Fancy Food Show

Honey Ridge balsamic honey vinegar

Balsamic Honey Vinegar is a winner Looking for a different drizzle for fresh mozzarella and basil?

Honey Ridge Farms recently sent us a sample of their 100% honey-produced balsamic vinegar.

And it is sweet!

We liked using this delicious and distinct alternative to a grape-based balsamic in a garlic-dijon vinaigrette (our simple standby for mixed greens) to dress a spinach-citrus salad. Other suggested uses include: savory dressings for leafy green, potato, pasta and rice salads or dessert dressing for sliced strawberries with a grinding of black pepper.

The deliciously different vinegar is a 2008 National Association for the Specialty Food Trade silver sofi award winner.  Sulfite-free, the folks at Honey Ridge recommend this distinct vinegar for not only for salads, but for pan sauces for roasted meats, seafood and poultry, and vegetable dishes.

We love that Honey Ridge Farms is socially responsible too.  A portion of the profits from Balsamic Honey Vinegar help fund research to promote bee colony health – an important issue facing the beekeeping and farming industry today.

Retails for $10.99.

Balsamic Blue Cheese Dressing

from Honey Ridge Farms

1/4 cup Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
A dash of hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

In small bowl, combine Balsamic Honey Vinegar, oregano leaves, sea salt, pepper and a dash of hot pepper sauce. Slowly whisk in olive oil; stir in crumbled blue cheese. Use as a dressing on mixed green salads or spinach salad.

Fancy Food Show to donate 100,000 pounds of food to Bay area needy

Exhibitors at the 35th Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco plan to donate more than 100,000 pounds of specialty foods and beverages to Bay Area residents in need.

The donation was announced today by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, the show’s organizer.

The Winter Fancy Food Show will take place from January 17 – 19, 2010, at Moscone Center, where more than 1,400 exhibitors will present 80,000 products from 50 countries. The donation will be made at the close of the trade event, the largest marketplace for specialty food on the West Coast.

For the second year, the NASFT will work with Feed the Hungry to collect and distribute specialty products to a network of community programs. Last year, hundreds of volunteers collected and dispersed more than three tractor-trailer loads of food, including top-quality chocolate, cheese, pasta sauces and beverages.

“With so many Americans experiencing food insecurity today, our exhibitors are especially eager to help alleviate hunger. We are pleased they can supply products that typically don’t flow into food pantries,” said Ann Daw, president of the NASFT.

Stefan Radelich, executive director of Feed the Hungry, an international hunger relief organization, said the food from the Fancy Food Show will be “a beacon of hope and encouragement.”

Last year exhibitors provided enough food to help more than 5,400 area residents. “When they open their grocery bags at home or in a shelter and find foods of the highest quality mixed in, it takes ‘somebody cares’ to a whole new level,” Radelich said.

The NASFT, a not-for-profit trade association based in New York City, has a long commitment to food-related charities.

This year marks the 20th year that the NASFT has worked with City Harvest, one of New York City’s largest anti-hunger organizations. Following its Summer Fancy Food Show, exhibitors donated more than 200,000 pounds of food last June and helped keep one food pantry from shutting down.

Let them eat Fancy Foods

Bella cucina The global economy may be uncertain, but people undeniably need to eat. 

If the turnout at the Fancy Food Show that ended June 30th is any indication, retailers are responding to consumers' desire to eat well - even if it means they're doing more cooking and entertaining at home. 

Last year, according to the show organizers, specialty food accounted for 15.9 percent of all retail food sales, up to $48 billion, an 8.4 percent increase in annual sales. 

While new product production declined last year, there was a significant increase in products made to satisfy cravings.  Chocolate and confectionary products, desserts, ice cream and alcoholic beverage rollouts all grew significantly, show organizers reported.

With 250,000 products representing 81 countries, there was far too much to sample and see in three short days.

The emphasis seemed to be on artisanal products - small batch, hand crafted products running the gamut  from pastas, olive oils, cheeses, and dry cured meats to honey, chocolates and  confections to dry rubs and spices.

From small domestic producers came products as diverse as O Olive Oils citrus based organic oils - blood orange and Meyer lemon - and Edwards Virginia Hams Surryano dry cured ham, a domestic alternative to Serrano and Prosciutto to award-winning John Kelly Chocolates Truffle Fudge Bites - Dark Chocolate with French Grey Sea Salt, which was a sublime melt in your mouthmix of sweet and salty.  

The Italian and Spanish purveyors offered a dizzying selection of cheeses, cured meats. olive oils and vinegars. 

Leonardi, noted for its fine Modena Balsamic vinegars since 1871, introduced a novelty sour-sweet condiment Balsamo Oro, unique for its flakes of gold alimentary leaves. 

Fancy Food Show a feast for food industry

My feet felt like ground beef yesterday after a day roaming the crowded aisles of the Fancy Food Show. 

Did I wear practical shoes? Of course not! 

Would one walk the food equivalent of Piazza San Marco in Keds?  Not with all those gloriously well-dressed Italian men on hand to demonstrate their  country's fantastic cheeses, pastas, cured meats, olive oils, balasmic vinegars, mushrooms, rice, etc.

Did I mention there seems to be an inordinately large population of attractive people associated with the preparation and purveying of fancy food? 

Food is a great aphrodisaics, so maybe it was something I ate.

At any rate, the Fancy Food Show really should be experienced at least once in a lifetime. From savory to sweet, there were tastes, textures and flavors for all palates. I was delighted to speak with representatives from locations as diverse as the Southern United States to South Africa.  I sampled spice blends, premier chocolates, dry cured hams, gelati, wines, olives, finishing butters, olive oils - the list is endless. 

The Fancy Food Show is for the trade, a place for vendors to exhibit their best products, to educate about their offerings and to sell.  For attendees, it's a huge opportunity to learn about what's hot and what's new, but also to become reacquainted with familiar food products. 

I'm always amazed at the range and quality of something as seemingly simple as say pasta.  Crafting quality food products is never quite as uncomplicated as we novices imagine.

I had one lovely love affair after another (with food, with food - wink, wink).

Watch for upcoming posts about new tastes, flavors and textures from around the culinary world.

Read more here...

Fancy Foods Show predicts hot food trends

The Summer Fancy Food Show starts Sunday. We are hungry already!

For three days, over 600 companies display natural and organic items, including the sofi nominees (and winners) for specialty outstanding food inovation for 2009.

The Fancy Food Show shapes the hottest trends in specialty foods and beverages from the U.S. and around the globe and the popular “What’s New, What’s Hot!” showcase will feature 1,000 offerings.

Filling 316,000 square feet of the Javits Center with 2,300 exhibitors representing more than 70 countries, the show features the world’s finest cheeses, olive oil, spices, teas, chocolate and ethnic specialties.

NC's Polka Dot Bake Shop introduces CrispiThins

CrispiThins It's no secret that Southerners know how to whip up some tasty grub.

From my home state comes a new and savory cracker, CrispiThins, made from sweet potatoes.

Polka Dot Bake Shop, an award-winning North Carolina bakery, introduces its new line of gourmet crackers, at the Fancy Food Show  next week.

CrispiThins are the first cracker made with real sweet potatoes and are available in four flavors including Original, Cracked Black Pepper, Rosemary and Smoked Chipotle.

I can't wait to try them.

Numi Organic Teas to offer complete line of specialty teas to US

Premium-quality tea purveyor Numi Organic Tea will display its complete line of organic puerh teas – a first-to-market offering in the U.S. – at the world’s leading culinary and specialty food trade show, NASFT Fancy Food Show in New York City, June 28-30.

Numi’s Organic Puerh offerings include six varieties of bottled Puerh iced teas, including five varieties of Puerh tea blends and one Rooibos Herbal blend; four varieties of bagged Puerh tea; and a traditional Puerh brick.

 Puerh (pū-ĕr) is an ancient healing tea known for its medicinal properties and rich taste. Numi’s Organic Puerh comes from 500-year-old wild tea trees grown in China’s pristine Yunnan Mountains.

The maturity of these trees yields a superior tasting tea compared to younger pruned bushes. Unlike traditional teas that are oxidized, Puerh undergoes a unique fermentation process resulting in a bold, earthy flavor with hints of malt and elevated levels of antioxidants.

Puerh can be compressed into bricks and aged, like fine wine, for months, years or even decades. This increases its value, health benefits and premium taste.

“We wanted to bring the wonderful flavor and health benefits of Puerh to the U.S. marke,” said Ahmed Rahim, CEO and Alchemist of Numi Organic Tea.

“We therefore decided to offer our Ready-to-Drink lineup as blended teas, combining some of Numi’s most popular flavors – Moroccan Mint and Earl Grey, for example – with Puerh to make it instantly accessible and innovative,” Rahim added.

Independent Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) tests have shown that Numi’s Organic Puerh tea averages 32 percent more antioxidants than green tea, the Numi CEO said. Numi’s bottled Organic Puerh teas yield an average of 50 percent higher antioxidants than leading competitive bottled tea brands, he added.

 Numi Organic flavors include: Mango Passion Puerh Black Tea, Earl Grey Puerh Black Tea, Magnolia Jasmine Puerh Green Tea, Peach Nectar Puerh Green Tea and Moroccan Mint Puerh Green Tea.

In addition, Honey Lemon Rooibos Teasan is available as an herbal, caffeine-free option.

Barely sweetened with honey, agave nectar and/or organic cane sugar, the blended teas have a suggested retail price of $2.49 per recyclable glass bottle.

Numi Organic Puerh tea bags are available in Chocolate Puerh, Emperor’s Puerh, Magnolia Puerh and Mint Puerh in boxes of 16 full leaf tea bags for suggested retail price of $8.99.

Numi’s Organic Aged Puerh Brick breaks off into twelve portions for easy steeping.  Suggested retail price is $12.99 for up to 48 servings.

Norman Love Confections Unveils New Flavors

Simply delicious Norman Love Confections Seven new handcrafted white, milk and dark chocolate flavors have been introduced into award-winning Norman Love Confections' (NLC) 2009 product line complete with 36 flavors and its new ultra-premium dark chocolate line titled BLACK.

New 2009 flavors include: Banana Nut Bread; Chocolate Pretzel; Creole Truffle; Honey Toffee Truffle; Key Lime Shell; Passion Panna Cotta; and Toasted Almond.

Chocolatier and founder of NLC Norman Love explains that through a collaborative process, his team works to put together identifiable single flavors stemming from American foods and beverages.

"Regardless of the new flavors we focus on making each piece of premium chocolate perfect with the freshest ingredients," Love says. "We also try our best to transfer the flavor profile with an aesthetic. Americans eat with their eyes, so delivering a visual wow factor in addition to the taste wow is critical

The 2009 new flavors focus on comfort foods and popular American dishes. "Many of us have memories of our mom or grandmother as a child from the kitchen," Love states. "Who cannot recall the fresh baked smell of banana nut bread?"

Following is a description of the newly unveiled 2009 flavors:

Banana Nut Bread: A rich banana ganache with roasted walnuts and a touch of vanilla.

Chocolate Pretzel: A fun and flavorful pairing crunchy baked pretzels and rich dark chocolate.

Creole Truffle: A 49% dark Venezuelan Chocolate made from Criolo beans and blended with cream and butter.

Honey Toffee Truffle
: A buttery vanilla toffee ganache made with Tasmanian Honey and blended with Swiss milk chocolate.

Key Lime Shell: Classic and simple, made with fresh key lime juice and the feeling of a little Florida sunshine with each bite.

Passion Panna Cotta: A light buttermilk ganache layered with passion fruit and vanilla jam covered in white chocolate.

Toasted Almond: Roasted almonds blended into a Swiss white chocolate ganache and accented with a touch of amaretto and Kahlua.

All of NLC's regular assorted boxes are available in 10-, 15-, 18-, 25- and 36-piece boxes starting at $22 for the 10-piece box (prices do not including shipping and applicable taxes).

For those visiting NLC's chocolate salon in Ft. Myers, Florida, they can indulge in a piece of luxury for as little as $1.50.

Finalists for Outstanding New Product of 2009 announced

Tortilla chips with olives and capers, breakfast cheese and organic blood orange soda are among the 11 finalists for the 2009 sofi Award for Outstanding New Product of 2009.

The sofi Awards, presented by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, honor the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year in 33 categories. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation.

Finalists for Outstanding New Product 2009 are:

    * Belle Chevre -  Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese
    * Chex Finer Foods - Laurel Hill Tortilla Chips - Olive and Caper
    * Clotho Corp. -  Haddrell's of Cambridge Rewarewa Honey
    * European Imports Ltd.-  Cucina Viva Roasted Red Tomatoes
    * Grafton Village Cheese Co. - Grafton Duet
    * Koppert Cress USA - Mustard Cress Single Retail Unit
    * New England Herbal Foods -  Danielle Fruit Chips - Roasted Coconut
    * Sonoma Syrup Co.™ - Acai Black Currant Superfruit Syrup™
    * The Gracious Gourmet - Dilled Carrot Tomato Tapenade
    * Theo Chocolate - Theo Limited Edition Collection
    * Vinnedge Distributing Inc.- Vergnano Italian Organic Blood Orange Soda

A national panel of specialty food experts tasted and evaluated 1,997 products over five days at NASFT offices in New York this spring.

They selected 128 finalists across 33 categories, including Outstanding Chocolate, Cheese, Snack Food and Olive Oil. The last two groups of finalists were selected earlier this month, for Outstanding New Product and Outstanding Product Line.

The finalists will be judged by attendees at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Gold winners will be announced at a special ceremony Monday, June 29 hosted by noted chef Ming Tsai.