Sunday, January 16, 2011
FANCY FOOD SHOW WINTER, 2011: MY IMPRESSIONS
Today was the first day of the Winter Fancy Food Show. It is in San Francisco at Moscone Center for two more days, through Tuesday, January 18, 2011.
Harriet & I go just about every year. I go to get feeling for food trends for the coming year.
It's a great show, filling both the North and South Halls of Moscone. At just about every booth there is food to taste. Harriet and I just walk every aisle tasting and chatting at any booth that catches our fancy.
Many booths give samples of the foods they are featuring but attendees are not supposed to remove food from the exhibit halls. It seems that small packaged samples are not a problem and these are what I came home with.
While the booths are beautiful and filled with an abundance of food and food accessories, I noticed fewer packaged samples to take away, with some booths telling visitors that they could only take one piece of candy or a single tea bag. Not a problem for me but different from the past for sure.
We always start at the cheese section. At 10 a.m., I can't handle sweets, of which there are always many, but cheese, gives me energy and there are always unique cheeses to taste.
Sections of the exhibition halls are dedicated to foods from different states and countries.
A few of the booths that I thought photo-worthy include Soy Vay's
And Jelly Belly"s, who this year featured works of art made from Jelly Bellies. This is a Jelly Belly rendition of "Starry Night."
One exception on the lack of giveaways was Republic of Tea who was introducing a line of 14 loose teas. They gave a travel tea press to anyone who was willing to stand in line for one.
And in it, was your choice of tea which was freshly brewed. Of course, I waited in the line which moved pretty quickly and I know I will enjoy using it in my car where I often enjoy a cup of hot tea that I carry from home.
So what intrigued me at the show? These are just some of my observations:
• Horseradish and Wasabi are turning up in dips and salad dressings.
• There are more snack foods and they are getting healthier: nuts, whole grain munchies, and lots of savory popped snacks: popcorn, popped potatoes, and more popped foods. Many snack foods are in small, serving-sized packages. I even discovered squeezable Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter in 1.15 oz. Squeeze Packages.
• Greek yogurt from many traditional yogurt companies.
• Sea Salt remains an accent ingredient in unexpected foods such as caramels and chocolate. Even such traditional candy makers such as Ghirardelli now have a Sea Salt Chocolate Bar called "Intense Dark Sea Salt Soirée."
• Flavored teas. For hot beverages, tea booths significantly outnumbered coffee booths. One of the most "amusing" teas I sampled was Trump Tea, a line of premium teas from none other than Donald Trump...some of the blends include "Union Square," "Park Avenue," "Westchester," and "Mar-A-Largo." What more can I say?
• Crackers...Just about all the Cheese booths are using 34° wafer crackers as a platform for their cheese samples. I discovered these crackers at Whole Foods last month and continue to enjoy them. They obviously are a hit. 34° has its own booth too. There was lots of lavash too, including flavored lavash.
• Fish Spreads. There were several made with Smoked Salmon, but the one I liked the best Was Ruby Bay Smoked Mahi-Mahi Spread from Acme Smoked Fish Corporation.
• Granola! Who'd have thought after all these years of eating granola that it would be turning into a "new" trendy food? Well, certainly the people exhibiting at the show! I must have passed by at least a dozen booths touting one or another form of "healthful" granola...not that there's anything wrong with it...