It’s a tough job but someone had to scour miles upon miles of specialty food items from sweets to savory, teas to probiotic drinks, hams: Serrano, prosciutto to good ole Virginia, pates, caviar, and smoked salmon to let you know what’s hot at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
The NASFT Specialty Summer Fancy Food Show is being held for the 2nd year at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia. The show started off slow with it being Father’s Day but oh so nice for maneuvering the rows and rows of exhibitors in five convention halls. It is an international food show with representation from many countries; Greece, Italy, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Mexico and more. The international delegation of booths was smaller this year with the economy taking its toll.
In the past there have usually been celebrity chefs promoting their products but between Father’s Day and Aspen Food & Wine there were none to be seen with the exception of those walking the show. Chef Carla Hall and Boston’s award winning chef and restaurateur Chef Barbara Lynch were scouting out the new trends and old favorites.
There seemed to be an increase in the sweets, jams and dessert categories but saw a decline in salsas, waters, and spices. Manufacturers are being real clear about gluten-free manufacturing environments and all natural where applicable. More and more purveyors are giving a percentage of profits back to environmental or health causes.
So what do I think is hot! Maple! Maple is a natural sweetener and great partner with bacon and a new tool for cooking. In the first aisle, the new products aisle was Tonewood Maple - offering quality, Mad River Valley, Vermont maple syrup products and creating an eye catching product line with a mission. No artificial flavors. What truly caught my eye was a cube of maple sugar that you shave as a topping for not only your cereals, desserts but with used on ham, pork, chicken and vegetables. In reverse adding savory to sweets is Taffy Town Gourmet Taffy with their maple bacon flavored taffy.
Mouth Party Caramels rated noticing. Simple ingredients done well Mouth Party Caramels offers the standards: original caramels, sea salt caramels, chocolate caramels, and chocolate sea salt caramels. The not so standard caramels: cinnamon caramels, cappuccino caramels, OMG caramels help round out the product line along with caramel sauces. But wait, there are seasonal offerings: dark chocolate raspberry caramels, Old Bay caramels, pumpkin caramels, cinnamon apple caramels, peppermint caramels and what’s this? Maple caramels – like stated earlier, maple is hot.
The clever gadget that caught my eye, that is not to say there weren't others but this was the one that caught my eye. The singular moment when a need blossoms into a product idea always impresses. The entrepreneurship and passion that brings a new item to market never ceases to amaze. Corkcicle, is similar in style to a test tube with a cork that you fill with water and freeze. Once you’ve had your first glass of chilled white wine you put your Corkcicle in the bottle to maintain the optimum temperature. As for your reds, the Corkcicle just chills it down enough for your best enjoyment. Use over and over again.
Grow your own mushroom garden with Back to the Roots using old coffee grounds you can grow 1 ½ pounds of oyster mushrooms in 10 days. Great for kids, its green and it taste good.
Formaticum is a company providing a specially coated paper for properly wrapping your cheese. After spending big dollars for your special cheeses do you really want them to go bad?
The show continues through this Tuesday, July 19th. Next year the NASFT Summer Fancy Food Show moves back to New York City and their old home, the refurbished Jacob Javitts Center June 30th to July 2nd.