Archive / Dumplings

Sue’s top 5 picks from Expo West 2014

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Outside of Expowest. Real Bird of Paradise flowers!

As I was approaching the convention center for Expo West, the Natural Products Expo, I couldn’t help but feel happy being in L.A. Sunshine, palm trees and healthy food and product heaven. If you shop at Whole Foods, Wegmans, or farmers’ markets, you know what I mean. I tasted and tried hundreds of tasty and innovative new products. I love my job.

World's largest cup of yogurt? People have meetings inside!

World’s largest cup of yogurt? People have meetings inside!

My top 5 picks from Expo West:

1. Byarozavik, birch tree water drink. Yup that’s right, water from a tree. It’s slightly sweet and unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. It a natural source of electrolytes and antioxidants. Move over coconut water?
 

2. Eco Nuts. Where have I been? These soap berries grow in the Himalayas. The nut inside is a natural laundry detergent. Simply put 4-5 nuts in a re-useable pouch and use it in place of your laundry detergent. It also acts like a natural fabric softener and is gentler on fibers. I can’t wait to do laundry!

3. Kind Snack’s newest savory bars. I absolutely loved the honey mustard flavor. It reminded me of the honey mustard pretzels I get on occasional road trips, but these are healthier.

4.  Belvoir Fruit Farms, elderflower drink. Delicious, clean, subtle fruity flavor. If you love St. Germain in cocktails like I do, you’ll love this.

5. Make a Stand. It’s lemonade, but not just that. It all began when Vienne, an 8 year old girl saw a photo of two kids in slavery. She setup a lemonade stand to raise money to help, not just for a few days, but for 365 days! This inspirational little girl has gotten help and now it’s bottled. It’s yummy and 5% of proceeds go towards NGO’s that help children. Similar to Asulia, they are a for-profit which allows them to run a business and grow better than a traditional non-profit model.

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Thanks to air miles, I took an early morning flight to and red eye back to beantown. I was able to attend and support current and new food friends. There’s an instant camaraderie between entrepreneurs because we know first hand the ups and downs of what it’s like. The lack of sleep, wondering if you’re ever doing enough, managing limited resources, the joy of seeing what you made out in the market, and more. I left the expo encouraged by the friends I chatted with. Their words of support and advice remind me, I’m not alone.

Try something new today. Blend a taro root smoothie!

Asulia Dumplings at Volante Farms

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I have a story for almost every store in which Asulia finds a home. More often than not, I have shopped there and have fond memories of what I bought the last time I was there. I love getting to know the people who run the store.

Volante Farms, our newest store as of today, is a perfect example.  When Chef Todd found us on social media and reached out I was thrilled. I’ve known about the great work he and his team are doing out in Needham for a while. When we sat down to talk, we both agreed that you can taste the care and craft that goes into products made with heart.

I have a huge crush on the vegetables at Volante Farms. They are beautiful! I know I might sound crazy, but the vibrant colors and textures make me swoon. I just want to grab a bunch of veggies and head to the kitchen to dice, chop, and cook for friends and family. Just about everything at Volante is local. They grow a majority of their own produce. They’re family run. They support local makers in our New England economy. We are lucky to have friends like them.

Thank you Volante Farms for believing in our product and mission. Everyone I’ve met is a joy to work with. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see our dumplings on the shelf at Volante starting today.  Head out to Volante Farms in Needham, MA and shop local!

Food filled week at Whole Foods Dedham and Mass Innovation Nights

Asulia had a busy week spreading the dumpling love.

Whole Foods Dedham
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On 2/11/14, we participated in Whole Foods Dedham’s Love You Locals event. We loved this event because 5% of all sales from the store that day went to Milton Public Schools. As always, 5% from Asulia sales go towards Room to Read, so we were supporting education double-time. I think our happy spot is next to the salad bar. We’re not complaining. We love being next to vegetables. Swoon.

It was great to see other local brands such as May Flower Brew, Harpoon Brewery, Nashoba Brook Bakery, Not Your Sugar Mamas, McCrea’s Candies, and more. Lots of great products all from New England!

Mass Innovation Nights
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Photo courtesy of Janet Egan

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Photo courtesy of Mass Innovation Nights

The next day, 2/12, our dumplings got toasty at Le Cordon Bleu as part of the Mass Innovation Nights Minfoodie 6 event sponsored by the Canadian Consulate of Boston. Food start ups everywhere! We had a blast chatting all things food startup while handing out samples of our vegan chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings.  And bonus – we were one of top four audience favorites! We received an American Express gift card, so yay, payment towards a Zip Car to help us to our next event. Special thanks to Kristen and Bobbie Carlton for making the event possible. Startups in Boston are lucky to have friends like you! You ladies rock. Also, many thanks also to our wonderful volunteers who helped to make sure everything went smoothly!

Lowell

Next, we’ll be in Lowell, MA on Tuesday, 2/18. Asulia’s been picked to showcase at the 2014 Merrimack Valley Sandbox Consumer Ideas Pitch event! We’d love to see you there. It’s free to attend.

Wondering where you can taste Asulia dumplings? See our events page.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Eating dumplings, as well as wearing the color red, for Chinese New Year represents good luck.

Dumplings signify family reunions and are a traditional New Year’s Eve food. When folded in a crescent-shape, they symbolize wealth because they look like gold ingots.

My family and I always celebrate with dumplings, taro root dishes, and other traditional foods like noodles. If you’re not married, you get a traditional red envelope with money inside from family and friends.

Wishing you a Happy Chinese New Year from Asulia! Hope to see you at an event soon.

Asulia at Le Cordon Bleu

Asulia blog Asulia at Le Cordon Bleu
 
On 2/12/14, Asulia will be at Le Cordon Bleu for Mass Innovation Night’s MINfoodie 6 event.  The four food startups with the most votes will also have a chance to present at the event. I’d appreciate your vote to be among the four to be able to share more with the attendees. Please cast your vote for Asulia Foods here from all your devices. Thank you!

Back in 2012, after I was laid off from my job, I seriously considered going to culinary school, since I love food and cooking. I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be going to Le Cordon Bleu in such a different way!

The Asulia team will be giving out free samples of our vegan chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings. The MINfoodie 6 event is free and open to the public. Support local innovation! Please RSVP to the event so we can better prepare. The culinary school is graciously hosting the event along with Mass Innovation Nights and the Canadian Consulate is kindly sponsoring the evening.

Hope to see you at Le Cordon Bleu! You can find more events here. Join us on our food startup journey by subscribing to our e-news, like us on Facebook, follow along on Instagram,  Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Demoing as a Whole Foods Vendor: From dream to reality

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I packed up Asulia dumplings last Saturday (1/11/14) for our very first demo at Whole Foods (WF) with my mom. Every team needs a uniform, we wore wheat-colored sweaters, kale green aprons, and special name tags.

When you’re a vendor at WF, you need to bring everything with yourself and take everything with you when you leave, so it requires a lot of preparation.

The night before, I made a last minute run to find a skillet. After trying a few options, I recently got an induction cooktop for tasting events like these. They heat up in seconds, so they work really well for heating up our frozen dumplings. However, you need induction-friendly pots and pans. I thought my stainless steel skillet would work, but when I tried it out the night before, I realized it was a no go. So off I went in search of induction-friendly cookware. While other people were heading out for Friday night fun, I was heading to Marshalls! I had just an hour before they closed and found a great cast iron skillet, which is great at conducting heat.

On Saturday, we were up early. I saw that it was rainy and cloudy and wondered if that would keep people at home, but fortunately WF shoppers are not afraid of the rain and the Dedham store was packed.

First things first. Before setting up, we had to make sure that enough boxes of dumplings were on the shelf in the freezer case. Check.

Next, we got our table and display all set up, but our electricity kept cutting in and out. So, we loaded everything into a shopping cart and setup shop in our second location, dodging WF customers as we wheeled through the store. The electricity went in and out at our second location too! Finally, with the help of some really great team members at WF Dedham, we got hooked up to the power source at the hot bar and could resume heating up our chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings.

We shared hundreds of dumpling samples nonstop for 3 hours, to all kinds of people, young and old. We were so busy that as soon as one batch was ready, another line was already forming. Our suggested and preferred way to heat up Asulia dumplings is in an oven, but we can’t seem to heat them up fast enough at tastings. This is why I switched to an induction cooktop. I love seeing people’s faces when they first taste our dumplings. Of course we talked about our mission, vegetables, and healthy eating, but we also talked about other things, what they were shopping for, families, holidays, the Patriots game,  personal stories, things going on in people’s lives. I find that food is a connector, and I love that. Afterwards, we were exhausted and ecstatic at the same time. My mom and I had a late lunch at WF and of course picked up a few items. It’s hard to leave WF empty handed!

For me, the experience was super surreal. It’s a true milestone for me. I’ve spent countless nights and weekends bootstrapping Asulia, taking it from a dream to reality. When I see Asulia boxes on the shelf at Whole Foods, I’m seeing my dreams of helping people eat healthier and helping to send more girls to school come true. I love my job!

Many thanks to the team at WF Dedham! We couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

Stay tuned for future events by signing up for our e-news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and check our events page. We look forward to eating dumplings together soon!

Asulia in Whole Foods Dedham, MA

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Today is a special day over one year in the making. Beginning on 12/10/2013, you’ll be able to buy Asulia chickpea, kale, and taro root dumplings at Whole Foods Market, Dedham, New England’s largest WFM store!

Over a year ago, I ventured into specialty food and could never imagine where this journey would lead me. I think back to last winter when I first contacted WF and started Asulia’s partnership with this amazing team of truly thoughtful and caring members of our community.

It all began with an in-store visit to sample the dumplings with some team members at WF. Back then, the dumplings were wrapped in a traditional wrapper and the recipes were different. We didn’t have packaging, a kitchen or a legal entity.

Today alone, I’ve been in contact with over ten team members at WF who have made it possible for Asulia to get on the shelf, including foragers, grocery, regional and marketing team members. Thank you Whole Foods for your support! I look forward to continuing the plans we have together.

I’ve always envisioned Asulia at WFM from the very beginning and I’m proud to partner with a store that has similar values as Asulia — to make our planet a better place and help our community eat healthier.

Hundreds of people have helped shape Asulia today. This includes our supporters at WF, other friends, family, Indiegogo supporters, volunteers, advisors and fellow foodie entrepreneurs. Thank you all.

Please look for our dumplings in Whole Foods. More locations coming soon!

I’m so thankful for this day. It’s an early Christmas present for Asulia :)

Happy Holidays!

Find us at Formaggio Kitchen, South End Boston

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asulia-blog find us at formaggio kitchen south end boston

We’re feeling at home and have already had lots of good chats with the puff pastry dough next to us and the amazing pastas and ice creams ‘upstairs’ You can find Asulia’s chickpea and taro root dumplings in the freezer section at Formaggio Kitchen, South End Boston.

Formaggio created  the first cheese cave in the country. More than just artisan cheese, the store carries charcuterie and specialty food. They travel the world in search of the world’s finest artisan products. You can read their latest travel adventures in their Travelogue section. As noted from our friends at Formaggio’s website: “We believe in the one-herd farmer in Corsica, the tiny storefront baker in Tuscany and the fifth-generation olive grower in Andalusia, each striving to preserve their traditional methods in a world of mass-produced, industrial food. Our shelves are brimming with products made by individual artisans, each as wonderful as the next: honeys from Sardinia & Piedmont sit aside farmhouse jams from Pays Basque & l’Ardeche, while spicy organic tomato sauce from Liguria neighbors briny Brittany fleur de sel. Marble slabs support cuts of cheese artistically arranged each morning into a “wall”: a horizontal stretch running from Great Britain and North America, through France, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, more than two hundred varieties in all.”