Archive for the 'Fancy Food Show' Category

2013 Summer Fancy Food® Show: Part 2

Friday, July 19th, 2013

As promised, here are some of the savory products that caught my eye at the NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Fancy Foods Show this year in NYC.

These fabulous cheese crisps were super savory and delicious. They’re crisps that are made entirely of parmesan cheese, not just cheese-flavored, and were shown in some really cool flavors like Jalapeno Parmesan, Caraway Seed Parmesan and my personal favorite, Chia Seed Parmesan. These would pair perfectly with wine!

With condiments getting all sorts of flavor attention as of late, these whipped mustards were right on trend – in flavors like Artichoke Garlic, Maple Bacon and Bacon Blue Cheese.

If you subscribe to our Fast Track Fast Trends newsletter then you may have seen this product highlighted before. Krave Beef Jerky is capitalizing on the protein trend by introducing some really innovative jerky flavors to the market (and on another trend note, the product is all-natural). Included in the lineup are Chili Lime, Sweet Chipotle and Basil Citrus flavors.

This year’s Fancy Foods Show was home to a lot of savory snack products like chips, pretzels and popcorn. The Whole Earth showed off their deliciously innovative flavored snacks including Popped Sesame Seaweed Rice Crisps, Garden Herb Olive Oil Popcorn and, my favorite in the lineup, Really Seedy Multigrain Tortilla Chips.

It’s no secret that tea formats and flavors are super trendy right now, as are savory flavors, so why not combine the two? Well, Numi Organics did just that with their line of savory teas. These teas combine organic vegetables, herbs and tea for a satiating cup of tea that drinks a bit like a broth – in fact among the tea’s suggested uses is as a base for boiling rice or noodles. The garden-inspired flavors include Beet Cabbage, Broccoli Cilantro and Tomato Mint.

The Fancy Foods Show is typically populated by an insane amount of cheese products, which is such welcome news for a cheese-lover like me. While I sampled a lot of delicious and interesting cheeses, this one was my absolute favorite and overall one of the highlights of the show for me: Kokos Coconut Cheese is to die for!! It’s sure to be the star of any cheese board spread and would pair deliciously with grapes or chocolate.

Although this blog installment has been dedicated to the savory side of this year’s Fancy Foods Show, I thought I’d end on a sweet (and stylish) note – what does a girl like better than shoes or chocolate? How about shoes made out of chocolate?!

Once again, Fancy Foods proved to be a delicious trend-spotting journey and I already can’t wait to see what next year brings!

A Glimpse of the Sweet Side of the 2013 Summer Fancy Food® Show

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

It’s that time of year again…the sun is shining, birds are chirping and the sweet smell of innovation is in the air. It can only mean one thing: another Summer Fancy Food Show is upon us! Last week’s NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Summer Fancy Food Show was held in NYC and was attended by foodies from around the globe. Check out some highlights below of show sweets that really stood out.

These Swiss Colony/Jelly Belly co-brand Cake Bites were absolutely delicious and super indulgent. The Blueberry & Pomegranate were my personal favorite. There were a lot of products throughout the show that were seemingly inspired by petits fours…keep an eye out for this glimmer of a trend.

My absolute favorite use of florals that I saw at the show. The candied rose and candied violet pieces were so amazing and flavorful on their own, but completely well-balanced in the gourmet chocolate bars by Sucré. They really are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Was able to snag a bag of these to bring back to the office and share (although the sharing part is hard with these addictive treats). This is exemplary of the trend of formats merging. Here, the cookie meets the chip and the result is a crunchy, chocolatey, satisfying snack that truly does taste like a cookie but eat like a chip.

When chocolate meets art you get the unparalleled beauty of Zoë’s Chocolate. The packaging is extremely minimal because it just obstructs the aesthetic genius of these bars. From coffee-shop inspirations to floral flair and holiday themes, these candy concoctions are a work of art.

Where there’s flavored salt, flavored sugar can’t be far behind. The black currant flavored sugar mixed in cool whip and served with a miniature Nilla wafer cookie really hit the spot.

These functional gummies were almost too tasty to be functional, but they were! These Beauty Sweeties fruit jelly hearts contained 20% fruit juice, 6% fruit pieces, vitamins, aloe vera and collagen, all on a base of yogurt cream!

Since we showed Salted Vanilla at this year’s Innovation Roadshow® in May, I did a double-take when I saw these Vanilla Sea Salt Creamy Caramels. Just further proof that Innovation Starts Here® at David Michael & Co.!

Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll share a couple of more sweets and my favorite savory products from the show with you!

 

Walking the Floor at the 2012 Summer Fancy Food® Show: Part II

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

For the second intallment of what caught my eye at last week’s Fancy Food show, I saved my favorites. Here’s a hint for future reference: my favorites tend to involve chocolate, beer or just about any kind of sweet. Now you know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fancy Food show was no stranger to frozen treats, like these handcrafted Luna Pops – small batch frozen ice pops made with simple ingredients like fresh, ripe fruit, local milk and vanilla extract. Flavors include cookies & cream, hibiscus lemon and rhubarb lime among others. They were perfectly refreshing and simply delightful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tasted A LOT of ice cream products throughout the show and I have to say, Chozen had some unique flavors in the category. Their ice cream, inspired by traditional Jewish treats and desserts, is made with all-natural ingredients and dairy from a local farm. Their flavor line-up includes coconut macaroon, apples & honey, matzoh crunch and Ronne’s Rugelach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the revival of craft beer trending high, the market is ripe for beer-related products. These Beer Flats™ are artisanal flatbread crackers – in a Pilsner and a Porter variety – that are made with craft beer and whole grains. Serving recommendations include smoked salmon, prosciutto, pate, charcuterie, dips, spreads and hummus.  But if you ask me, I would prefer these served with the Chimay cheese that I sampled just a few booths away. It’s a brew-lover’s perfect party snack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I’ve just professed my love for the beer flats above, but I’ve saved my absolute favorite for last. I was extremely impressed with Chuao’s lineup of specialty chocolate bars. New flavors on display included a Maya bar, a Maple Bacon bar and a Firecracker bar, which has sea salt, chipotle and – get this – popping candy! It was unlike any chocolate I’ve ever tried, the popping sensation was definitely a fun twist and the name, Firecracker, is just perfect. As delicious as that was, my favorite flavor in the line was the Potato Chip bar made with crisp kettle cooked chips and sea salt – truly a junk food lover’s dream.

The 2012 Summer Fancy Food Show® certainly didn’t disappoint! If I could sum up the show in one grammatically incorrect sentence, it would look like this: Coconut water, honey, maple, all natural, gluten free, salted caramel, cheese, floral flavors, functional beverages and kits.

Walking the Floor at the 2012 Summer Fancy Food® Show: Part I

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Close your eyes and picture paradise…now picture a foodie’s paradise…if you’re visualizing thousands of different, exotic and exciting foods and beverages, lined up tightly for aisles and aisles on end, just begging to be tasted, then you’re envisioning the foodie haven that is the Summer Fancy Food Show®.

This week’s NASFT (National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) Summer Fancy Food Show® marked the 58th year for this delicious annual event that is adored and attended by foodies from around the globe. Check out some highlights below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bird’s eye view of the first floor exhibit – or at least as much of it as I could fit in the frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Convenience kits were very prominent at the show, especially in sweets and desserts, so these savory brine kits by Fire & Flavor really stood out from the rest. The all-natural and gluten-free line of quick brines are intended to be used for everyday cooking with pork, chicken and beef. Fire & Flavor also makes a cool line of fry seasonings like sea salt & vinegar and sweet ancho chile. Oh and did I mention they also have pickling and canning seasonings, salmon and burger seasonings and a huge array of salts and rubs? Yep – well they do.  Behold the beauty and convenience of meal kits – Fire & Flavor certainly does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve been keeping up to date with our Fast Track Fast Trends newsletters, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that gluten-free was all over the place at the show including this line of gluten-free, organic, popped grain snacks from Kim’s by Delice Global™.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of the Fancy Food buzz this year was about honey – and I mean a lot! There were so many honey brands on display that I honestly lost count. Shown here is just one of the many brands; 72-year-old Tropical Blossom Honey company based out of Edgewater, Florida. Tropical Blossom’s signature honeys includeTupelo, Key Lime and Palmetto varietals just to name a few. There were honey companies on display from as far away asNew Zealand, like the 112-year-old brand Airbone Honey with line extensions that include lozenges, marinades and occasion-specific honeys that include baking honey, coffee honey and topping honey. I, personally, can’t get enough of Manuka honey (a monofloral honey fromNew Zealand and Australia), so if I had to pick a favorite of those I sampled, Manuka hit my sweet spot.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll share my favorite products from the show with you!

 

 

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So much food, so little time…

I was pleasantly surprised at the 479° Popcorn booth. How exciting can flavored popcorn be? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Me too. But their flavors –Vietnamese Cinnamon Sugar, Madras Curry Coconut & Cashews, and Black Truffle & White Cheddar – were both creative and delicious.

And speaking of creative, I just loved the breakfast pitas, with real fruit pieces, from Ozery Bakery. Available in apple cinnamon, cranberry orange, and breakfast muesli, they make a fabulous substitute for your usual morning bagel, toast, etc. (I’m thinking the cranberry orange wouldn’t be too shabby with a lunchtime turkey sandwich either!)

Granola Flats weren’t much more than an ultra-thin flattened granola bar (Nature Valley type), but they were darn tasty! Plus, they’re sold as a “chip” rather than a bar which means I have something to snack on now when hubby dives into the Fritos during a baseball game.

When it comes to food, I’ll try anything once. (Whether I’ll try it again is a different story.) But there is the occasional product that my brain just won’t allow past my lips. That’s been true in the past of vinegar drinks brought to me by my wonderful co-workers at David Michael Beijing. I love vinegar – so much, that I load it up on my salads to the point of mouth numbing. But the idea of drinking it, like juice – I just couldn’t get past that. So, when I spotted Hong Cho’s pomegranate vinegar drink, I decided to go for it. And you know what? It’s pretty good! The vinegar is noticeable, but not overwhelming. Since there are a number of health-benefits linked to vinegar drinks, I’m officially adding this to my radar. With the right marketing (a downplay of the word “vinegar” I’m thinking) this could be a future trend to watch.

Other fun finds at this year’s show? I was excited to spot macqui berry at Honest Tea’s booth in the new Macqui Berry Mate – keep your eyes peeled for more of this superfruit. There was lots of prickly pear and blood orange flavored goodies, mostly drinks. I found Parisian macarons at a number of booths, including the frozen macarons at Galaxy Desserts – perfect for foodservice. The Naan Pizza at Tandoor Chef was awesome – it’s about darn time we had something like this on the market. And, Chobani Greek Yogurt now offers Chobani Champions, said to be the only Greek yogurt made for kids.

And my favorite product of the show? Nothing too crazy here – my personal favorite were the falafels at Falafel Republic. Lightly fried balls of ground chick peas, falafels are typically served in a pita from your favorite street vendor. This version needs only seconds in the microwave to heat up, and the falafels are satisfyingly savory and filling. Served with tzatziki sauce, I could eat them every day, with or without the pita.

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Probably the most innovative product I spotted at this year’s Fancy Foods Show was the Brazilian import, Bacon Krisps. Distributed by Acme Import Co., Bacon Krisps are very interesting little snacks. A minute in the microwave, and voila, these little wheat nuggets puff up into perfect little red, white and tan striped bacon-flavored snacks (you know, the kind of striped coloring you wish your at-home bacon actually looked like). And bonus: they’re vegetarian! (To view a pic of this product, check out the Frommer’s blog here.) And on a side note, this was just one of many air-popped snacks for kids and adults on display.

Danielle’s Crispy Veggie Chips sells a line of exotic dehydrated fruits and veggies, including jackfruit, roasted coconut, spicy carrot and okra. What I most surprised by was how popular the durian was at the show. If you’re not familiar with this tropical fruit, the durian is a highly prized fruit of Southeast Asia – even though it is actually banned in most public places due to its pungent odor. But, durian lovers (and there are many), are more than willing to withstand the smell to get to the custard-like filling of this spiny, football-shaped pod. Apparently, Fancy Food Show goers couldn’t wait to taste it either – by the time I made it to the booth, it was all gone…

And speaking of Fancy Food hits, I was lucky enough to sample from the last pint of Vosges’ Bacon Toffee Ice Cream. I’m a HUGE fan of their bacon chocolate bars, so I was pretty excited to sample this new, not-yet-available-in-stores treat. The verdict? Smoky, caramel, and a little meaty. Not sure I could eat a whole bowl, but I imagine a scoop melting atop the right dessert would be pure heaven.

And speaking of chocolate – my main source of sustenance at the show – an unexpected favorite was the Toasted Corn chocolate bar from Philly’s own Eclat Chocolate. And I don’t even like corn-flavored things! But this was excellent – crunchy, toasty and tasty.

Next up – granola chips, maqui berry, drinkable vinegar, and my personal show favorite!

The 2010 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Ah, the Fancy Foods Show – 331,000 square feet of chocolate, cheese and sauce. A playground of flavor for food industry peeps and bloggers alike. A global adventure that takes you around the world in eight hours. In short – practice your competitive eating skills beforehand, wear your comfiest of comfy shoes, and be ready to take a lot o’ notes.

Lollibons® – ice cream filled truffles on a stick – caught my eye first. I was reminded that everything tastes better on a stick, as was the thinking behind our own Pie Pops (pies on a stick) showcased at the 2009 Innovation Roadshow®.

Of all the trends lining the aisles of the Javits Center, “real” ginger – whether it was ginger soda/ale or ginger beer – seemed to be the strongest. With too many to count, one that really made an impression was Belvoir Fruit Farms’ Organic Ginger Beer. Strong does not begin to describe the kick of this carbonated soda – but it had me wanting more. Their elderflower juice was pretty darn tasty too – and both ginger and elderflower are hot on cocktail menus right now.

Our flavor chemists recently developed a line of honey flavors from Australia and New Zealand, so I was pretty excited to spot the Manuka honey line from Honey New Zealand. The twist? The number of active enzymes in each jar are called out on the package – from 5+ to 25+. According to the manufacturer, enzymes in honey have natural healing properties and do not dissipate when heated. Each batch is independently tested for its activity level, and marked as such.

Last year, the Peruvian pavilion was the place to be. Even though Peruvian cuisine is still on the rise, Korean cuisine is beginning to steal the spotlight as the next big thing. At the Korean pavilion, The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) joined forces with the Korean Agro-Fisheries Trade Corporation for a demonstration of fusion foods, like Bibimbap Mini Tacos and Kimchi Pancakes.

Next up – Bacon, bacon, and durian?

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 3

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Another product that caught my fancy at this year’s show is healthDropzTM. Called a “Beverage Booster,” the company claims that by adding six drops to any beverage, you get the benefit of the supplement, free of flavor or calories. Available in energy, focus, and green tea, I decided that I was in grave need of a kick and tried the energy in water. There really was no flavor. I was truly surprised – it just tasted like plain water!

But since I am here to talk flavors, I was very pleased to find a line of flavored dulce de leche from the Argentian company el Semillero. Also a producer of chimichurri (yum), the dulces were available in mint, orange, and, I believe, cinnamon and coconut, aside from original, of course. I sampled the orange which was delicious. What a fabulous idea!

While walking the aisles of the show, I found inspiration for a friend’s baby shower at the Sutter Home booth. Alcohol Removed Fre® Wine tastes just like the real thing, and is available in all the classic varieties – Merlot, White Zin and Chardonnay, just to name a few. The Fre website also boasts “cocktails” using the wines. And at the booth, a few “Preggatini” recipes were available too – “cocktails for the mom-to-be.”

Other highlights from this year’s Fancy Foods Show included Jelly Belly’s new Superfruit mix, featuring acai, Barbados cherry, blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry flavors – a delicious mix, especially if you’re a red fruit fan like myself. Another fave, Brownie Pops take brownies, dip them in chocolate, and put ‘em on a stick – HELLO!

At the Winter Fancy Foods Show in California, hibiscus seemed to be all the rage, but in NYC it was all about the blood orange. In fact, quite a few blood orange flavored items (confit, juice, marmalade) took home Sofi Awards.

With over 2,300 exhibitors on the show floor, I had a tall order for this one-day jaunt. But once the feet start aching, and too much sampling leads to a thousand-yard stare, it’s easy to miss a great product. That’s why it’s always helpful to check out other show reviews – because we all see something different!

A few of my favorites this year are Bobby Flay’s review from the CBS Early Show (check out the video), New York Daily News (check out the mini-melon), Sara Moulton on ABC’s Good Morning America, and Slashfood’s day-by-day highlights.

Plus, you can revisit our reviews from the January Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Next up on the fancy brigade is a stop in Peru. Last month, we took you on a little journey through Peru, with flavor chemist Yuko Nodo. But at the Fancy Foods Show, the flavors of Peru came to me.

So often, I avoid the international pavilions. The mind (and feet) can only take in so much in a day, and typically the pavilions are filled with a lot of commodity products. And let’s face it, there are only so many nuts and so much olive oil a girl can take.

But Peru did it right. At a large endcap of the pavilion I was drawn in by the call of Pisco Sours…delish! After one turn around this overly crowded display, I found out that the trade organization PromPeru had joined forces with a local Peruvian restaurant, Oh! Calamares (Kearny, NJ), to present an amazing spread of goodies. I snacked on potato pastries and chocolate flan! The lucuma fruit was heavily promoted through samples and signage, as were Peruvian potatoes and purple corn. Elderberry, amaranth and quinoa were also displayed in the pavilion. With all of the foodie interest in Peruvian cuisine recently, it was no surprise to see this was the absolute busiest booth at the show.

And, speaking of crowded booths, Ciao Bella Gelato had its fair share of traffic, too! I sampled the Key Lime Graham Cracker Gelato – a 2009 Sofi Award Winner in the Perishable Foodservice Product category. There’s no question why this product won! So often, key lime flavored products don’t translate as well into non-pie applications. If not done right, they can taste, well, artificial. But this was right on – authentic and refreshing, like a frozen slice of fresh pie.

Last fall, I read about Skyr - a strained Icelandic yogurt that’s been slowly making a name for itself. Plus, it’s non-fat and sugar-free. So when I happened upon the Siggi’s booth at the show, I was excited to taste! I tried the plain first, to experience the true flavor of skyr. It tastes quite a bit like traditional yogurt, only much thicker and creamier. It’s very filling, and sour. They had a number of flavors on hand to sample, and I went immediately for the grapefruit. The flavored varieties are sweetened with agave nectar. The grapefruit seemed a bit thinner than the plain, and was more tart, or course, but quite good. I wish I hadn’t been so full at the time, or else I would have tried more of their flavors – they all sounded delicious!

In an issue of Fast Track Fast Trends last year, we explored Coneinn Pizza, which is basically, a pizza in a cone! The product heats in the microwave, in an upright package. Sounds great, doesn’t it! Problem is – it’s a European product. That’s why I was so excited to see the Coneinn booth at the show! I was pretty sad that they didn’t have any samples to try (I’ve been drooling over it for a year, after all!), but I did find out that they’re looking for stateside distributors. They will be mine…oh yes, they will be mine.

One more installment to go! Next time we’ll talk alcohol-free wine and flavored dulce de leche!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Another season, another Fancy Foods Show! Last Monday I hopped the train to New York and breathed in the scents at the Javits Center.

Perusing the booklet before hitting the show floor, I got pretty excited to see one product in particular – black garlic. I first caught wind of black garlic late last year, and have seen it pop up in a number of foodie blogs since then. More recently, it was written up in the Washington Post and Gourmet, but I still had yet to try it. Black garlic is an ordinary garlic bulb that has fermented for about a month, resulting in what you see below. The taste is unexpected – sweet, fermented, and almost smoky. It has a subtle garlic flavor, but not at all overwhelming, and the texture is very soft. I brought a sample back to the office for our chefs to try, and they were blown away by the flavor. While at the booth, I also tried the black garlic jam, which was tasty and sweeter than the actual clove, and experienced a number of visitors running up to the booth excitedly yelling, “we love this stuff!” While I had read about this new flavor phenom in a number of blogs, this was honestly the first commercial product I had found – most foodies have been making it on their own. Expect to see black garlic grow on restaurant menus in the near future. Also, the folks at Black Garlic, Inc. were featuring a black garlic energy drink. Since black garlic claims to be loaded with antioxidants, it’s possible that this foodie favorite may also grow as a healthy ingredient.

Now to the important stuff – chocolate!! Grazing the show floor, a girl could make a mean meal on the stuff (and did, by the way). In flavors, sea salt prevailed, as did varietal dark chocolates, caramel, tea flavors and even some florals, like lavender. But at the Vosges booth, it’s still all about good old-fashioned bacon. Those fabulous cocoa gods and goddesses debuted more bacon chocolate goodness – a dark chocolate version of the Mo’s Bacon Bar, a bacon chocolate toffee, and even, dare I say, bacon chocolate pancakes! Alas, I got to the booth a smidge too early for the pancakes – and I’m still kicking myself…

Now, I’m not much of a honey fan myself (I know, I know…how can I not love honey), but I was impressed by the concept of varietal honey from Savannah Bee Company. These varieties have been specially chosen to pair with tea, cheese and grilled foods.

Of course, there is way more to talk about from this year’s show! Check back next time, we’ll talk about Peruvian flavors and Skyr!

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