The good people at Foodzie
bestowed upon me such a great honor that a simple blog post can't do it justice. I was allowed to join them at the Fancy Food Show
in San Francisco to serve as an additional stomach and palate for the team.
The vast convention featured 80,000 healthy and fattening, natural and chemical, chocolates, cheeses, frozen meals, chips, candies, teas, pickles, patés, cookies, olive oils, curries and more tastes than a food marathoner could dream of. Overall it was a brilliant whirlwind of eating from 10am-5pm.
I was on sauce detail for Foodzie and my favorite was San Angel Mole
Cooking mole is a complex task, which Foodzie can attest to
. With 20 ingredients it's imperative that each one is fresh. San Angel's flavors were strong, and it's the subtle difference between their red and black varieties that stood out in my mouth.
I wasn't impressed with that many hot sauces because I have an affinity for Marie Sharps
(who unfortunately were not in attendance). Half Moon Bay Trading Company's
lines of Iguana and Bee Sting hot sauces were good.
They had distinct flavors that rose above the tomato-based options throughout the show.
The other decent salsa company was Xochitl
, who were one of the few sauce makers to actually sell a tongue-searing habanero salsa- the rest were masked behind other flavors.
Also, to all the salsa companies, enough with the mango/habanero salsa people- I get it, the sweet cuts the heat. However, it's boring and everyone else is doing it. Are mangos really the only other fruit in the forest?
My overall recap:
- Blue Cheese Chocolate?
I haven't posted about The Bazaar's foie gras cotton candy yet, but if food items could fall in love with each other I found the cotton candy a stunning bride. Lillie Belle Farms'
Smokey Blue Truffles were easily the best tasting bites of the convention. They were unique, smooth, evenly balanced and demand that everyone try them as soon as you can. The result of extensive gag-inducing tests, this was the type of innovative thinking I wish I'd seen more of at the show. Their spicy chocolate covered caramelized almonds were terrific as well.
- Spain 's Super Kick
A chorus line of Ibérico Pork legs thronged the aisles of the Spanish section of the south hall. The current home of the world's best restaurants held the title belt high at the show, boasting more foot traffic than Italy and France combined.
- Ghost Ride the Dip
(that's a bay area rap reference....
shows why he is the all-powerful dictator of spice with a new hot sauce made from the spiciest pepper in the world, the naga jolokia (aka ghost pepper). His Ghost Pepper Jolokia Private Reserve
only requires the dip of the tip of a toothpick to assault your mouth, tongue and lips.
Keep in mind I've been in spice training for the past few years and I was totally floored by the powerful punch this sauce packs.
- It looks like the cupcake trend has finally gone away. I only saw two exhibitors with cupcakes in the whole show.
- Fresh Natural Gourmet International
The show proves that it's a frightening task to enter the food marketplace. There are so many similar companies, selling such similar products that standing out is extremely difficult. It begs the question why some exhibitors chose such boring names. When there's already Gourmet Village, Sisters Gourmet, Gracious Gourmet and Original Gourmet Food, do you really need Gourmet in your name? Sweetriot
and the old standby Yoo-Hoo were all notable names on the positive side. Spicy Nothings
stood blandly on the negative name side, while Looza just didn't translate. Then there was the Fartless Factory
. Agree to disagree with whoever thought that was a good idea...