Little luxuries star at Paris food fair

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A teardrop of salt, a whisper of saffron, a drizzle of lobster: luxury in small doses was the keynote at a giant food industry fair outside Paris this week.

Out with mustard cubes and marshmallow fluff: simplicity and taste were the common thread among the 19 products to receive a special innovation prize, whittled from a shortlist of about 400 at this year’s SIAL fair.

But simple need not mean predictable, with flavour coming in sprays, as tiny grains to roll on the tongue or as bite-sized mouthfuls.

“The global trends are ‘pleasure, health, practicality’,” summed up Xavier Terlet, analyst and consultant for the international food fair, which wraps up Thursday.

“In times of crisis, with the focus back on basics and centred on the home, what works best are goodies for sharing. Not the nasty, cheapest option, but little, unassuming luxuries.”

Examples could be a lobster oil, made by the last remaining canning plant on the Brittany island of Groix — which conjures up the luxurious flavour from grapeseed oil and crustacean carcasses.

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