What happens when you put 2400 food vendors under one roof, all with samples for tasting and me in the midst of it all? A mind altering, feeding frenzy! I spent Monday at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC and though my feet hurt from hours of walking, my belly was full of all the scrumptious nibbles of specialty fare, and my mind was spinning with lots of new food info.
Wandering for the day with a pregnant friend didn’t help matters. We seemed to find every artisanal ice cream vendor with ease, not that I’m complaining. Hail to the people at Jenis ice cream for their lemon and blueberry frozen yogurt! It was a perfectly creamy combination of tart fresh lemon, swirled with sweet blueberries. The ginger cookie snap ice cream from Phin & Phebes was creamy and spicy with a subtle swirl of yummy lemon frosting. They were definitely two of my favorites.
Cheese was a highlight of the day. Though no particular cheese stood out, I was dumbfounded by how many cheese vendors there were. How much cheese can one person eat? Apparently a lot, because everywhere I turned I was trying a different type of cheese. Representing so many countries, the cheese peeps were so happy to share their story and wedges of their prize-winning cheese. The stinkier the better I always say.
Not surprising, vinegars and oils were everywhere. We approached one Italian balsamic vendor and asked for a taste. We were told they conduct their tastings as a flight, like wine and beer, just much smaller portions. We stood there drinking spoonfuls of delicious balsamic from their entry-level price on up. It was amazing how different each one tasted, a real education of how balsamic comes to be. My favorite vinegar of the day was this truffle balsamic. Where can I buy this stuff?
Being a life long retailer and an even better consumer, I was struck by how beautiful some of the packaging was. Elegantly wrapped chocolates and bottles of vinegar. So much time and effort goes into the design of the product. I found the more specialized and smaller the vendor, the better the packaging. Think gift baskets for the holidays, lovely stuff.
I loved the unfiltered ginger ale from Bruce Cost below. And the peppered bacon from Nueske’s might have been the best bacon I’ve ever had… bacon samples! Also my favorite crackers of the day (below) and are you surprised I found the anchovy guy? Slices of baguette with anchovies – yum! And we sipped the most delicious maple syrup. If you aren’t using the real stuff, you must give it a try. Throw that Log Cabin stuff away.
My final thought of the day was simply – “I love truffles.” White truffles, black truffles, truffle potato chips from Spain, truffled vinegars from Italy, cheese infused with truffles, artisanal salt flakes with truffles… wonderful truffles. We sat with a very well dressed Italian guy who’s company makes only products with truffles. Truffles are their thing and this guy knew his stuff. I learned that Italians find their truffles using dogs, while the French use pigs – which coincidentally doesn’t always work so well. Female pigs love the smell of truffles, they smell a bit testosterone’ish to the pigs, which can result in them just eating the truffles when they find them. I think the Italians might have a one-up on the French in the truffle hunting department. Check out the mountain of truffles below!
I could go on and on, a real food education. I will be going back next year for sure. A day filled with food and more food, what could be better?