|Opening day crowd. Photo by NASFT, used with permission
That's a convention center full of goodies to sample, discuss, photograph and ponder. I can't believe I covered so much and still missed the guy in the bacon costume or the cheese company making free flip books with participants costumed as over endowed milk maids or saucy cows.
The place was packed and more than a little overwhelming with more than 80,000 products, so I tried to concentrate on just a few subjects and just take the rest in.
Here are just a few of my favorite new-to me products. I'll be featuring more in the coming weeks, but these made a mighty good first impression on me:
Numi Organic Tea's new savory tea line: These are flavorful light vegetable broths I think taste amazingly good and are nice restoratives or refreshers by themselves, I think they would be interesting to work into recipes for everything from soups to curries to aspics. I hope to play with these veggie teas a bit and develop a few recipes. The line is not listed on the website yet. The beverages just use vegetables and seasonings for flavor and do not contain any tea so they are naturally caffeine free. Each variety has five calories or less. Introductory flavors are Tomato Mint, Carrot Curry, Fennel Spice, Spinach Chive, Beet Cabbage and Broccoli Cilantro.Watch for more info from Numi (and me) on this.
Brad's Raw Kale Chips: Kale chips were not hard to find at the show, but these were raw, relatively unprocessed and addictive. I also liked Brad's raw flavored onion rings and the company's zucchini sticks. At some point I realized I was eating an inappropriate amount of samples because they were so tasty. I rationalized it by saying I'd mention them on my blog, so here you go.
Coconut Bliss: This company managed to combine two of the biggest themes I saw on the convention floor -- coconut and salted caramel flavor. Unlike many of the flavor combos involving these trendy tastes, though, Coconut Bliss pulled them off in an amazing vegan ice cream. The flavor is so new it's not on it's website yet, but watch for it in local stores.
Oh, and a special shout out to Hudson Valley for it's rich and delectable foie gras product and for the generosity in which they welcomed (repeat) samplers. (Please go to their site to read about their cage free and other innovative methods of humane raising of the ducks that provide the livers they market.)
Watch for me from me on the show and related goings on. Below are excerpts from the NASFT news release for what it's "trendspotters" saw as up and coming at the show. To see the complete news release, please go here.
Here are NASFT's Top Trends for the 2013 Winter Fancy Food Show:
(I've included my comments in parentheses when I had something to add.)
- Numi Organics: Broccoli Cilantro Tea (see above - you know I agree)
- Wild Poppy Juice Co.: Blood Orange Chili Juice
- The Republic of Tea: Moringa SuperHerb Tea
- Culinary Imports: Stoger Cherry Seed, Chile Seed and Tomato Seed Oils
- La Tourangelle Artisan Oils: Organic Coconut Oil
- Arette Foods: Organic Tea Seed Oil with Sundried Tomatoes & Chili Pepper
Blue Cheese Redux
- Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier: Point Reyes Blue Cheese Wine Grapes (Yes, these were amazing - I know they call them "grapes" but they were bridge-mix size confections.)
- Rogue Creamery: Blue Heaven Blue Cheese Powder
- Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery: Smoked Sterling Bleu Goat Cheese
So Many Seeds
- Enjoy Life Natural Brands: Crunchy Flax Chia Cereal
- K.L. Keller Imports: Dukkah (Egyptian multi-seed seasoning, for more info see this)
- Lundberg Family Farms: Hemp-a-Licious Organic Rice Cakes
- Vosges Haut-Chocolat: Wild Ophelia Peanut Butter & Banana Milk Chocolate Bar,
- PB Crave: CoCo Bananas Peanut Butter (I enjoyed this, too.)
- GoodPop: Frozen Banana Cinnamon Pops
Other trends identified are fruit-infused vinegars, chips with a healthy glow such as fuji apple chips, peppery sweets such as cayenne shortbread, agave, and single-serve sizes.