Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter Fancy Food Show

The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade brought the Winter Fancy Food Show back to San Francisco this year. I took the opportunity to join over 16,000 other attendees who walked up and down the aisles of the Moscone Center to check out over 1,250 booths in search of the latest and greatest in specialty food and drink. I even ran into fellow food blogger Amy from Cooking with Amy, and we both waxed nostalgic about our love of the whole spectrum of Hawaiian food... from plate lunches to fine dining.

This was my first year to attend. To say that I experienced sensory overload is an understatement. Amidst the pungent smell of the cheeses, the "oohs, ahs, and mmm's" of attendees, the celebrity chef sightings (I saw Ina Garten and Paul Prudhomme), and the delicious tastes of all the different things I tried, I definitely had a hard time narrowing down my #1 favorite food find from the Show.

So, instead I offer a glimpse at the following things which caught my attention (and may soon be found on the shelves of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, William Sonoma, or your local market).

Saltwork's Yakima Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt and their new line of Fusion Naturally-Flavored Sea Salts. The fragrant, smoky aroma of the the Alderwood brought back memories of meals around the campfire.

For those of you who like "boba" (also known as "bubble tea"...it's essentially tea with tapioca balls, keep an eye out for Sogo's popping boba. What's different about this boba is it literally pops in your mouth releasing a burst of liquid flavor.

I also was introduced to Landrin, a first time exhibitor at the show. This Russian confectionery gave out samples of their waferatto. I especially enjoyed their waferatto classic, a whole almond surrounded in white chocolate and crispy wafer with a coconut coating.

The folks at Stubb's Bar-B-Q celebrated their founder by commissioning artist Jason Baalman to create paintings using their sauces. I sampled some of their brisket with their hickory bourbon bar-b-q sauce. It was de-finger-lickin-licious.

Here's an unexpected combination: Wasabi Horseradish cheddar cheese! And it was pretty good!

Um, yeah. This company's name speaks for itself. (Or perhaps silence is golden?)

I thought that these SushiParty soy wrappers from Yamamotoyama would make a colorful addition to any Sushi party. And, yes, those wrappers are completely edible.

Did you know you could make bouquets out of lavash? The folks at California Lavash did.

I grew up on jasmine tea, but the white jasmine sparkling tea from Golden Star Tea Co was a nice twist on a classic.

You may have had madeleines, but think how much tastier they are when they are chocolate madeleines OR chocolate madeleines dipped in chocolate. These are the newest offerings from Donsuemor, based out of Alameda.

Finally, in the past year, I've developed a taste for mojitos, so I really enjoyed samplings of an iced mojito tea from Caffe D'Amore and a mojito ice sorbet from Silver Moon. Both products made their debut at the show so it may take a while before they are available in stores or served at your local restaurant.

So those are some of the things I particularly enjoyed from this year's Winter Fancy Food Show. Did you attend this year? What were some of the things you particularly liked? Were there any trends you noticed compared to previous years?

Check out what other food bloggers discovered at the Show...


Alison said...

I love wasabi. I love cheese. But, like you, not so big on the wasabi-cheese combo. In fact, I saw a lot of unsavory-seeming flavored cheeses (the Wisconsin cheese peeps seem especially fond of these).

Overall, though, it was an interesting show.

Ed Tep said...

Alison - Actually, I kinda liked the wasabi cheddar. But, it's probably not for everyone. =)

Anonymous said...

I was at the Food Show on Sunday, and also tried the Sogo Popping Boba, it was refreshing and unique. I wish I could buy some now. I tried their website sogousa.com but still not avaiable.