This year, the Fancy Food Show organizers sent some “food experts” into the aisles to name their top trends, which turned out to be:
Black garlic – part of the “Food is the New Black” trend I spotted
- Good-for-you foods (Yawn! This is not exactly news.)
- Coconut (I did spot several coconut-based drinks, particularly non-fat coconut water, but I wouldn’t say it took the show by storm.)
- Gluten-free (Agree. “Death to gluten!” seems to be the new industry cry.)
- Exotic citrus (OK, there was some yuzu here and there, but the exhibition floor wasn’t exactly flooded with real exotics like Buddha’s hand. No exotic dancers, either, BTW.)
- Nostalgic foods (I spotted one classic candy that’s back in a big, upscale way. Read on!)
- Out of nowhere this year, came what I’m dubbing “luxury licorice,” a stodgy candy making a trendy comeback, via slick packaging, clever shapes and Euro-cachet. Prime example? Black Heart, in the shape of…hearts – in hip, goth packaging. Or if you prefer cute, there’s Kookaburra Gourmet Licorice, from Australia.
- Aged black garlic has hit the consumer market – and you might mistake it for licorice, at least in looks and texture. The garlic flavor is less intense and much sweeter than fresh garlic. I can see why some chefs have gone gaga for it.
- Dark, European-style hot chocolates are finally catching on in the US. I liked the Monbana entry, from France – but there’ll be plenty to choose from.
- Bedazzled by all the types of honey out there? Don’t fret, Savannah Bee Company has got you covered, with Cheese Honey, Tea Honey and Grill Honey.
- Not sure how to pair chocolate and wine? Brix makes three different intensities of chocolate and tells you exactly which wines to serve them with (milk=pinot noir; extra-dark=cabernet).
Attack of the chickpeas!Chickpea chips, aka hummus chips, aka falafel chips, seemed to be everywhere I turned. Producers were touting “no gluten” (of course – “Death to gluten!”), higher fiber and higher protein. There were entries from Flamous, Plocky’s and others, plus lentil chips from the Mediterranean Snack Food Co.
Superfruits and more superfruitsThree years ago, nobody had heard of goji berries. This year, they’re getting stuffed into everything. One product line I liked was the goji berry cookies from Goji Gourmet, little bite-sized goodies packed with flavor.
Baconmania still sizzles…Will it ever fizzle?
- Bacon envelopes, bacon lip balm, bacon popcorn – all from J&D’s. You’ve gotta like these guys – they even let the Bottomless Pit (my husband) try on their bacon costume. And the bacon-flavored glue on their new envelopes is a hoot. Or an oink.
- Kurobuta (aka Berkshire) bacon, from Snake River Farms tasted wonderfully meaty, with deep flavor.
- Salmon “bacon” – called Alaskabits, from Alaska Seafood Co., is taking on Big Pig. Are they swimming upstream??
Truffle kerfluffleSeveral truffle purveyors were flaunting fresh black truffles, zaftig ones at that. But a plethora of truffle cheeses – even one from the US (Truffle Tremor), truffled popcorn (479°) and other trufflicious products (La Rustichella offered a huge line of truffle spread, sauces, rice, polenta vinegar, oil and honey) mean the funky fungus is here to stay.
The US finds cheeses (say it out loud)It was really exciting to see all the US artisan cheese producers at this year’s show. Cowgirl, of course, and some tasty offerings from Bellwether Farms (loved their buttery cow’s milk Carmody and their sheep’s milk yogurt!). But there were plenty of others, making it worth not totally gorging at the European cheese section. Check back tomorrow, to see the innovative products I wish I’d thought of. Like what I have to say? Subscribe to my RSS feed and spread the word with Twitter!