June 30 – July 2, 2013 (New York City)
Held at the Javits Center in NYC, the Fancy Food Show is a food lover’s paradise. You can sample food offerings from over 2,500 exhibitors, representing countries from all around the world. What is particularly awesome is that most of the food sampled is conveniently available through purchase online or from a local nearby grocery store (such as a Whole Foods or a Shop Rite).
It can be an overwhelming experience for first timers, but it’s a very civilized experience compared to other conferences such as Book Expo or NY Comic Con where attendees swarm like the zombies from Brad Pitt’s World War Z film for the freebies and giveaways.
Most Important Advice
Pace yourself. Fight off the urge to sample EVERYTHING. Especially avoid trying every cheese as that will fill you up pretty quickly and deny you the opportunity of sampling a variety of tastings.
Do also take some time to appreciate some of the booths pretty unique and eye-catching designs as well as their product packaging.
Such as the chocolate-made shoes and handbags of Sweet Shop USA:
The beautiful vine-shaped balsamic vinegar bottle holder from Fattorie Giacobazzi:
The GoGo Squeez Apple Sauce tree:
The Ginger People Gin-Gins:
The jeweled offerings from Koppers:
And the new launch of Jelly Belly’s gift line featuring Mickey and friends:
Do also try to predict your future by getting a fortune cookie from Lady Fortunes:
Or try some fancy New Moon and/or Eclipse chocolate from Dagoba (the company insists that the chocolates were named way before the Twilight series):
Best soy sauce
Modenaceti Soy Glaze. Sooo good on vegetable dumplings that I had to get a sample each day of the show.
Best stir-fry sauce (and best demo!)
Blue Dragon’s Szechuan Pepper Stir-Fry Sauce. The Asian chef (who had an Australian accent, but was currently living in England) prepared the stir-fry sauce with chicken. As you can see it was served sizzling from the frying pan. Quick and easy to prep as advertised! And yummy!
GoFusion. Tried both the Braised Teriyaki and Peking Chicken samples. Even with the bite-sized samples I could taste the explosion of flavors.
Maya Kaimal’s Spinach Saag Masala. Will satisfy that craving for something spicy and flavorful!!
Java Peppers from Indonesia. As exotic tasting as it sounds.
JK Food’s Roasted and Seasoned Laver Snack (red package). Perfectly made and served by a sweet-looking, matronly Asian woman rolling pieces of seaweed with rice to make small rice balls. The seaweed tasted of shrimp and sesame and had an incredible crunch to it. A must-buy!!
Delimanjoo cream cakes. Fresh-baked pastry; comes with various fillings such as custard (which is the most common) or raisins. It is like tasting a bit of heaven. Plus it is fish-shaped—how cute is that?!? Genius!
Best cheese (and best Mac & Cheese)
Beecher’s Handmade Flagship Cheese. Have been to the Flatiron location in NYC (where they are not stingy about allowing you to taste all of their different cheeses!) to just purchase some cheese, but now must try out the restaurant portion of the store as well.
Best flavored cheese
Snowdonia Cheese Company’s ginger spice cheese. Really soft cheese that seems to melt in your mouth, but the ginger spice flavoring is something that I can honestly say that I’ve never tasted before.
Best ice cream
A tie. Jeni’s Goat Cheese with Red Cherries and Gelato Fiasco’s Caramel Sea Salt. Jeni’s tasted smooth and seemingly healthy and refreshing; whereas Gelato Fiasco’s was absolutely decadent. Also, the Gelato Fiasco’s jar is made of plastic, not glass. Keeper!!
Best ice cream topping
Somebody’s Mother’s Chocolate Sauce (White Chocolate sauce). Delish! Tried a sample all three days over vanilla ice cream.
Kentucky Woods Bourbon Barrel Cake. Bourbon in a brown sugar and chocolate cake with chocolate and caramel bourbon cream drizzled over bourbon-glazed walnuts. Smooth!
Best pasta sauce
Chef Silvio’s Sunday Sauce. Tastes like how Italian pasta sauce should—traditional and Old World.
De la Estancia’s Organic Polenta. It tasted very sweet and it melted easily in your mouth. One of the best polenta that I have ever eaten and I have eaten quite a lot of polenta.
Tiptree’s Lemon Curd. Delicious. Tasted just like candy!
Best tea (overall)
Twinings. First off, great booth! They had several tea stations with a generous variety of tea tastings. Most fun was the holiday tea offering. I particularly liked Winter Spice. Nothing beats the summer heat as celebrating Christmas in July.
The Republic of Tea’s Decaf Coconut Cocoa. So good it tasted like ice cream!
Dazbog’s roasted coffee is unbelievably good. You can taste the roasted grounds. It tastes the way real coffee should. Plus they have a great biographical story that you can read here:
GuS (Grown Up Soda)’s Extra Dry Ginger Ale. Refreshing and makes you believe it’s good for you!!
Portal del Alto Sauvignon Blanc (pale yellow coloring with hints of grapefruit and citrus; very refreshing wine with an aromatic finish):
Portal del Alto Four Reds (intense ruby red color with slight, spicy afternotes)
Hanging Vine Pinot Noir 2012 with Seth Greenberg’s Brownie Crunch Jalapeno. Seems like a strange combo, but it works and finishes with a zing!
P.S. And don’t forget to grab some swag!