A week ago I had a great time eating my way through the booths and exhibits at the 2014 Fancy Food Show. If you ever have the opportunity to attend this event, you MUST go! Thousands of booths featuring chocolate, pastries, salami, cheese, bread, olive oil, vinegars and everything in between are present here. And you get to sample EVERYTHING! My pal Mary/California Greek Girl and I went with our hubbies to San Francisco to meet with olive oil companies, sample all kinds of foods and to check out the top food trends for 2014.
My hubby was thrilled to attend one of my foodie conferences – much more interesting than a machinery convention! Breakfast was salami, prosciutto, goat, cheese and olives. We sampled marinated peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and onions. There were crackers of all kinds and shapes made from countless varieties of flours, nuts and seeds. For lunch we enjoyed small sandwiches, pizza, fresh baked bread, noodles, more salami, beef jerky and more olives.
There were booths from different countries like Japan, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Ecuador and Spain. We sampled delightful olive oils from California, Italy, Spain and Greece. Anything and everything could be found at the Fancy Food Show. But there were a few items that caught my attention.
I found several booths featuring brownie chips and cookie chips (sorry no pictures). These are thin, crunchy chip versions of their soft gooey counterparts. Cappuccino Brownie Crunch? Deeelightful! Speaking of chips, I also saw several version of pasta chips – yes, crunchy, seasoned pasta baked for a snack. Who knew?
Fruit Infused White Balsamic Vinegar
Oh wow! Now this stuff is GOOD! These fruit infused vinegars have tremendous flavor. I sampled Sonoma Harvest’s Mango White Balsamic over ice cream – mind blown! And check out those colors!
I think vinegars as a whole are reaching new depths of quality and flavor, just like their olive oil counterparts. This Honey Wine Vinegar from Slide Ridge was beyond amazing. You could drink this vinegar straight up without cringing. Truly first class vinegar.
Olive Oil Cocktails
Oh you knew this was coming! But, seriously, this is a huge trend. We visited 30+ olive oil companies at the show and most of them had not heard of using olive oil in a cocktail. They were intrigued. For the show, Mary and I were working in Arianna’s Trading Company’s booth serving up Pomegranate Olive Oil Cosmos. We handed out invitations to come to our booth and boy, did we turn heads. Most people were walking by on auto-pilot, saying no all-too-politely to exhibitors’ invitations. But we would get a “No, than you,” and then a “What?” No one else was serving olive oil cocktails. “You put olive oil in your drink?” Not just any olive oil, but Arianna’s silky extra virgin olive oil. Don’t worry, I’ll share the recipe in my next post! We offered our drink with or without alcohol and everyone loved it. We only had a couple of nay-sayers, of the hundreds who sampled our drink. Will you be a convert, too?
You will find small farms and foodies all over the country taking the time to hand craft their specialty, from salami to goat cheese to beef jerky to feta. Wonderful flavor combinations from small companies here in the US creating top-notch gourmet foods.
A special shout out to Chef’s Cut Real Jerky. Fabulous beef jerky. This is not the crap you see in the grocery store. Steak-like beef jerky. And I don’t even like beef jerky. Also comes in turkey and chicken.
Sea Salt Superstore has all kinds of flavored sea salts that a foodie could dream up. I’m personally enamored with that all natural salt brick. Lay it on the grill and you don’t have to season your steak. Easy to clean. Easy to use. I totally want one!
Award-winning, smooth and amazing caramels from Big Picture Farm. What a wonderfully talented young woman. She also created all of the sketches, drawings and packaging. I am beyond impressed.
Fellow food blogger Erika Penzer Kerekes/In Erika’s Kitchen has created a terrific set of fruit based sauces called Not Ketchup. Zesty and flavorful like Cherry Chipotle, Blueberry White Pepper and and Smokey Date. Perfect with fries, burgers, fish, vegetables and even ice cream!
Quite honestly, there are so many more great food products that I could mention. Here is what Beth/OMG! Yummy found during her adventures at the Fancy Food Show. Sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful year!