Four Classic Western Tastes – #VFX2019

From Del Rio, Texas to Monticello, New Mexico, to San Diego, California, and up to Portland, Oregon. These four Western tastes will have you begging for more: HERNÁN, Traditional Aceto Balsamico, Robaina Foods and Missionary Chocolates.

Del Rio, Texas

Isela Hernandez, Founder and President of HERNÁN, a brand of premium Mexican culinary products, is an award-winning merchant and entrepreneur. Her accomplishments have earned her noteworthy acclaim — from Sofi™ awards by the Specialty Food Association in the United States to recognition by the U.S. State Department for her work with artisans and food producers in Mexico.


After a decade in the fashion industry, Isela followed her dream of using her merchant background to start a business that promotes Mexican cuisine and culture, and that opens up new markets to Mexican artisans. She founded HERNÁN in 2007. Her entrepreneurial journey is featured on AT&T’s “Escape the Cube” web series.

All HERNÁN products are crafted in Mexico in partnership with artisan groups and producers, many who are expanding beyond their local origins for the first time. The HERNÁN Mexican kitchenware line was launched in the spring of 2007. Based on its success, a specialty foods division was added in 2011. HERNÁN appeals to gourmet enthusiasts and discerning foodies who appreciate the quality and authenticity of its products, and who want to prepare, cook, and serve Mexican food at home the way it’s done “en Mexico”.

Today, HERNÁN products still remain true to their Mexican roots, while embodying a contemporary sensibility. They are available nationwide in gourmet, specialty, and fine food stores as well as online and in specialty food catalogs. A graduate of Cornell University, Isela currently resides in New York City where she oversees operations of HERNÁN. Headquarters are based in Del Rio, Texas, a small town on the U.S.-Mexico border where she grew up, just minutes away from Cuidad Acuña, Coahuila, along the Rio Grande. There Isela was raised in the best of both worlds, exploring the opportunities of the U.S. while remaining closely connected to Mexico’s rich culture. To address social issues on both sides of the border, we are committed to investing a percentage of profits in a foundation in Del Rio.

HERNÁN has been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Food & Wine Magazine, Food Network’s Iron Chef America, Fine Cooking, CNN’s Your Money, Cosmopolitan Latina, Telemundo, Univision, and the Specialty Food Association’s “Craft. Care. Joy.” ad campaign.

Don’t miss tasting HERNÁN products at Booth #807A .


Traditional Aceto Balsamico
Monticello, New Mexico

Traditional Aceto Balsamico founded and operates a group of tiny organic farms in the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains in the historic New Mexico village of Monticello, where the population is fewer than 25 people. It is stunningly quiet. The air is clean and clear. Cell phones don’t work there.

Hero Bottle/Packaging 001

Hero Bottle/Packaging 001

When they began, their land was fallow. They made every effort to respect and nourish the land as they cultivated it, as do the other small surrounding organic farms and grass-fed beef and bison ranches nearby. Their water supply is strictly from their own wells. They never use herbicides, pesticides or other harmful sprays, amendments or practices. On the farm, they hand tend the plants and gardens.

Italian grapes, those classically used for making traditional balsamic vinegar, are among their many certified organic crops. When they joined Slow Food in Turin, Italy in 1998 during their second Salone del Gusto, the company resolved to practice their thesis: “patience in preserving and locally producing classic, healthy, tasty things.”

Traditional balsamic provides a very old, natural expression of this principle. It gives the owners an opportunity to add value to what they grow. They add this value, not by producing high volume (to feature a low price) or by marketing devices, but by patiently joining the natural elements of time, grapes, weather, and wood. Grapes give us balsamic, but many steps and labors, plus skills and patience, separate the beginning from the end of this value-adding process.

Traditional Aceto Balsamico of Monticello is American-made with organic grapes and barrel-aged for 20 years. The company uses balsamico casks made in Italy by the world-renowned master, Francesco Renzi. Actually, they use a series of barrels, each made from one of seven classic woods: ash, acacia, cherry, chestnut, juniper, mulberry and oak. Only a maximum of 1000 bottles are available for purchase each year. This signature product possesses a finely balanced acidity and sweetness, a viscous consistency, rare wood nuance, and a luminous depth of color.

Discover the many ways balsamico can be used at Booth #907 on March 30 and 31.


Robaina Foods
San Diego, California

Born and bread in Gran Canaria, love brought Enrique to San Diego, CA. He was craving the flavors he grew up with and had the vision to create something that was not yet available. A family recipe came to mind and started selling the unique canary mojo sauce with baby potatoes (papas arrugadas) at San Diego local Farmer’s Markets on a customized golf cart. Robaina Foods was born to give San Diego a taste of what authentic flavors of the Canary Islands are all about.


Robaina Foods’ unique products are inspired by the Canary Islands. The company believes in happy and healthy lifestyle through a natural diet.

Each batch of sauce is is handcrafted, hand-packed, and made to order in southern California, using only fresh and locally sourced Non-GMO ingredients.

There are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, and all products are naturally gluten free.

Three of their favorite sauces include:

This Spanish delicacy is the most popular condiment in the Canary Islands. It is deliciously different, versatile and loved everywhere.

The freshness in this bottle will awaken a new sensation within you and excite your imagination with each and every bite.

Rather than the typical sweet and spicy deliciousness everyone knows and loves, try something new. It is so unique you will be begging for more.

Get a little mojo at Booth #609B .


Missionary Chocolates
Portland, Oregon

Missionary Chocolates creates delicious dairy-free truffles by hand in Portland, Oregon. Missionary Chocolates are also gluten-free and vegan. Missionary Chocolates began in 2008 when Melissa Berry, a Naturopathic Physician, was in her last year of medical school.


What started out as gifts for her vegan mother quickly became a company, as a few months later her dairy-free truffles won first place at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Portland, Oregon. This unexpected success changed what was a home-based kitchen experiment in chocolate into a thriving company — the Mission of the company has always been to build an inpatient, integrative healing center in Portland, funded by chocolate.

There are sometimes variations in the chocolate’s taste, texture, and appearance because the chocolates are handcrafted in small batches. Many variables can influence how chocolate will behave. Variations between batches can be caused by temperature and humidity. Sometimes difference are a result of natural variations in the ingredients. For instance, sometimes the coffee used may vary slightly in roast, or the fresh fruits and vegetables vary in sweetness or heat. As Melissa notes, “these variations make life just a little more interesting.”

She hopes you find her allergy-friendly truffles a deliciously good addiction. As she says, “They are just what the doctor ordered!”

Come by Booth #805 to taste these awesome (and healthy) truffles.