Saturday, January 24, 2009

More Fancy Food Show – Winter 2009

I promised to tell you our favorite items from the Fancy Food Show so here they are.

Our Favorites

Let me start with the obvious. Yes, they were there. Justin and Dave, the Baconnaise boys. If you haven’t read tangobaby’s escapades with Baconnaise yet, click here.

Image by Baconnaise
Their booth took on the atmosphere of a tailgate party put on by fraternity brothers. First it was BaconSalt, and then it was Baconnaise, now it is Baconnaise Lite – now there’s an oxymoron. The big surprise is that Baconnaise does not contain bacon, only bacon flavoring. I think it might even be a vegetarian product. Believe or not, they are kosher certified. Now that takes chutzpah! When it became obvious that I was a bona fide groupie, either Justin or Dave (don’t know which), reached behind the counter and handed me: (drumroll) Bacon lip balm! Tangobaby, I scored a second one for you. It’s the perfume you were looking for!
California Wine Wafers
On the other end of the scale are the very elegant wine wafers by California Wine Wafers. These beautiful, crispy, light, delicious wafers have a four hundred year history starting in a spa resort town in the Czech Republic. They are delicious with wine. They are beautifully packaged, see top photo; they would make a lovely hostess gift. Their website has dessert recipes including one called Nutella Light Torte, where the only ingredients are Nutella, whipping cream, and cinnamon-hazelnut wine wafers. I bet that’s delicious!
California Porridge
Every one of us who tasted the California Porridge by Our Daily Grain loved it. The combination of the steel cut oats, wheat berries, rolled oats, sunflower and flax seeds create a great flavor and texture. The plump, nutty wheat berries made it especially memorable. The best part is that is comes in ready-to-eat individual serving containers. Just heat and serve!

Photo by Our Daily Grain
The porridge has no sugar in it, even diabetics can enjoy this product, but we were given the option to add maple syrup flakes. They were great because they added a great crunchy texture and just the right amount of sweetness.
Other Favorites
I polled my co-reviewers for their favorites. They found lots of interesting booths that I wish I didn’t miss.
Linda loved the sweet, yet spicy, Peppadews , stuffed with cheese, which looks like a small red pepper or large grape grown in South Africa.

Stephanie and Edith thought the CantarĂ© Foods' booth with the Spanish tapas were out of this world. Their national sales manager, Jim, made hand-pulled mozzarella cheese. Edith said “they had the best tasting samples from the whole show; I think I tried four different things there.”

Photo by Stephanie
Stephanie also enjoyed the Agave Dream line. “Two dental hygienists from Southern California scraped together their savings to launch delicious ice cream and granitas that have only agave nectar as sweetening. Apparently agave nectar has a very low glycemic index; even diabetics can eat this ice cream. Nicole and I sampled the chocolate and the pomegranate granite; both were delicious.”

Photo by Stephanie
Stephanie also visited the Strauss Family Creamery. They just launched soft-serve vanilla ice cream...”delicious, and I'm not a soft-serve fan!”

Interesting Combinations of Flavors
RoseAnn’s and my favorite combination of flavors is found in the sea salt chocolate caramels from Lula’s Chocolates. Even though it was at the end of five hours of continuous tasting, these chocolates truly stood out. The combination of the soft caramels, dark chocolate, with a few crunchy crystals of salt was magic. They offer a nine-piece box of caramels, each with a different artisan salt. That would be a fun tasting with some wine!

Photo by Lula's Chocolates
Just to prove that we are a diverse group, Jodi thought it as a dreadful idea. "That was such a great piece of chocolate, why would you ruin it by adding salt to it?" Nor did she like the lavender vanilla gelato: “I would use it as a face cream”. (Dakota Angel and I loved it.) Just when I chalked Jodi off as someone who didn’t like new flavors, she tried and liked the wasabi cheese. Now I wish I tried it.
Photo by Stephanie

Vosges chocolates, Stephanie’s favorite, offered a bacon-flavored (!) chocolate which was wildly popular.
The Cheese from Britain booth offered a cheese called “Red Dragon” which is made with mustard seeds and ale. My friend Jodi pointed it out to me and told me that she had it when she was in Wales last year. Because cheese is so filling and rich, I was careful not to taste too many cheeses because the day was still young and I wanted to taste many, many more foods. I was leery, but I decided to try it anyway. I liked the crunchy mustard seeds and the little kick in the flavor but I didn’t taste the ale at all. I assumed it was overpowered by the mustard until I realized that the ale arrives as an aftertaste. I think foodies call it a finish because “aftertaste” has a negative connotation. Mustard and ale are a great combination, especially if you add some celery, crackers, and a glass of beer.

Another interesting flavor combination that Jodi and I enjoyed was in the onion jam in merlot by Huerto Azul:

It was delicious: I think this would be great inside baked brie!

If this didn’t send your head spinning, next post I will write about the most beautiful, most unusual products, and about some of the beverages.


christina said...

Oh have mercy!!! This post is just heavenly!! I have gone straight to heaven but I must come back and try this ever so talked about baconnaise.

Seriously glory going on over here,love. ; )

Emily said...

I am absolutely drooling! Can anyone go to this or do you have to be "special"? :)

paris parfait said...

Bacon lip gloss? And Bacon-flavoured chocolate? Whatever next??!! I love the idea that those women created an ice cream that even diabetics can indulge in - so many people out there with bright ideas. But I have to say Baconnaise would be scoffed at in Paris. :)

A Cuban In London said...

You have just indulged me! Oh, cruel woman ;-)! It's only 9.33am in London and it's still a good couple of hours until lunchtime.

The photos are, my God, to die for. The one with the ice-creams, I could lick that screen all day long, but since I work at a school I'd better not, unless I want to be sectioned.

Many thanks for such a lovely post.

Greetings from London.

Ruth said...

That would be heaven to stroll around the food expo. Packaging is so important! And also, your presentations are lovely. The wafers are exquisite.

julochka said...

i tried to convince my sister to bring me some of this magical baconnaise stuff on her recent visit, but she thought i had gone stark raving mad. i guess they don't have it in iowa yet, tho' you'd think that would be the perfect market for it...

tangobaby said...


You met the Baconnaise boys!!!

Woo hoo!!!

I cannot tell you about the crappy day I am having right now but this just but a giant, bacon-themed smile on my face! Yay!

(now I will go back to being morose.)

tangobaby said...

ps. I've had that Vosges bacon bar before (not that you're surprised) and it's okay... compared with the Goji Himalayan sea salt bar, it definitely takes a back seat.

pss. I am going to treasure my bacon lipgloss.

My Castle in Spain said...

same as Cuban above....why do you do this to me??
it's 9pm here and i didn't have dinner yet (also i should be translating instead of salivating here on your post)
oh..gosh..tapas and salty chocolates
stop it !!

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Fabulous mouth-watering post - I haven't even heard of most of these products but they sound yummy (except bacon flavoured chocolate!)..:)

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Christina,
Based on your comments, I can tell that you would be a fun co-reviewer. What are you doing next January?

Dear Jemm,
This show is open to the trade only, but guess what? You are special! Florist is one of the accepted categories for attendees because many florists offer food baskets and carry food items in their stores, especially around Valentine's Day. Those Hannah's lollipops would be gorgeous in your flower shop!

Dear Tara,
I'm sure that the Parisians are way too high-brow for Baconnaise; I can see their lips curling already!

I'm also excited about the agave ice cream. We have a family member with diabetes and it's always a challenge to find a dessert for him.

Dear Cuban,
You make me laugh! Please be careful with that ice cream, I wouldn't want you to get your tongue stuck on the screen!

I learned another word from you: "sectioned". Thank you, it's a great word!

Dear Ruth,
It is indeed heaven to go to this show! Thank you for your kind comment!

Dear Julie in Denmark,
Iowa would be the most perfect market for Baconnaise! It's gaining traction, I bet she'll be able to get it before long.

Dear Julie in San Francisco,
I did, I did! They are exactly the way you would expect them to be.

I didn't get to taste the Vosges Chocolates, the booth was too swarmed with people.

We will have to plan a lipgloss hand-off soon.

Dear Lala,
I do this because I love you!

Dear Here,There...
I will try anything once, but I have to be honest, I don't have high hopes for the bacon chocolate.

Leau said...

And to think that I have settled for bacon tape and bacon bandages! 2 of my favorite things together, okay 3 if you count the lip gloss stuff. Not doing the chocolate! Unbelievably creative folks out there, eh? thanks for sharing and I'll wipe the drool off my keyboard and send this. smooches

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Leau,
Bacon tape and bandages? Now that's new! It is always exciting to learn what new creative things are presented at this show every year.
Welcome to dutchbaby!

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