As head of Montreal-headquartered CDS Foods, Cesare Della Santina oversees the import and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetable sourced from three continents. Cesare Della Santina’s company imports a wide range of products, from garlic to dragon fruit. Among the staple products handled are shallots, a member of the allium family, which also includes onions.
Sweet and mild, shallots lack the bite associated with raw onions, while imparting a subtle hint of garlic. They are ideal for dishes such as salads, where they are eaten raw and impart an onion flavor without the lasting pungency. One popular recipe is a vinaigrette that combines finely chopped shallots with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Shallots are also a perfect complement to hardy vegetable dishes such as roasted brussel sprouts.
A rule of thumb for shoppers is that two shallots are the equivalent of half of a large grocery store onion, and three shallots handily take the place of a smaller onion.
Poi Traditional Hawaiian Taro Root Dish
As head of CDS Foods in Montreal, Cesare Della Santina guides a company that sources quality products, including ginger and garlic, from around the world. Cesare Della Santina’s firm also imports a number of tropical specialty products, including dragon fruit, Asian pears, and taro root. Traditional to the Polynesian islands, taro maintains an integral role in the Hawaiian diet.
One of the early Hawaiian staples, poi is created by steaming the nutritious, starchy tuber and pounding it with wooden boards and stones. This crushing process is called poi via ku’I, and the end result is a purple-colored dish that resembles bread dough and has a mildly sweet flavor. Additional flavor can be obtained through a natural fermentation process over a couple days, which adds sourness.
For many decades, taro agriculture in Hawaii was in decline, as sugar plantations replaced traditional fields and less-nutritious potatoes took taro’s place. In recent years, awareness of the importance of taro, both as a source of nutrition and as a cultural ingredient, has come to the fore, and poi is again a common sight on many Hawaiian dinner tables.
Cesare Della Santina is a respected Montreal business owner who leads the fresh produce importer CDS Foods and sources fruits and vegetable from throughout Asia, North and South America, and Europe. Cesare Della Santina has expanded his company’s range of products throughout the years to include peeled garlic, taro, Asian pears, and ya pears.
Also known as the Tientsin and Chinese white pear, the ya pear is common in China’s Hebei province and has a similar pale golden color to that of the Japanese Pear. Unlike its rounder cousin, its shape most resembles the European pear.
Ya pears have a thin skin and a crisp texture and are commonly described as tasting like a combination of apple and pear. Made up of 90 percent water, ya pears feature a light, refreshing taste and provide a healthy amount of antioxidants such as copper and vitamin C. Like most pears, ya pears ripen from the inside and thus improve in taste and texture after picking. This gives them a lengthy shelf life and makes them ideal for shoppers who purchase fruits on a weekly basis. The high water content does mean that they are best eaten raw and are not usually recommended for pies or tarts.
Established in 2000, Montreal-based CDS Foods, under the helm of founder Cesare Dell Santina, is an importer of a variety of produce. Cesare Della Santina has since expanded the business’ imports to include popular spices and herbs, such as ginger.
Ginger is usable in many forms, whether powdered, dried, or fresh in its natural state. Many cooks use it as a garnish or as a spice paste. A longtime staple of Asian and Caribbean cooking due to its deep, rich flavor, ginger can also enhance Western dishes such as crème brulee. It is best used plentifully.
Ginger is also lauded for its health benefits. It has gained a reputation as a useful remedy for gastrointestinal issues; it is both a carminative and a spasmolytic, meaning it can eliminate flatulence and intestinal upset, respectively. It has been shown to be effective in treating vomiting and nausea in pregnant women and those suffering from motion sickness. Persons with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis may benefit from its effect on sore joints, as research shows that its acts directly on inflammations. Additionally, placing sliced root ginger in boiling water makes a concoction that warms the lungs and throat, relieving flu, colds, and coughs.
Cesare Della Santina, founder of CDS Foods, is an importing professional based in Montreal. Bringing exotic produce from Asia, South America, and Europe to North America, Cesare Della Santina aims to provide his clients with diverse food options from around the world.
Though CDS Foods was originally known for importing garlic, it has expanded its product range to include produce such as dragonfruit, a flavorful cactus fruit that grows in Asia and Central America. Vividly colorful in appearance, dragonfruit conventionally sports a pink skin, but may also be red or yellow. Inside the fruit is a crunchy white flesh with small black seeds.
To prepare dragonfruit, use a sharp knife to cut the fruit down the middle. Separate the flesh entirely from the skin with a spoon, then cut the flesh into cubes and refrigerate prior to eating. Many people choose to add the cubes to fruit salad for a unique take on a classic recipe. Dragonfruit is a heart-healthy, fiber-rich option that is full of antioxidants for those who crave a sweet, nutritious snack.
In 2000, Cesare Della Santina founded CDS Brokers, which imported fresh produce including ginger, shallots, and garlic from Asia and Europe. Now operating as CDS Foods but still under the leadership of Cesare Della Santina, this company has expanded to work with dried fruits and other produce items, though it continues to deal extensively in its first products.
The company’s City Snacks line, consisting of freeze-dried fruit snacks, has become a major brand for CDS Foods. Freeze-dried foods are resistant to spoilage and ripening due to the total removal of water from the product. Secure freeze-dried packages can keep for years, provided they are properly stored. Freeze-dried foods also become much lighter, allowing them to be easily transported on both an individual and industrial scale. Though these advantages are most relevant to food, other fields have also begun to use freeze-drying. Even researchers and florists can use freeze-drying to keep biological samples from losing desirable properties over long periods of time.
The founder of the fresh produce company CDS Foods (formerly CDS Brokers), Cesare Della Santina works with growers across the United States, South America, Mexico, and Europe. Cesare Della Santina also participates in professional produce organizations, including the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA).
From its headquarters in Ontario, CPMA depends on volunteer efforts to lead its committees and help make decisions to guide the produce industry. These committees include areas such as corporate development, education, food safety, and marketing and promotions, as well as the organization’s board of directors.
A volunteer term of service for these committees lasts one year. Volunteers must hold membership in CPMA. Through their service on one of the association’s committees, they gain experience in a group decision-making process and have the opportunity for personal growth.
The CPMA represents fresh produce businesses across Canada. For more information about the work of the association or to learn more about volunteering, visit http://www.cpma.ca.