Going to the Summer Fancy Food show is like taking your taste buds on Mr Toad’s Wild Ride—Tasting The Globe Edition. The Javits Center is packed with 2500 vendors from all over the world all vying for you to try and buy their specialty food wares. You can go from the finest Venezuelan chocolate to oddly delicious blue cheese infused salami to dried African baobab fruit to black garlic vinegar to camel milk. Yes, this year I had camel milk! You cannot taste everything or you’ll be disgusted, bloated and miserable in no time.
My system is to go all three days for a few hours and eat only savory things for first part of the day and then switch to only sweets. I don’t waste my limited stomach real estate on too many carbs either. This year, I ate my weight in fine pork and even finer cheese products. It was GLORIOUS! Often it’s the same old stuff from year to year, but there are always a few items that stand out:
Uh Oh the Ro Ro’s… The food snob in me did NOT want to even like Ro Ro’s Baking Company’s Cinn-A-Rolls, but D-Zamn!!! They were the cinnamon buns of my dreams. Often they’re too hard, too dry and made with cheap ingredients, but these were standouts especially for a frozen product. You pop them in the oven and you get soft, buttery, syrupy, divine cinnamon rolls. I understand they’re available at Whole Foods — we definitely did not need to know that… They also make dinner rolls that rocked too.
A “mouthgasm” was had by me when I tasted Sabatino Truffle Mac & Cheese. I rarely bother to taste pasta at the show because it’s usually a disappointment and this food snob was geared up to poo-poo yet another fake truffle product. Plus, I was turning my nose up at it because you make it by adding boiling water to some sort of package that contains the sauce and the pasta — so not my style. As soon as this pasta hit my tongue, I swooned. Real truffles, creamy and sexy. I had to not only admit it was very good, but I had to have another sample. I wish I taken home a box.
For my dairy-free, vegan folks, I tried a Nature’s Charm Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk distributed by Family Food Hawaii. What’s not to love? I could imagine making some sort of caramels, a glaze or even Thai iced tea with it. YUM! More coconut milk-based goodness came in the form of vegan caramels were found in the Cocomels by JJ Sweets booth. Cocomels coconut caramels come in original, sea salt, espresso, chocolate dipped and more. I’m eating one right now and can attest to the deliciousness.
I don’t even drink espresso, but I can get behind the need to drink it out of chocolate lined wafer cups from Zia Valentina, a Los Angeles based granita bar. It may not be health food, but It’s environmentally friendly because you eat the entire cup. You can use them for hot chocolate, ice cream, pudding or just eat them. They seem pricey at $45 a dozen retail, but you could just make your own by buying waffle cones and filling them with tempered chocolate.
Speaking of cones, I loved the paté filled cones from Alexian Pate & Terrines. I’d much rather have a cone full of fatty, pureed meaty goodness than an ice cream cone, so I snapped a shot to keep this in mind for a future event. Their pate was good too.
Sweet Joy was the craziest thing I saw at the show. A machine extrudes a corn-based puffed corn product that makes these long curly, swirly shapes that are filled with soft serve ice cream. They were not listed in the Fancy Food directory so I have no idea how to reach them. The corn cones are fantastic looking, but taste like airy nothing. Still, they’d be a HIT at a party. I wonder if you could add some spices in the batter to give them some flavor? I could see them working even better with a savory cheese, fish or meat spread filling. Pimento cheese curlicues FTW! See my Sweet Joy video on Instagram.
Try it, you’ll like it. I sent many people to Masala Pop booth to try the Tamarind Sesame Popcorn with Pappadums. Non-GMO popcorn in a sweet, tangy, spicy tamarind and garam masala coating mixed with bits of pappadums. It’s the owner’s mom’s recipe. So freaking good!
It’s not new, but it definitely caught my eye. During one gluttonous moment, even though I had some Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog goat cheese in my fridge, I stuffed my face with more of it. I did the same with their Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor and Midnight Moon cheeses. It’s difficult to resist so I didn’t even try. They had a new “cheese cake” at the show (pictured). It had little plastic goats grazing on top. Apparently, they are going to be giving away more “cheese cakes” in some sort of nominate-your-friends-to-receive-one promotion via their Facebook page. You may want to LIKE THEM there.