Monday, January 26, 2009

Even More Fancy Food Show – Winter 2009

This is the final installment of the Fancy Food Show miniseries.

Most Beautiful

I already told you about the beautiful California Wine Wafers; here are some other beautiful products.

Hannah’s Delights displays their goods in the same corner of the convention hall every year. I can always count on seeing their spectacular display of hand-pulled hard candy along with their collection of Sofi Awards. It’s heartwarming to see a company keep this lost art alive.

I wish I remember which booth Jodi and I saw the most beautiful pita bread ever. The vendor of this booth told us that they unleashed a couple of florists with their products and they came up with the creative idea of making roses from pita bread.

Photo by Jodi

Stephanie found some gorgeous macaroons from Cocola Bakery from nearby Redwood City, CA:

Photo by Stephanie

Photo by Stephanie

We all howled when we read the label of this pasta:

Before there are any ruffled feathers, I just want to go on record that I adore my mother-in-law.

New Unusual Products

Obama Cookies Since it was two days before the inauguration, our favorite, most apropos, new product is the Obama-Biden bag of cookies by Parker’s Crazy Cookies. We all promised to bring our bag to Dakota Angel’s inauguration breakfast, but I’m not sure any of us remembered.

Parker will custom-make a cookie based on any photograph and he also offers a line of holiday, celebration and university cookies. Can sports cookies be far behind?

Spice Rub Sheets or Seasoning Blends? There was one product line that truly divided us. None of use can remember the product or vendor name, but it might have been Flavor Magic.

Photo from

When I sent out an e-mail to my co-reviewer saying that I thought it was the worst product of the show, I had a mini revolution on my hands. This product offers various spice blends fused to sheets of plastic. You then place your moistened meat, fish, or poultry on a sheet, cover, and then let it marinate. The seasonings will fully transfer within 30 minutes to two hours and then you can throw away the plastic and cook as usual. Many of us thought it was a clever convenience because everyone can choose a flavor and it is a very tidy means to apply a rub.

I personally object to the use of throwaway plastic when there are lots of delicious ready-made spice rubs on the market that you just shake out of a glass jar. Lesley Elizabeth makes over thirty blends of spices (my favorite was the Mango Fruit Salsa – just add fresh mango cubes).

Edith Schneider likes to blend her own spices thus she was not interested in either product.
Qzina Pastry Spoons Dakota Angel and Edith discovered Qzina’s pastry shells shaped like spoons that were neutral in flavor so that you can serve either savory appetizers or sweet desserts in them.

Photo by

San Gennaro Cheese Grits Linda enjoyed some Southern style cheese grits patties by San Gennaro Foods
Photo from

Minglirs Stir Sticks

I was grateful that Minglirs handed out samples to try at home. My mother and I tried a hazelnut-flavored stir stick in our coffee this morning and we were amazed how much flavor was imparted and how good it tasted! They also offer caramel and vanilla flavors for coffee and cinnamon, peppermint, and raspberry for cocoa. I personally would like to try the cinnamon in coffee. This is a great travel product – no liquids involved.

Photo by Minglirs

Minglirs uses birch wood and also offers seasoned skewers, flavored grilling planks. Beverages We each had our favorite beverage products.

Rishi Tea

Photo by Stephanie

Stephanie was delighted by “the great variety of teas offered by Rishi Tea from Wisconsin, of all places. The owner sources all his teas directly from small growers in Japan, China and India. They had an incredible variety of green and black teas, plus rooibos ‘red tea’, which is caffeine-free, and Japanese genmai chai with roasted rice.”

Photo by Stephanie
Drinkable Vinegar Dakota Angel’s favorite beverage was a drinkable vinegar drink from South Korea. She didn't get the vendor name, but it might have been this.

Photo from Asia Food Journal

It is recommended that you drink this with a straw because vinegar is not kind to your tooth enamel.

Linda, my favorite water snob friend, loved a Canadian water product in a gorgeous 8 oz. art deco bottle, see top photo, by the aptly named Aquadeco. She recalled, “The package was wonderful, but a bit overdone on the plastic/non biodegradable topic for only 8 oz. Someone returned the sample in protest of same and told the rep that the company should be ashamed of itself. I agree, but the water was good.”
Their website says that their plastic bottle is recyclable and that they do offer a 750 ml. glass bottle. My research tells me that the bottle is blown in Slovenia and is priced at a whopping $35. That would make it the ultimate prestige water. It would make a beautiful gift, especially for a budding florist who could use it as a vase and amuse herself for many hours coming up with deco floral designs. Sence Nectar Linda also enjoyed a delicious drink by Sence Rare European Rose Nectar, also in a beautiful glass bottle. According to her it is a “wonderful drink flavored with the essence of a rose which only blooms three weeks a year. It would make a great wedding favor.” Their website says the nectar is made from the Kazanlak rose which is grown in Bulgaria. They claim that Leonardo Da Vinci drank nectar from the same rose; both hot as a tea and chilled. They also recommend pairing the nectar with champagne, vodka, rum, gin, sake and many cordials.

Photo by Sence Nectar

Tasmanian Beer I’m not a big beer drinker but I truly enjoyed a Tasmanian beer as a welcome palate cleanser. When I remarked that it was nice and clean tasting, the exhibitor beamed and waxed on about how clean the water in Tasmania is. He said it is one of the four places in the world where scientists use the water as a control against which all other waters are measured. Good to know. I wish I remembered the brand, I only remember a dark label. hi*ball energy

Photo by hi*ball

By the end of the day our palates were spent and vendors were begging us to make an exception and please taste one more thing. Four of us made an exception and tasted one more beverage. I’m grateful we did. We tasted the ten-calorie, orange- and grapefruit-flavored energy drinks by hi*ball energy ; they were both delicious and a great way to end five glorious hours.

Thank you to all of my co-reviewers for venturing out into unknown food worlds, for your feedback, your photos, and a lovely afternoon.
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