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Sunday
Jun212015

Upcoming: The 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show

It's time for the 61st Annual Fancy Food Show in NYC!
For specialty foods ranging from hand-pickled vegetables in Italy to couscous dishes from Jordan, plus innovative products, seminars, food celebrity sightings, and more, this is the place to be this summer. Held in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center, it's a sight to behold each year. Thousands of people attend, participate, and mingle--and the types of new foods one can discover is nearly endless.
This year's sofi Awards are being hosted by Ted Allen of the Food Network. Yes! Exciting! Oh, so what if he's a smoker and takes "Chopped" too seriously? That's his job. Anyhow, I'm excited to see how he speaks--and see what the awards show has to offer. See more on the awards show here, and don't miss out on the prepared foods served after the show. Restaurants and local products alike will be available for tastings following the trophy presentation.
Remember--there's a North Hall as well, with many more treats from organic companies, Scotland, Switzerland, and more! It tends to be less crowded over there, allowing for more genuine interactions and a more personal food experience. Plus, there's always a chocolate fountain, ice cream bars, and shortbread in that hall--just in case you have a sweet tooth.

See here for registration, and the ETR team will look forward to seeing you next week!
Dates:
Sunday, June 28: 10AM-5PM
Monday, June 29: 10AM-5PM
Tuesday, June 30: 10AM-4PM
Wednesday
Feb182015

Upcoming: The 2015 International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York

Next month starts the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York! Held Sunday, March 9, through Tuesday, March 10, the 2015 dates are sure to pack an exciting and educational punch. For these three days you can enjoy educational seminars, cake tastings, barista and pastry competitions, Japanese specialty foods, local artisanal products, and much more. 

You'll see a full show recap--as soon as we get back from the specialty cake tasting, that is.

Details:

Sunday, March 8   10:00 am - 5:00 pm 
Monday, March 9   10:00 am - 5:00 pm  
Tuesday, March 1-  10:00 am - 4:00 pm  

All Seminars and Demos are held at the Jacob Javits Center

655 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

Find more information on this year’s New York International Food & Restaurant Show, visit http://www.internationalrestaurantny.com/

Wednesday
Jul162014

Event Review: The 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show

We’ve all been eating salad since the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show the other week, and as usual, the sampling of foods was impressive and delightful. Well, not everything was delightful, but most qualified! Teas, spices, condiments, and more in a rainbow of colors greeted us at the Fancy Food Show 2014

The dominant trends this year? Popcorn (not surprising) and dulce de leche (where’d that one come from?).

With three-quarters of the ETR team in attendance, we were able to cover quite a lot of foodstuff(s) in all three of the Jacob Javits Center areas: The upper floor, lower floor, and North Hall. From Argentinean grains to traditional Italian prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella, and Alaskan smoked salmon to Long Island honey, there was more than the stomach could hold. 

Popcorns were oversaturating the FFS market, though flavors like truffled pecorino, buffalo ranch, and cookies ‘n’ cream made it all okay. Most of the caramels and dulce de leches were just too sickly sweet, and had little to no depth. We also saw a lot of cookie spreads—even Dave’s Gourmet [hot sauce] company had one—and so many types of lackluster brownies. On the other hand, brownies are one of those treats that is so delicious whether homemade or from a 99-cent package, that maybe they shouldn’t even be tampered with. We never thought we'd say this, but there was way too much dulce de leche and caramel at the show. Most was too sickly sweet
But quite a few foods did impress us, either with taste or with clever brand partnering.
                      

-Gelato Fiasco from Maine had the best frozen treat we’ve had in a while. Smooth, creamy, decadent, flavorful, unique, and at times even velvety. They sell from two stores in Maine as well as in specialty grocery stores. Delicious!

-Cascina Pizzavacca - Pisaroni Mauro e Bruno, a very small husband-and-wife company from Italy, had me sample all of their hand-packaged nectars (Nettare di Mirtillo, tropical, pera William, etc.) from their own orchard. Fresh? That’s an understatement, since the just-bottled jars had visible fruit from the orchard sticking to the bottle tops. Bold natural colors, flavors, and down-home real goodness came right through. Plus, they were as nice as could be. White peach, cherry, plum, and more…plus their own variety of lightly pickled vegetables. I couldn’t ask for more! Pasta being properly twirled and served hot, fresh, and al dente

-Swiss Colony, a company known for holiday gifts like petit fours, recently created new flavors in their efforts to attract a younger audience. Introducing ICEE- and Jelly Belly-flavored petite fours, with flavors like raspberry or blueberry lemonade. They tasted true to themselves. I barely swallowed my bite.

-Liquids in caviar form. With a lot of free time for molecular gastronomy floating around (apparently), companies seem big on putting regular liquid condiments into little-ball form—like Sapore Italiano Oils and Vinegars. Case in point: Olive oils, balsamics, vinegars, and more. The texture is not pleasant, unfortunately. What’s next—Knorr chicken stock caviar? Maui Fruit Jewels--basically candy on a stick. Yum!

-Honeys were big again this year, but one company that stood out was Cloister Honey. They packed a punch in their offerings, making for sweet and savory spoonfuls using ghost peppers, bourbon, and more, all packed in clean, simple, and classy glass bottles.

There were plenty of quinoa/almond/seed milks, waters made from fruits and nuts, and bean/seed/nut crackers and chips. The innovation was either sorely lacking, or else everyone else who thought they were being innovative had a dozen competitors who were doing the exact same thing. Thus, innovation was lacking. And cheese straws…really, who eats those things?!

The sofi Awards rushed by this year, with a lot of time spent honoring longtime NASFT members and grandmaster tastemakers, and less time on award winners (no speeches). The after-party featured fewer restaurants and more actual show products.

Mr. Ansel hosting the sofi Awards. Eh. The Eat This Review team had a great time at the show, and one of our favorite parts was actually the Taste NY pavilion and press eatery. As proud New Yorkers (that means state, not just city!), we were quite happy to see cheeses, cookies, wines, and so much more featured in the aisles. In addition, a lovely breakfast and lunch was served every day of the Fancy Food Show 2014, and it featured NYS dressings, produce, meats, and more. Reubens were grilled by chefs, and delicious varieties of salad and cheeses (burrata!) made lunch quite delicious indeed. Taste NY spread the word about this little-known press eatery, and I’m greatly looking forward to taking them up on possible press trip and event collaborations. With a Taste NY rest stop opening right in the town where I grew up (near Poughkeepsie, NY, on the Taconic State Parkway), I’m interested in learning more about amazing foods sourced right nearby. It’s all part of a $60 million dollar tourism campaign that makes me dislike Governor Cuomo a bit less.

See you next year, Fancy Food Show!   

 

Friday
May302014

Upcoming: The Fancy Food Show 2014, NYC

The 60th Fancy Food Show 2014, New York City

It’s June, which could only mean one thing: The Fancy Food Show is nearly here! This year’s three-day show will take place Sunday, June 29th, through Tuesday, July 1st. Hailed as North America’s largest specialty food & beverage event (let’s just say it’s big), this top-rated show offers an incredible selection in sweets, cheeses, snacks, coffees, meats, ice creams, beverages, and so much more. New products, vendors from over 75 countries, state specialties, and more will keep you entertained for days. In addition, the sofi Awards, educational programs, extra halls, and special new product showcases will hold your interest—and weigh down your poor tummy.

Though Expo West in California was an incredible experience far outweighing even Fancy Food Show expectations, we expect this year to be enjoyable as always. Though lacking anything near the square footage and number of attendees, there’s something comfortable about walking into the always-familiar and still terribly designed Javits Center, and knowing you can always find new morsels from Jordan, cheeses from Italy, and fruits from Chile that can’t been samples or learned about anywhere else.

This year’s sofi Awards is hosted by Dominique Ansel. Yes, the cronut inventor. Is it a bit of a letdown from last year’s Marcus Samuellson, and 2011’s Cat Cora? Absolutely, but perhaps they’ll at least serve cronuts at the after-party. No, really, they better.

What will the trends be this year? More cherries? More gluten-free goods? Or perhaps something new? We’re excited to see what new produce, seasoning, and taste sensations will debut in American markets in the next few years, and this is the place to find just that.

Whether you’re coming as a buyer, retailer, inventor, journalist, or media specialist, you’re guaranteed to love your time at the show.


The Summer Fancy Food Show

Jacob Javits Center, New York City

All halls will be open for tasting, buying, judging, and more, including the Javits North Hall

 

Sunday, June 29: 10AM-5PM

Monday, June 30: 10AM-5PM

Tuesday, July 1: 10AM-4PM

 

Tuesday
Apr012014

Expo West: The Food Show to End All Food Shows

The 2014 Natural Products Expo West was, quite frankly, the best food show Eat This Review has ever been to. Taking place in Anaheim, California, the show featured nearly 3,000 exhibitors (it was their biggest year yet) in the natural, organic, gluten-free, vegan, eco-friendly, hippie-worthy, cavemen-would-have-eaten-this-if-they-were-rich-and-shopped-at-Whole-Foods divisions.

Aside from food, companies selling vitamins, massage chairs, skin products, pet foods, camping items, and more were there. To give you an idea of just how large this show was, pre-registered and approved press stood on a line for 45 minutes just to get in. Press! We're talking big. And they ran out of press bags on day 1.

Established companies such as Stonyfield, Annie's, and Naked were there, along with massive displays from companies we were less familiar with: Daiya, Luvo, Derma/e Skin Care, Van's Gluten Free, and Nature's Bakery--just to name a few. While most companies exhibited in the main hall, overflow products also expanded into the arena next door, the main downstairs hall, the ghost room on the 3rd floor (it was fairly empty), and the awesome mom-and-pop main hall near the press room on the 3rd floor. This is where many of our favorite products were, because these were companies that were newer, were startups, and were truly innovative.

 

Though there were education sessions and product innovations seminars, the sample floor was still the main draw. Two standout items that immediately caught our attention were products created by wife-husband pairs, while other products we loved were well-established companies with new products to announce.

 

-Bee-Free Honee, which makes a honey-type treat from apples, had an impressive and delicious line of interesting flavors while being completely vegan.

 

-Neat quite impressed us by offering a meat substitute made from almonds. You add eggs, sautee, and serve what taste delicious--and convincingly like meat!

 

-Though there were quite a few yogurt companies at the show, few captured our tastebud-influenced hearts like Noosa. They had solid flavor profiles (strawberry rhubarb, anyone?), attractive packaging, and friendly staff.

 

-Speaking of friendly staff, it's hard to beat the guys at Wiley's Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil. This family-owned business is passionate about making sure you get your sustainably harvested Omega 3s--and the team is pretty darn funny, too.

 

-Blue Avocado's recycled, durable "plastic" baggies and totes are laundry washable and pretty cool looking. Bye-bye, Ziploc.

 

-JC's Pie Pops gave us a delicious, albeit inappropriately sweet, breakfast of ice cream in pie flavors on a stick. I'm not whining.

 

-Beanitos chips came out with a new chili & lime puff that's really fantastic. Then again, their chipotle BBQ ain't shabby, and neither is...well, come on, all their flavors are delicious! You can smell that they're made o' beans, but the taste is 100% awesome (and decent for you!).

 

Cold-pressed juices, "garden" proteins, glass bottle gear, and bean-based noodles were all popular items at the show, and while there were quite a few losers, there was also some darn good food that would almost make me feel less bad for those with Celiac's Disease.

 

Bob from Bob's Red Mill was there, Amy and her company-founding parents were there (with perhaps the most delicious vegetarian sausage pizzas, Thai curries, new breakfast sandwiches, and more), Cat Cora worked her booth, and others from the food world showed up. It was truly a food show to remember, and I have to think that aside from the awesome international flavors available, the Fancy Food Show will pale a bit in comparison. So enjoyable, so much innovation, so many delicious new products to review, and so many days until the ETR team can do it all over again.

Photography by Victor Vic Photo and Kathryn Cooper Photography