Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 10 of 100

1 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t ANDY'S PLATE AT THE END OF JANUARY EVERY YEAR, when most people are digging out of snow drifts and fighting howling winds, many members of the food industry are slogging through the Winter Fancy Food Show produced by the Specialty Food Association in San Francisco's massive Moscone Center. As they make their way down the crowded aisles, they are tasting samples of everything from candy-coated dehydrated bananas to heavily spiced hot sauce. It is a gauntlet thrown down for even the most intrepid gourmand. Fortifying oneself with Zantac, Tums or some similar emolument is essential before hitting the trail that leads from mustard to raspberry preserves to pancake syrup to pickled mushrooms. There are 1,400 exhibitors in the two chambers of the giant exhibition hall, and you have two and half days to get through them. As an extra challenge, they are not organized in any helpful manner. Sweet stuff, spicy stuff, cheese, chocolates, tea, mixers, cookies, honey, salty snacks and nuts are lined up one after the other with no apparent attempt at organization. The exhibitors run the gamut from giant food companies, to mom-and-pop operators who are at the show for the first time because they developed a killer (they think) taco sauce in their home kitchen. Some of these folks are probably making their one and only appearance at this show as reality deflates their dreams of culinary success, accompanied by multiple orders and a financial tsunami. The people marching up and down the aisles have a gourmet store in central Ohio or coastal North Carolina and are searching for the items that will set them apart from other grocery stores in their vicinity. This show is the one opportunity for them to see all the potential products that are out there and pick the ones that might attract people to their stores. The enormous pressure to make the right deci- sions in the short time provided can definitely take the fun out of the whole experience. By the end of the third day everyone is exhausted, ready to return home and lie down someplace quiet, warm and far from the kitchen. There were many trends that seemed to be de- veloping among the purveyors at this year's show. "Gluten-free" is a common descriptor on many pack- aged goods. Although only one percent of Americans have celiac disease and fewer than ten percent have a gluten sensitivity, "gluten-free" is the latest buzz phrase for many trend-following consumers. "Non-GMO" is another hot descriptor, even though there is no proof that genetically modified or- ganisms are harmful. Actually, GMOs may be instrumental in solving world hunger issues. Nonetheless, people think "gluten- free" and "non-GMO" foods are healthier. Other trends that are quite popular are "organic," which has been around for at least a decade or two, "paleo," a relatively new fad, and "vegan." Thanks to the proliferation of su- shi and ramen restaurants, Japanese foods and Japanese ingredients are hot. So is apple cider vinegar and drinks that include this healthy additive. Teas are showing lots of ver- sions that include turmeric, another current darling of the health-obsessed. Tropical fruits—particularly mangoes and goji ber- ries are trending. Hatch peppers from the Southwest are hot—both as a trend and due to their incendiary flavors. Whole grains and savory baked goods are on the rise. Crunchy snacks are, as always, available in large numbers and variable styles. Some of the best (and healthiest) are falafel chips made by Flamous with 21 herbs, vegetables, spices and legumes. These are especially excellent with hummus. Another winner is a line of crunchy chips made in Holland called "Say YES to NO." The best of these is flavored with real Gouda cheese. Speaking of cheese, the Cheesy Puffs made by Fuller Foods are sensational, especially the blue cheese and jalapeño version. Another hot trend is "probiotic." The Harmless Harvest coconut water company has managed to combine their water with probiotics and fruit. But not everything is new. Some of the best things at the show are classic products that have been made the same way for decades. The one that come immediately to mind are the amazing shortbread cookies made in Scotland by Walkers. Just natural flour, butter and sugar—they are still the most delicious cookie in the world. The Summer Fancy Food Show will be held at New York City's Javits Center, June 25–27. For more information go to www. by Anthony Dias Blue Gourmet Gauntlet TRACKING TASTES, TRENDS AND TRADTIONS AT THE FANCY FOOD SHOW PHOTO COURTESY OF SPECIALTY FOOD ASSOCIATION Fourteen hundred exhibitors showcase their products each year at San Francisco's Winter Fancy Food Show. Walkers Shortbread is a classic that has been made the same way for decades. PHOTO COURTESY OF WALKERS ■cr

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of CleverRoot - CleverRootSpring2017