Friday, February 5, 2010

Fancy Food Show – Our Favorites (Part II)

The French Patisserie Desserts display

Yes, I’m still writing about the Fancy Food Show. For those of you waiting for posts on flowers, quilts, or travel, sorry, it’s still about food. I know that it feels like the eleventh post on the Fancy Food Show but the “II” in this post title is Roman numeral two, because it follows "Our Favorites (Part I)".

It’s time to move to the main course.


We spent a lot of time in the Fermin booth, not only because of the fantastic goat cheese I shared with you in Part I, but also because of their beautiful displays featuring Spanish hams from the Ibérico pig:




Stephanie’s and my favorite was this delicious tender ham rolled with seasonings that were a beautifully complement to the smoky flavor of the ham:


I've enjoyed white anchovies in the past, but this is the first time I tasted smoked anchovies, available via Atalanta. They were superb and would enhance any pizza, Caesar salad, or spaghetti alla puttanesca:

DSC04305 anchovy display

We all enjoyed the Cherrywood Smoked bacon by Nueske’s and felt it was well-deserving of its Sofi Gold Medal in the Meat, Pate, or Seafood category:

Nueske's cherrywood bacon


I admire Lotus Foods’ quest to preserve and propogate heirloom species of rice, each distinguished by its own terroir, like Indonesian Volcano Rice, Madagascar Pink Rice, and Cambodian Mekong Flower Rice. Their Forbidden Rice was my favorite starch of the show. It has a deep, rich, nutty flavor and the black grains would create a dramatic presentation on any plate:

DSC04367 Lotus Foods booth

DSC04369 Lotus Foods forbidden rice

Jams and Jellies

Tracy, Stephanie, and I unanimously agreed that Mussini’s compote of Strawberries and Balsamic Vinegar was an unbeatable flavor combination.


I love a good margarita and this Margarita Jelly started life as a great margarita and then was preserved into a delectable, crystal-clear, refreshing jelly by the talented folks at Cherith Valley.

Cherwith Valley Margarita Jelly

They also make mimosa, sangria, cherry brandy, and peach amaretto versions that would perk up any Mother’s Day scone.

Chocolate, Chocolate, and more Chocolate

We loved tasting all the chocolates presented by Guittard, a local family-based chocolatier with a rich history since 1868:

Guittard Chocolate display

My daughter bakes the most awesome chocolate chip cookies with these Guittard’s super-sized chocolate chunks:

Guittard Chocolate

Another fantastic chocolate booth was Valhorona’s. I was bowled over by the variety and range of chocolate flavors they create.

Valhorona chocolate display

I was especially intrigued by their Crunchy Pearls are tiny chocolate-covered biscuits (think chocolate-covered Rice Crispies) that don’t melt during baking. How good would a yellow cake with crunchy chocolate surprises be?

If baking a cake from scratch seems too daunting for you, you can enjoy the oozing warm chocolate of Dean Jacobs’ Lava Cake in merely fifteen minutes:

Chocolate Lava Cake

The gift pack comes with four ramekins. The Cake ‘n Cup red velvet cake gift box, complete with two ceramic cups, would be perfect for Valentine’s Day:

Cake 'n' Cup Kit

The personnel at the Callebaut booth gave their undivided attention to local food aficionado Narsai David and Joseph Schmidt whose chocolate brand was consolidated into Hershey’s artisan chocolate brand Scharffen Berger Chocolate. Seeing Joseph Schmidt reminds me how much I miss the artful hand-painted gift boxes that used to house his chocolates.

Callebaut Chocolate with Narsai David and Joseph Schmidt

Hot Beverage

The most unique beverage we came across was explained to us by this charming woman from the tiny island of Moloka’i who represents Coffees of Hawaii.

Tisane cherry coffee

Tesani is a tea infused from the dried flesh of the coffee cherry, that is, the fruit portion of the coffee bean as opposed to the roasted seed from which coffee is brewed. This tea has all the antioxidant qualities of coffee without the caffeine. I tasted the slightly citrus-flavored lemongrass version and it was truly delicious. This is a more natural and less processed alternative to decaffeinated coffee.

To give you an idea of just how fatigued my palate got by the end of the day, I did not taste any of the incredible-looking desserts from the French Patisserie in the top photo. There’s only so much sugar, butter, and cream a body can hold.


Vagabonde said...

So many great food in San Francisco – how I wish I still lived there – well for food and other things. I remember the Guittard chocolate, so yummy. The strawberry jam with Balsamic got my attention – I make jams and am always interested in new flavors – how much Balsamic was in there, just a hint? I made some mango jam with a liquor from Africa, added a couple of tablespoons and it gave it a real kick. I looked to see if there would be a fancy food show closer to home and I see that one is in New York in late June – now I wonder …. Could I get a cheap flight there at that time….

Dutchbaby said...

Yes, strawberries and balsamic vinegar is a great combination. The first time I saw it was on a TV show with Michael Chiarella. He macerated strawberries with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic flavor was definitely discernible in this compote; I would say there was at least a tablespoon per cup. Mussini's flagship product is very high quality, aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, so it's pretty strong. Let me know how it turns out!

The summer Fancy Food Show in New York is the big show where they announce all the Sofi winners. The San Francisco Winter Show is small in comparison. I would say it is definitely worth a trip there if you are at all interested in foods.

melissashook said...

that contraption to cut the ham (maybe? some sad looking leg of something) looked too hideous for words, especially followed by the awful ham...but it was all made fine by beginning photo of the pastries, pastries, pastries, pastries, pastries. Yes!
thank you!

Dutchbaby said...

Yes, I agree that the stand looks rather draconian. It is meant to stabilize the leg of prosciutto ham so that it can be cut easily.

I'm glad I was able to appease you with the pastries.

Marilyn Miller said...

I'm worn out just seeing all the places you visited. Spanish hams look incredible. When we were in France last fall we went to a ham fair where Spanish hams were featured. Yummmm! The bacon, chocolates, and tea look divine.

Ruth said...

All beautiful. I'm especially snagged by the heirloom rices. Are they wild rice? I've never seen black rice, except in a wild rice mix. I'd love to try it!

(You don't ever have to apologize to me for posting about food shows.)

A Cuban In London said...

Don't be sorry, dear. I not enjoyed your post but dribbled all over my chin like a newborn. Luckily I have the left over of our Sunday roast (it was Saturday actually!) for lunch today. Many thanks for such a yummy post.

Greetings from London.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
LOL! I didn't mean to exhaust you. The Spanish ham was truly unique - so tender. Lucky you, France in the autumn!

Dear Ruth,
Forbidden Rice is an heirloom rice grown in Asia. What we call Wild Rice is any of the four species in the Zizania genus. I don't know if the Manchurian species of this genus is the same as the Forbidden Rice I tasted.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Cuban,
Oh dear, here let me hand you a napkin. As fantastic as this show is, there is nothing like having a home-cooked meal at home with family and friends, especially if it's accompanied with a great playlist assembled by a Cuban music expert!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
I sent an inquiry to Lotus Foods and Caryl Levine responded:

"no wild rice is not oryza sativa but a grass. Forbidden Rice® is an heirloom rice variety that was primarily reserved for the emperors to ensure their good health and longevity. It is a black rice rich in anthocyanins, which act as powerful antioxidants. Other plants rich in anthocyanins are blueberry, cranberry and bilberry, among others. Please let me know if you have any further questions. our new website which is going to be chock full of good nutritional information will be live by the end of feb.

So there you have it; they are not of the same genus but they are both of the Poaceae family.

Unknown said...

OMG! I would have to starve myself for a month to attend this show! And then a month afterward! If this food tastes even half as good as it looks, it would be worth a plane ticket!

Have you ever taken a look at my blogroll and how many foodie blogs I follow? You could never do too many food-related posts for me!!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
This food show is a marathon for certain and definitely worth the plane ticket. Many of the foods are delicious and some...not so much. I do have to spare my palate though or I won't make it to the end of the day. Next January, it's you and me!

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