Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Fancy Food Show 2013: Top of the Line This Year!

By: Anne M. Raso

The Fancy Food Show is a highly beloved event that takes place in the Javits Center in New York each year in late June to early July and anyone interested in the food industry and buy a ticket and attend. Visitors get their money's worth whether they are there on business or just want to sample the world's great foods--some never before seen or tasted in the US. Many vendors come to the Javits in the hopes of getting a distributor so the Fancy Food Show is one of the best ways to try new things or even try to network to work for that company in the US and help take them to the next level.
I have my favorite vendors at the Fancy Food Show each year. My favorite "savory" vendor is Rao's Specialty Foods based out of New York City because I not only fell in love with their legendary eatery at East 116th Street and Pleasant Avenue about 20 years ago (where it's next to impossible to get a table due to the regulars having reserved tables every night and its small size) but because I am grateful to be able to take one of their homemade sauces home from the supermarket each week for $10. I tried their Roast Eggplant sauce for the first time at the Fancy Food Show this past Sunday but was equally pleased with the new sauce they were launching at the show--Four Cheeses! For more info, go to raos.com.
My favorite "sweet" vendor is Divine Delights, Inc. of Petaluma, CA. I am a lover of petit fours and they are generally hard to come by unless you are a regular attendee of teas at fancy hotels or make your own (and it takes a lot of patience to ice all those tiny layers). I have written about Divine Delights twice before here at financefoodie.com and their holiday petit fours are as fun to look at as they are to eat. There are wonderful fillings like raspberry, finely ground hazelnut, vanilla buttercream and more--all home made. Check out divinedelights.com for the many shapes and sizes their petit fours come in and you might just fall in love with the mice and the ladies' hats shapes like I did.
Divine Delights
My new discoveries at this year's show that I really enjoyed were Foco Coconut Water (love the new Lychee variation although the Pink Guava is drop dead great as well). They are definitely worth checking out at golocoforfoco.com because it is one of the few 100 per cent pure and all natural coconut waters out there. This was probably the only 100 per cent healthy item I imbibed at the show, as I must have eaten thirty or forty samples of everything from ginger candy to Spanish olives to pistachio cardamom espresso chip gelato! Speaking of olives, the Fancy Food Show has hundreds of varieties and many colors of olives you have probably never seen before, many of which are from Spain--which is one of the reasons I check out the Spanish section each year.
Foco Coconut Water
I enjoyed sampling the peanut butter from my #1 peanut butter source, New York's own Peanut Butter & Company (see ilovepeanutbutter.com to learn more about their products and store in Greenwich Village). I also ate enough chocolate to kill off Willy Wonka, especially Koppers, which are kind of a high-class M&M made here in New York (for more info, go to koppersonline.com). I also had to check out Bindi Desserts, a worldwide-based company that supplies fantasy desserts to hundreds of Manhattan eateries via its New Jersey branch (see bindiusa.com). There were so many chocolate places I hit up, it wasn't funny (the key to finding the great ones is to look for the Belgium section but there were numerous great American brands as well). On the opposite spectrum of things, I enjoyed checking out the wonderful spices and boxed Indian convenience foods from House Of Spices. I sampled their wonderful snacks called Bombay Bites but was amazed at the power of the Crushed Red Chilies (I got what I deserved when I tasted this "straight")!
Bindi Desserts
The Fancy Food show just continues to amaze me this year. I think it beats out any other show at the Javits. It is impossible to visit all 500 or 600 vendors even if you go all three days of the show--and it's always fun to check out the NAFST Awards Show and after-party featuring the foods of the winners and their competition. For more general info on the Fancy Food Show (which also takes place in other cities annually) go to www.specialityfood.com.

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