The event at the New York Javits Center this June was the Summer Fancy Food Show, which filled both floors of the Convention Center. On display were every type of editable imaginable. I had the time of my life!
Wild Planet Foods, Inc presented amazing sardines and tuna that tasted like they came right out of the ocean and were OMG good. The Wild Planet seafood line ensures the highest standards of sustainability generated by leading environmental organizations. They’re committed to providing the finest tasting caught seafood while supporting the conservation of wild marine ecosystems.
As the head of several generations Arnold Coombs of Coombs Family Farms is one of the maple industry’s greatest advocates for sustainable and organic maple farmers. All maple products are harvested and processed responsibly to ensure that they’re delicious, while honoring the needs of the forest by protecting their trees and drastically reducing the energy use and carbon footprint. (I’m a tree-hugger myself.)
I was delighted to see GAEA OLIVES featured in the Dirty Martini booth. They’re not just olives for a dirty martini, however. They’re the world’s healthiest food, high in Vitamin E and other important antioxidants. The GAEAs are pitted green olives marinated with chili and black pepper or pitted green olives marinated with lemon and oregano. The packets are also liquid free, preservative free and they have reduced salt. They’re also really good as a snack! Just like precious wines, the GAEA FRESH top quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil represents a top technological accomplishment that guarantees fresh from the press olive oil within three hours of harvest and a vintage harvest date declaration (imagine that!). Each bottle of GAEA FRESH is a numbered limited edition for each harvest year, guaranteeing a spicy and fruity taste. It surpassed many other olive oils in a blind tasting. The GAEA BALSAMIC AND HONEY GLAZE, made of barrel-aged vinegar and Cretan thyme honey is based on the original Greek recipe. It’s great on cooked veggies and on salads.
With only one ingredient, 100% Sicilian blood oranges, Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice offers all the nutrients possible, with no additives, no preservatives and no GMOs. The Florida-based company’s amazing Blood Orange squeezed juice is a perfect balance of sweet and tart and will mix beautifully for a cooling summer cocktail with gin, vodka or tequila.
Italy is one of the most productive cheese regions, with over 450 varieties. Still, in the U.S. sales of Italian cheese rank third, behind French and German cheeses. In the U.S., Alison Hooper and Bob Reese started Vermont Creamery in 1984 and today are proud that they’ve sustained a team of family farms and creamery artisans. They walked away with four Sofi awards – the last two, a gold for crème fraiche and the new product award for St. Albans, a new aged cow milk cheese.
Cheese Crafters came out with a wonderful Whipped Goat Cheese spread sprinkled with three peppers (jalapeno, red bell and poblano), which added a zesty nip to the smooth textured cheese. Run by two sisters, Golden Ears Cheesecrafters is the Fraser Valley’s newest Artisan Cheese processing facility. (Way to go ladies!)
I found a delicious alternative to nut butter: Started in 2001, SunButter is made from roasted U.S. grown sunflower seeds, and is free from the top food allergens. Additionally, SunButter has 7 grams of protein per serving and has more vitamins and minerals than nut butter.
With only three ingredients – rice, oil and salt – Laiki Rice Crackers (they’re available as packs of Red Rice or Black Rice Crackers,) satisfy the urge for a crunchy, savory snack that’s low in calories. One bag has 100 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 80 mg of sodium.
For those special occasions, Karat Caviar is highly praised for its pure, rich, nutty flavor. (Who cares about calories with caviar around.) It’s harvested from fish imported from the Caspian Sea and raised in the best fishery in Israel, which corresponds to their natural habitat.
Originally from Karachi, Naomi Mobed, creator of Le Bon Magot, has lived, studied and worked throughout the world. Her condiments and preserves – hidden treasures all, won four Sofi awards, including two gold awards for her tomato and white sultana chutney with ginger and garam masala and for her spiced raisin marmalata with ras al hanout (a spice mix from North Africa) and smoked cinnamon. (You go girl!)
The woods in Umbria offer one of its most exotic, mysterious and precious fruits: Truffles. Sabatino Balestra and his wife Giuseppina founded and developed Sabatino Tartufi, and have expanded their small truffle business to include sites in Umbria and the U.S., with branch offices in Toronto, Tokyo and Hong Kong. The juice from the 14 oz. jar of Whole Black Summer Truffle can be used as a dressing or broth. (Savor it to the last drop.)
Gochujang (it’s the new Sriracha) is a spicy fermented Korean staple, which is now produced in the states under the label Chung Jung One. The company also produces Gochujang Ketchup and Gochujang Miso Dipping Sauce in addition to their premium Morean BBQ sauces.
Started in 2011, Salsas La Querendona from Mexico specializes in sauces and marinades, while always respecting the traditional cooking techniques that have been passed down by generations of Mexican women. The sauces and marinades on meat, beans or as a dip with tortilla chips are !caramba!.
Having an extensive in-depth knowledge of Mexico, founder Carsten Hagen has developed Chosen Foods, a company which includes a delicious avocado oil mayo. The mayo uses cage-free eggs, are free from artificial ingredients and is certified gluten free as well. (It was really good in my lobster salad!)
Myrna Sable and Carol Rosenfeld formed the partnership in 1970 and have won innumerable awards for their gourmet products. Among their Gourmet Products featured at the show by Sable & Rosenfeld were Tipsy Tapas, sweet and hot peppers hand-stuffed with imported cream cheese and then hand-packed in an herb-splashed vegetable oil.
There’s a new cocktail kit for two in the “hood.” Justin Durling’s Cocktail Kits 2 Go palm-size kit includes top-shelf ingredients to make classic Old Fashioned cocktails – aromatic bitters, sugar cubes and a muddler spoon — and instructions. Just add whiskey, stir and drink. Other Cocktail Kits include Dirty Martinis, Absinthe and Champagne cocktails. On a long flight they’re a civilized essential.
There were plenty of liquors to go around at the Gruppo Caffo booth. Under the tutelage of Giuseppe Caffo, the Master Distilller bothers continue to earn recognition for their fruit, herbal liqueurs and classic Italian spirits. Vecchio Amaro del Capo captures plenty of herbs, flowers, fruit and roots and gives the feeling of wellbeing. Limoncino a tradition learned from the Arabs around 100 A.C.E is made from the alcoholic infusion of lemon rinds and is used as a digestive, with ice creams, sorbets and even some sweets. Other classic spirits are aged Grappa, Anisette, Amaretto and Sambuca. (This was one popular booth!)
Whether it’s known as Jambon de Bayone from Southwest France, Prosciutto di Parma from Italy, Jamon Serrano from Spain or Presunto de Chaves from Portugal, all four are salted and dry-cured ham. The difference is the regional appellation that some hams receive that guarantees quality. Another difference is the quality of the processes, the microclimate — what pigs feed on – which will affect the taste. Additionally, the curation times vary from ham to ham, and some require a longer period of time for curing, having an effect on taste and texture.
The innumerable booths at the Summer Fancy Food Show gave attendees a marvelous opportunity to taste the difference not only in cured hams but in products from the world over.
Photographs ©Denise Mattia