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OCG at Dairy-Deli-Bake

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O C G S h o w D a i l y S u n d a y, Ju n e 5 , 2 0 1 6 2 0 LOACKER STILL GROWING AFTER 90 YEARS An interview with Crystal Black Davis, Deputy to the President and Vice President of Marketing, Loacker. OSD: What kind of company is Loacker? What's the mission? CD: Loacker, founded in 1925, is an Italian confectioner known for our wafer cookies. Our mission is to make people happy with our pure and whole- some natural goodness, everywhere in the world. OSD: Where's it located? What makes it unique? CD: We were founded in Bolzano, Italy, our headquarters is in Unterinn, Italy, and we have an additional production facility in Heinfels, Austria. We're located in the beautiful South Tyrol region, the heart of the Alps, not many other confectioners can boast that. We're also Italy's No. 1 wafer cookie, which definitely makes us unique. OSD: Any new product launches this year? What makes those products stand out? CD: This year we launched our new Cocoa & Milk flavor, a new twist to our popular wafer assortment. This fla- vor features the crispiness consumers have grown accustomed to, with the bold characteristic taste of cocoa paired with our delicate, quality milk cream filling. An original, refined flavor, strong yet delicate at the same time. Cocoa & Milk is available in both Quadratini sizes, 250 grams and 125 grams, as well as our 45 gram and 175 gram Classic Wafers. We also offer two Cocoa & Milk-specific floor displays. OSD: How has Loacker achieved success for 90 years running? CD: Loacker has remained true to the tradition and values of our founder, Alfons Loacker, since 1925. We are uncompromising in ingredient selection and production technologies, we respect the pristine environment which sur- rounds our facilities, and we treat not only our employees, but also our cus- tomers and consumers as if they are also a member of the Loacker family, with respect and care. OSD: The last 90 years considered, what's the future look like? What's next? CD: Expansive growth in the United States. On the trade side, we're bracing ourselves for broader distribution and deeper penetration among our target channels. On the consumer side, using unique and creative touch points to allow individuals to connect and experience our brand on a personal level to develop preference, and ultimately, loyalty. OSD: What's the greatest challenge Loacker and the team has, looking ahead? CD: Ensuring that our domestic organi- zation/operations scales in unison with our distribution growth. For more information, call 212.742.8510, email marketing@loackerusa.com or visit www.loackerusa.com. WIDMER'S AGED BRICK CHEESE AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL Brick cheese is an American original and is among the first washed rind cheeses produced in the U.S. It was developed in 1877 by John Jossi, a Swiss born cheese- maker. As Jossi did, Joe Widmer uses real brick to press his cheese, the same bricks his grandfather used in 1922. After press- ing, the cheese is placed in a salt brine for 11 hours, then moved to a warm, humid curing room where it is washed and turned daily for seven days. It is then packed in parchment paper and foil. It reaches peak flavor at four to five months. This semi-soft cheese has a pleasant, earthy flavor that intensifies with age. Widmer's Aged Brick is also available with caraway seeds. Suggested retail price is $12.99 to $15.99/pound. For more information, call Widmer's Cheese Cellars at 888.878.1107 or visit www.widmerscheese.com. THE VIRGINIA DINER The Virginia Diner has been a refuge for folks who like down-home cooking ever since Mrs. D'Earcy Davis served hot bis- cuits and vegetable soup to hungry cus- tomers way back in 1929. Today, The Virginia Diner's quaint atmosphere has been faithfully preserved and still reflects throughout the restau- rant. Antique peanut vendor roasters and buckets of free peanuts for munching continue to greet guests at the front door, reminiscent of those early days when The Diner began to serve customers peanuts fresh from local fields and prepared in its kitchen instead of after-dinner mints. Today this peanut business has grown into a national and international gourmet mail order business,and The Virginia Diner is rightfully known as "The Peanut Capital of the World."™ Lear more about The Virginia Diner by calling 888.823.4637 or visiting www.vadiner.com DOGS TO BITE INTO By Micah Cheek Debate over hot dog toppings in America can get as vicious as our politics. Eric Mittenthal, new President of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, relishes any opportunity to speak on the subject. "Every region really has its own favorites," says Mittenthal. "I'm a chili guy, I like a chili mustard [hot dog.]" While the traditional lines have been drawn on topping preferences, from New York's onion and mustard standard to California's preference for jalapenos, recent shifts in public opinion are chang- ing the way consumers are topping and eating their wieners from the ballpark to the back yard. One of the most contentious issues in the hot dog community is that of ketchup. Following the Chicago rules of hot dog topping, the NHDSC dictates that ketchup is only allowed as a hot dog condiment if the diner is less than 18 years of age. "When you talk about Chicago, they're very anti-ketchup," says Mittenthal. "They'd probably get mad at you if you asked about it." But while mustard remains the top topping choice for consumers, ketchup is gaining ground. In the NHDSC's most recent polls, 79 percent of Americans said that ketchup was an acceptable condiment for everyone. Steamie Weenie, a hot dog restaurant in Henderson, Nevada, takes the diplomatic route in this debate by put- ting ketchup bottles at the table rather than in the kitchen. "I don't want to be accused of putting it on your hot dog," says Owner/Operator Bob Remington. "We tell [customers] to put it on their fries, and if a little spills onto the hot dog, we won't tell anybody." One cannot have a comprehensive view of the hot dog market without addressing the Chicago Dog. The top- ping-heavy wiener with its "dragged through the garden" variety of vegetable garnishes has spread out from its Midwestern base, appearing on menus nationwide. "You can get a Chicago Dog anywhere, except for maybe New York," says Mittenthal. When Remington was preparing to open Steamie Weenie, he had planned on not serving a Chicago Dog, but had to concede to public pres- sure. "We weren't going to open the restaurant with a Chicago-style dog, because… everyone does one," says Remington. "I can't tell you how many times a day people came up and said, 'You're going to have a Chicago Dog, right?'" Now, Steamie Weenie's Windy City Dog is a top seller. When it comes to sausage, size does matter, and at the retail level, Americans are expressing a preference for bigger bangers. "There is data to suggest that people are turning to sausages a little more," says Mittenthal. "The amount of space in the grocery store for sausage has grown a lot." The growing interest in lighter options like chicken sausages, plus a variety of new flavors available, is putting the issue on the brains and buns of Americans. Remington says that there are some essentials to provide for hot dog cook- outs. "People very much love an all-beef dog," says Remington. "Whether for religious or whatever, [guests] don't want to eat beef, turkey dogs seem to be more popular than chicken dogs. The vegan dogs are great, but they don't hold up to the grill." The addition of at least one other kind of sausage, such as a polish sausage or bratwurst, is also recommended. "For toppings, you've got to have a basic yellow and a spicy brown deli-style mustard. Onion, relish, those are easily purchased," Remington adds. "If you want to expand on it a bit, bacon bits and cheese. Once people commit to a hot dog, they're not worried about caloric intake." Remington has noticed one obscure hot dog style from the northwest has been making its way into more general inter- est. "A Seattle Dog typically has cream cheese and grilled onion – people like that," says Remington. He has noticed an increase in interest in the Seattle dog, and in cream cheese as a topping in general. "When you're going through the hot dog history books, you don't see it much in there, but it's pretty popular going for- ward." Mittenthal adds that as the trend towards spicier food catches on, spicy hot dogs and fiery jalapeno toppings are gaining popularity. With these and other new flavors and conventions shaking up the hot dog world, enthusiasm for this American classic shows no sign of slow- ing. "Hot dogs are just really a great can- vas for someone to create their own art with," says Remington. There's only one right way to eat a hot dog, and that's with a smile."

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