the hotel industry. It might bring a bigger crowd back to the show.