Food Mule

The “Food Mule” returns from the last Salon de Gourmets Food Show in Spain.


We’ve been flat-out at Food International redesigning our website – we want it to inform and entertain you – make it fizz with fun and info so you want to check in with us again and again. 

And, of course, we want to convince you to try our wonderful products from your local supermarket and if you don’t find them there, we depend on you to make a real song and a dance until they reach your corner of New Zealand.

I’ll soon be taking off with Adel to the Salon de Gourmets Food Show in Madrid, Spain. We’ve both been to these vibrant, snazzy expos before and  Adel gets really excited about all the new products he’ll be bringing back home to sell. 

Leaving the first signs of the winter behind here for warmer weather, combined with the possibility of serious shoe shopping (Manolo Blahnik, anyone?), I’m the subject of serious envy from my friends. 

I really enjoy travelling with Adel but there is one weighty problem – the samples we have to bring back. I long to travel lightly, but instead I’m like a well-laden packhorse or “food mule” as my mates call me. 

Adel travels all over the world for his food business, and every time, he returns with a huge assortment of samples. Even more when the “mule” joins him. I reckon I’ve earned the t-shirt now after countless expo trips. 

He’s been exporting and importing for 30 years now – products ranging from Indian spices through to Lebanese Sumac, vanilla beans from Papua New Guinea and European cheeses.

It’s a rare occasion when we arrive back in the country without having to declare some exotic foodstuffs, and most of the staff in the Ag and Fisheries division at Auckland Airport know him well by now. 

The last time (see picture) we went to Salon de Gourmets, we travelled via Guangzhou on China Southern Airlines, with a very healthy luggage allowance. This photograph was taken at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on our way home. Those bags you see weren’t the result of serial shopping –  they’re crammed with samples (“This will go so well in New Zealand”) and boxes of pamphlets.

Yes, that’s how importers roll and Food International has been built on the relationships formed and the products discovered at these various shows.

We’ll soon be spending time with our suppliers in Spain and Food International’s roving reporter – aka “Food Mule” – plans to post interesting stories and ‘delicious’ photos for you along the way. 

My shoe shopping looks to be curtailed this trip, as the airline we’re using doesn’t have a generous weight allowance. Funny that, but we’ll definitely be bringing those exciting new food lines home for you in our bags. 

Kiwis are loving our Spanish Sherry Vinegars, Manchego and other cheeses as well as moreish fruit pastes. Please email Adel ( if there are any other Spanish products you’d like to see on your local supermarket shelves.