Fancy Food Show Winter 2007

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:

Lavender Rose Ice Cream
Mashti Malone’s
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.

Nutritional tea drinks
Luna and The Republic of Tea
Two great companies, Luna and The Republic of Tea have teamed up to create nutritional tea drinks for women. Very tasty, and just the right sized bottle.

The Boys Eat Their Pies
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.

Going Native
Going Native
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 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.

Truffle Caviar
Truffle Caviar
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
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

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


  1. tannaz

    I love Mashti Malones! I used to work a few blocks from there and get it all the time. As far as rosewater as an ice cream flavoring, ‘akbar mashti’ ice cream, which is really the singular Iranian ice cream flavor (that I know of anyway), is flavored with rosewater, in addition as saffron (not to mention big chunks of frozen heavy cream). Really delicious stuff.

  2. cybele

    Awesome photos (mine rather sucked). I loved the new Mashti’s lavender ice cream (my fave is the Orange Blossom Pistachio).

    I enjoyed tasting all the different sweeteners like agave syrup and honeys.

  3. Mina

    Elise, you grew up near La Brea? Me too! On Formosa Ave! Where did you grow up?

    I was down in L.A. for a wedding reception this past weekend and they had Mashti Malone’s as part of a dessert spread b/c they went there on their first date!

    All of this food looks soooooooooo good.

  4. Rebecca

    Happy to see some fellow Australians bringing our pies to the US! Like most Australians, I grew up eating meat pies everywhere…at home, at school, at the beach, at the pool, in cornershops..Now that I presently live in Canada I miss them alot. They have a singular flavour that I’ve never tasted in anything else and a nice, smooth texture when they’ve been made well. Glad you approve!

  5. Elise

    Hi Tannaz – Isn’t rose water lovely? I wish we had more of a tradition of using it in American cooking.

    Hi Sher – On my first trip to Whole Foods after the show I bought out their supply of the strawberry LightFul Smoothies. Great product, eh?

    Hi Cybele – So many honeys this year! I tried some agave syrup as well and really liked it.

    Hi Mina – Until age 9 I lived on Bronson Ave in the Wilshire District. We still have our house there and it’s fun to go back to visit. I have so many early memories of going to the Farmer’s Market, the La Brea Tarpits. Unfortunately many of the really kitchy places I loved, like that big blue windmill next to the La Brea tar pits, and the Brown Derby restaurant are no longer there. The tasteful has replaced the delightful, at least for kids.

    Hi Fanny – it’s fun isn’t it? Though you almost need to fast for a couple of days before going, so much food.

    Hi C(h)ristine – I think the FungusAmongUs people missed a marketing opportunity by NOT calling it truffle caviar. I mean with a name like that, who could resist? But that is what it tastes like. Yum…

    Hi Rebecca – you don’t by any chance have a good recipe for Australian meat pies do you? especially the curry one? I think I’m going to try my hand at making some using pate brisee pie dough and muffin tins. They were so good.

  6. Melanie

    Meat pies are the Australian equivalent to the hot dog. Generally smothered in tomato sauce (ketchup) or served up in a “pie floater” with mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy.

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