If ever there is a food lover’s paradise, it’s the Fancy Food Show. Like last year’s show, the Winter Fancy Food Show, held in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, was a smorgasbord of specialty foods – premium chocolate, prosciutto de Parma, cheeses of every provenance, teas, and jelly beans. On Sunday I toured the floor with Heidi of 101 Cookbooks and Garrett of Vanilla Garlic and returned on Monday for more, including a special tasting arranged by the European Union trade association. (More photos can be found on the Flickr photoset.) Here are a few highlights:
Mashti Malone’s on La Brea, a few blocks away from where I grew up in Los Angeles, makes the most exquisite ice creams using rose water infusions. I tasted both their pomegranate sorbet and their lavender ice cream. I’ve never thought use rose water as a flavoring in ice cream, but it’s lovely.
Vili’s Gourmet Meat Pies
Based on a hot tip from Nicole Weston I made my way over to Vili’s Gourmet Meat Pies where these friendly Australian fellows fed me lunch. I tasted 3 pies – a goulash meat pie, a mushroom beef pie, and a curry meat pie. They were all good and the curry meat pie was outstanding. Apparently meat pies are quite popular in Australia, Vili sells tens of thousands of them at soccer and rugby matches. Here in the US they are mainly getting distribution in Irish pubs so far, but looking to break into the stadium food market. Give me a meat pie over stadium nachos any day.
I met the founder Sunil and his brother Ravi last year at the show when they were just starting out and didn’t have distribution. Now Going Native is in places like Wild Oats, Draegers, and even Amazon.com and are continuing to expand. Their products are classic Southeast Asian vegetarian dishes that you can easily re-heat and serve with rice. The Paneer Makhani made with cheese, cashews and tomato sauce is especially creamy and delicious.
Officially called “Truffle Gatherer’s Sauce” and made with truffles and black olives, this new spread by FungusAmongUs reminds me of caviar and would be great on crackers as an appetizer.
Paul Willis, Iowa hog farmer
I stopped by the Niman Ranch booth and had a chat with Paul Willis, the first hog supplier for Niman. (It’s Paul’s red barn on the cover of the Niman Ranch cookbook.) Paul and I talked about the Smithfield Foods article in Rolling Stone and what Paul called the “chickenization” of the pork industry, in reference to how hogs have followed the path of industrialized chicken farming over the last twenty years. When I asked him about the current trends Paul remarked that the only reason that industrialized hog farming has worked economically is government subsidies for corn. Now that ethanol is pushing corn prices up it is putting pressure on industrialized hog production, great news for small providers like Paul who “let their pigs be pigs”.
LightFull Satiety Smoothie
Now here’s an idea. A 90 calorie yogurt smoothie that is loaded with fiber so it fills you up. Something filling that is only 90 calories? I think this product is going to be very popular. I sampled the peach and the strawberry smoothies which were both delicious. You can find LightFull smoothies at Safeways, Whole Foods, and Amazon.com.
More food bloggers review the Fancy Food Show:
Sam Breach’s Fancy Food Show Write-up at Becks and Posh
Garrett’s Write-up in Vanilla Garlic
Nicole Weston’s Impressions at SlashFood
Memorable Eats from C(h)ristine of Muffin Top
Show Notes by Cybele of Candyblog
Yumsugar’s round up part one and Part two
Michael Chu’s write-up at Cooking for Engineers