Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fancy Food Show. What's Hot in the World of Food.

Feeling like a kid with a sack of Halloween loot, I emptied two bags worth of food items on my apartment floor. Screaming with delight as I found a bottle of fig and walnut savory balsamic salad dressing from Lucini, chocolates from Aequare and Antoine Amrani, olive oil and balsamic vinegar spritzer bottles from Gourme Mist and countless other goodies.

Did I rob a Food Emporium? No. I just returned from Food Fete. Kind of like the Fancy Food Show after party. Over two thousand vendors jockeyed for attention of over 20,000 attendees at the Javits Center in New York, from June 28-30. But the few vendors that were willing to throw down $3000 could have the sole attention of magazine editors on June 29, 2009.

I had the priveledge of accompanying the Food Director of Family Circle. Some of the trends popping up were yerba matte in iced tea form, lots of chocolates but I was particularly taken with Cholives, which is chocolate shaped like an olive, with a smooth chocolate ganache that can be skewered and served over a delicously alcholic martini. Think espresso liqour and vodka.

Watermelon was popping up all over the place, in beers and as a part of appetizers. Prunes were in juice form and strawberries a la Neil Armstorng, a.k.a freeze dried.

When I actually went to the Fancy Food Show on Tuesday, it was very overwhelming. So much food, it was gustatory overload. However, I did manage to find a few things that stood out. I loved Charlie's Truffled Popcorn, marshmellows made by Butter, particularly the pumpkin spice and mint, and the Indonesian cashews by Nuts Plus Nuts, with a spicy lemongrass flavor.

Among the hot trends this year were; yuzu (Asian citrus closesly resembling grapefruit and mandarain orange), blood orange (juice and products), black garlic (fermented garlic and used as topper on things like pizza), and caramel sea salt brownies.

After wandering around for three hours sampling anything that caught my eye, I was happy that I chose the last day to visit. The crowds were smaller and less agressive (if that's possible in New York). I thought because it was the last day I could score some more free food (yes, I am that greedy. But most vendors were still not willing to give up samples. Apparently you aren't allowed to leave the show with any food. I managed to slip by with my popcorn, apple cider, swizzle sticks,yogurt and nuts.

One woman was not so lucky. A bag packed full of goodies was taken away by security. I had already made up my mind that if so forced, I would down that bag of truffle popcorn. Even if it meant dealing with post-gorging remorse. It would have been worth every kernel.

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