Each June the Specialty Food Association kicks off their annual Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob Javits Center; three days filled with a staggering amount of the latest and greatest in the food and beverage industry. This year was the biggest event yet with over 47,000 industry professionals in attendance and 2,670 exhibitors. Obviously I wasn't able to taste everything. There were so many different coconut chips, specialty chili chocolates and coffee infused items I could have spent a day just on those three food sectors alone. But here are a few products that really stood out to me over the course of three crazy food coma days.
"Healthy" beverages were a HUGE theme running across the show. I sampled so many coconut waters, kombucha's, micro-brewed teas and chia seed energy drinks that I was practically floating. One of my favorites was Detox Water created by Kenneth Park right here in Brooklyn, NY.
After Kenneth's Mom experienced severe digestive issues with no relief from medication she began incorporating aloe water into her diet every day based on a doctors recommendation. Her stomach problems completely cleared and she began putting aloe water into all of her family's drinks. In addition to aiding digestive health aloe water also helps with anti-inflammatory, immune system and skin health. And it actually taste fantastic! I'm a huge fan of the original Lychee flavor and Mr. T loves the Mango.
Another great new beverage were these gourmet Sangria's from Casa Lolea. They're made with high quality wines and fresh juice which are unpasteurized to keep the all the natural qualities and give the wine a little sparkling kick. These would be absolutely perfect for a lazy summer picnic in Central Park.
Brand new ready-to-go sauces were also abundant; my favorite being the Cajun style creations from Chef' Z in flavors of Gumbo, Etouffee, Bayou and Jambalaya. His dishes have been featured on Food Network's "The Best Thing You Ever Ate" and after sampling his Jambalaya I was in heaven.
Of course I always have to give a shout-out to my favorite chocolatier in the city Chocolate Moderne was there sampling some of my favorites like the creamy Solbeso Mi Mucho and the spicy Hazelnut Gianduja.
I also really enjoyed the chocolates from Moonstruck Chocolate Co. out in Portland Oregon. Each one was infused with a different beer ranging from the creamy Black Butte Porter of Deschutes to the crisp, hoppy IPA of Full Sail Brewing.
Of course there was lots and lots of cheese...something I have zero self-control around. I loved the creamy flagship blue cheese from Point Reyes Cheese Company (Winner of Best Cheese/Dairy Product at the 2011 Fancy Food Show).
My favorite cheese this year was the Bellavitano Merlot from Wisconsin; a rich, creamy blend of Cheddar and Parmesan cheese soaked in Merlot. The rich notes of plum would have made this the perfect pairing with a glass of red wine but so versatile it even worked with a crisp bottle of Shiner Bock.
Cheers to another great Fancy Food Show. Meeting so many great new people excited about their products and changing the face of of food and beverage as we know it today is always energizing. Plus any event where I can eat my weight in cheese is pretty fantastic!
Fancy Food Show
Jacob Javits Center