Bursting with the flavor of herbs and roasted pork, this deli-style porchetta surprised and amazed me. Parmacotto products are sold in Costco stores – though I’ve yet to see the porchetta there. Why not? I would easily be seduced into buying a 10-lb warehouse package!
Bellweather Farms fresh ricotta
I was just in Sicily last November and swooned over the fresh ricotta cheese – nothing like the grainy, flavorless versions usually found in the U.S. Now Bellweather Farms has captured that fresh, Italian taste perfectly with their whole-milk ricotta – and they’ve even formed it in baskets, Sicilian-style. Available at Whole Foods.
Saba, from Terra Sonoma
Saba-saba-do! Terra Sonoma cooks down grape must (left behind from the wine crush) for hours to make this rich, concentrated culinary syrup. It would be equally good drizzled over fruit or roasted meats. Available online or at Williams-Sonoma.
The new Asian version of Taste #5 Umami Paste
I like this Asian, vegetarian version of Taste #5 (should they call it Taste #6?) even better than the original version. Chef Morimoto had a hand in the creation, and notes of lemongrass, soy sauce and other tastebud-popping ingredients left me wanting more.
Sweet Olive Jam, from Greece
I’m a sucker for foods that defy convention – and Sweet Olive Jam is a perfect example. It was just one of many unusual spreads (apricot and almond, for example) from Mt. Vikos that are made to pair with cheeses. Available online.
Fomz - Fruit foams, with just 4 calories per serving
These not-too-sweet fruit foams are a food-service product, designed primarily to be drink toppers. But after sampling Fomz, I thought they’d be great on fresh fruit or yogurt, squirted on a graham cracker or granola bar – or just slurped off my finger! With just 4 calories per 2 tablespoons, they pack a lot of flavor for the diet-conscious.
High Road, a very adult ice cream - this flavor with bourbon
There were plenty of ice creams on show, but two stood out for their remarkable mouth-feel and deep, complex flavor combinations. Interestingly, both were developed by chefs. High Road had some killer flavors, including Mango-Chili-Lime sorbet and a wicked Brown-Butter Praline – but my favorite was the nicely balanced Bourbon-Burnt Sugar, with both Maker’s Mark and bourbon vanilla, for good measure.
Fox & Swan, another very adult icecream - Thai-curry-coconut was my favorite
Brand new brand Fox & Swan has also churned up some bold and unusual flavors – but blended them beautifully. I just kept asking to try more of them because each was delish. The Thai Curry Coconut really won my heart, though. They got it just right, with a play of sweet, spicy, lush and exotic. The company is so new, they don’t even have much info on their website – but believe me, you’ll be hearing more from them!
Mushroom Alchemy, from Wine Forest Fine Foods
Another little hit of umami, this time from the Wine Forest folks, foragers extraordinaire and authors of “The Wild Table” (foreword by – ahem – Thomas Keller). They had lots of goodies at the show, including their Wild Elderberry Shrub, another winner. But really, don’t you just love the name, “Mushroom Alchemy?!”
Marinated Sheep & Goat Cheese
As my palate started to lag, I asked one of the cheese importers what he had that was a “don’t miss.” He heaped some of this marinated sheep and goat cheese on a cracker – and wow! Sure, it doesn’t look too good in my photo, but trust me, it was delicious. Nice olive oil and the cheese was a perfect, light texture to mingle with it – not hard like most marinated cheeses. Made by Meredith Farms and imported from…Australia!
Ready-made drinking chocolate, from City Bakery
My pal, the wonderful photographer Maynard Switzer, introduced me to the City Bakery in New York. They serve wicked hot chocolate and even wickeder house-made pastries. I was excited to see they’ve bottled up the chocolate magic in a ready-to-drink format. Equally good hot or cold – if you’re willing to risk addiction. (Good god! Just looked at their website and the mothership is having a Hot Chocolate Festival this month, with a different flavor every day!)
Superlative spreads, from The French Farm
If there’s one thing the Fancy Food Show has too much of, it’s jams, jellies and preserves. But these intense and different products from the French Farm made me a believer: confits of violet, lavender or rose petals; banana flambe; coconut and passion fruit; plus many more I couldn’t squeeze into the photo. The company imports a great number of products, including Fallot mustards.
Fresh Iberico Pork
You may know jamón ibérico de bellota, the Spanish ham made from special pigs that forage for acorns. If you don’t, trust me – you want to. Fresh ibérico pork, branded as Ibérico Fresco is also imported to the U.S. now, where it’s mostly snapped up by restaurants and Japanese grocery stores. I particularly like the neck cuts, which were infused with the flavorful ibérico fat.