A Visit to the Fancy Food Show

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

The Winter Fancy Food Show at San Francisco’s Moscone Center is like the parable of the blind men and the elephant: depending on which part you explore, your impressions could be wildly different.

With 80,000 specialty foods and beverages from more than 35 countries and regions, it’s impossible to traverse the entire show to see, taste and evaluate everything. I don’t even try.

Instead, I walked the show on the opening day yesterday, keeping an eye out for things that caught my fancy. Like a kid in a candy shop, some restraint is required if you want to avoid making yourself sick by overindulging. I taste sparingly only the foods I’m really interested in for my post. (I make exceptions for good cheeses and prosciutto de Parma.)

In general, I avoid the more mainstream candies and cookies and prepared dishes to concentrate on novelty items – this is, after all, a show of fancy foods. Here are some items I liked:

  • A clever bag to make grilled cheese sandwiches in your toaster – with Toastabags, you Just pop a cheese sandwich into a reusable bag and heat it in your toaster to make lower fat, no-fuss grilled cheese sandwiches. You can also use the bag to reheat pizza. An added bonus: gluten-free family members can share the same toaster, since the bread never touches the heating element. The bags are dishwasher safe and can be reused up to 50 times. From Boska. Suggested retail price is $9.99 for a box of three bags.
  • Gluten free soy sauce – Little Soya is a delicious, naturally brewed, less sodium soy sauce packaged in adorable and portable plastic fish-shaped, mini-bottles (.27 fluid ounces). They come 12 to a box. Suggested retail price per box is $3.99.
  • Flavored sugars – Herb Crystals and Flower Crystals have a crispy, crunchy texture and delicate flavor. They are available in four flavors: basil, mint, fennel and rose. These sugars can be used in sweet and savory applications. With their vibrant color and true flavor, the crystals would make a beautiful and interesting garnish sprinkled on foods, or adhered to the rim of a glass for fancy cocktails. From Fresh Origins Farm.
  • Premium Cocktail Cranberries – These perfect and tasty little berries are meant to garnish fancy drinks but they would be wonderful dressing up desserts, too. There are about 100 to 120 cranberries per jar. Estimated retail is $12.95 for the 8-ounce jar. From Lounge Attire.
  • Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup -- since It takes 16 pounds of fresh tomatoes to make one pound of sun dried tomatoes, a bottle of California Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup packs in the equivalent of over four pounds of Roma tomatoes! This ketchup is sweet, with an intense tomato taste. From Traina Foods. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a 16-ounce bottle is $3.99 to $4.99.
  • Roasted nori crumbles – gimMe Roasted Seaweed Snack Crumbles come in three flavors: Sesame, Honey Dijon and Cheddar Cheese. They can be eaten out-of-hand or used in many ways, such as to top rice, sprinkle on popcorn, or garnish cold soba noodle salad. The crisp seaweed takes well to the Western seasonings. The crumbles are packed in .70-ounce packages with an estimated retail price of $.99 to $1.19.
  • Satsuma tangerine puree from Food Land, a fruit and vegetable processing company in Shizuoka Japan, is not in the market yet. The company hopes to make inroads with chefs first. This wonderfully intense puree is made from the Satsuma tangerine, including skin, pulp and stems.

For more from the Fancy Food Show, follow my tweets on @specialforksndy or follow the twitter stream from #WFFS13 (Winter Fancy Food Show 2013). The 38th annual Fancy Food Show runs from January 20 to 22.

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  2. At the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco
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  4. Chef Tim Luym on Filipino Food
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Posted: Jan 21st by Sandy_Hu