The Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week was foodie heaven. There is so much to see and taste – you experience “tastebud overload”. My purpose in attending the show was twofold. I wanted to report about some interesting new products on my blog while I talked to food companies about advertising in La Cucina Italiana Magazine. You need comfortable shoes to walk this show, while you eat and sample all the latest products available in the food world. There are three halls filled with exhibit booths and no one is shy about offering you samples of their latest delicacies. Exhibitors are hoping retailers like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s will want to carry their products and they want the media to exclaim “love at first bite”.
I spent a lot of time in the Italian Pavilion with Greg Slattery, Publisher of La Cucina Italiana (Isn’t Italian food everyone’s favorite?) tasting the difference between authentic Grano Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses – the difference I learned – aging! Prosciutto di Parma vs. Speck Alto Adige vs. Proscuitto San Daniele…I loved it all. We met the Urbani Truffle lady, Olga from the 60 Minutes special a week ago – no free tastings here!! However, throughout the show there were truffle products that we could taste and let permeate our senses. The Italian pasta and sauces were incredible – DeCecco, Garofalo, Pomi, Rao’s Restaurant sauces. Fresh mozzarella and gorgonzola from BelGioioso. French cheese, Irish cheese, Wisconsin cheese and artisan cheese. I confessed my love of Cypress Grove Chevre’s Humboldt Fog cheese in their purple and gold confessional. I got so overloaded on cheese – I didn’t think that was possible.
After the cheese, I moved on to the sausages and olives. Fra’Mani Handcrafted Foods has a line of Italian salumi created by former Chez Panisse Chef, Paul Bertolli that is yummy!
There was an amazing array of olives displayed at Mani Imports, including a bright green olive that was my favorite. Both Fra’Mani and Mani win the award for the best looking booths. They presented their products with an Italian old world flair that welcomed you in.
On my second day I found an additional hall filled with hundreds of exhibits. It was impossible to see everything, but I wandered along finding interesting foods such as Bolani Afghan Food. Their authentic Potato Bolani (a stuffed flatbread) topped with a variety of spreads & dips were so good, I went back three times for more. Brix Chocolate promotes themselves as Chocolate for Wine. They are on to something, because combining the two is absolutely heaven! They have a book filled with chocolate that makes a nice gift and can be hidden in your library until the moment strikes you!
I attended the Fancy Food show from 10-5 each day, but between tasting, walking and talking, I had not seen it all. That just means I will gladly go again next year. I’m looking forward to seeing some of these new products show up in my local stores.