Food Glorious Fancy Food: the most-anticipated annual food show is now behind us, and I must say that nobody has their act together quite like the Specialty Food Association does when they take over the Javits Center for the annual Summer Fancy Food Show here in NYC. Cheese whiz, what a fantastic show!
There is so much ground to cover when attempting to distill the Summer Fancy Food Experience, and it’s a monumental task because, as the largest show of its kind, there are literally thousands of participating exhibitors! This year, I was fancying a wide variety of sweet treats and snacks. Let’s go to the photos!
Mmm, don’t these look delicious? C’est Gourmet makes exceptional artisanal pastries – in both sweet and savory varieties – that arrive frozen so that customers can bake fresh pastries at home easily and conveniently. C’est Gourmet selects only the finest ingredients, including organic fruit and artisan cheeses, and they have mastered their own European methods of laminating and resting dough, which results in flavorful pastries with crispy, flaky texture, and a memorable eating experience. C’est Gourmet’s newest offering is the Croissant Muffin (pictured above). I could eat a dozen of them!
Bakerly Crepes To Go are authentic French Crepes rolled with delicious fillings and packaged individually for bakery-fresh, grab-and-go snacking! I discovered Bakerly crepes a few years ago and they are now one of my very favorite snacks! Fillings inside each impossibly flaky crepe include Chocolate Hazelnut, Crunchy Chocolate Hazelnut, Crunchy Caramel, and Strawberry. Take one bite and you will understand immediately why Bakerly’s website is loaded with glowing five-star reviews of these extremely yummy crepe treats!!
Sugar Bowl Bakery makes tiny snack-sized cakes that are instantly addictive, but my favorites are their Duet Bites.
Duet Bites are two treats in one, combining a luscious almond-flavored Madeleine cake and a moist chocolate Brownie in one tiny cake. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Resistance is futile.
By the time you say the name of Dewey’s Bakery Donut Shop Soft Baked Cookies Collection, your mouth will be watering, just imagining the dream-like idea of cookies that taste like donuts.
Choose from Old Fashion Glazed, Cinnamon Bun, Chocolate Glazed, Apple Fritter and other luscious varieties. Best served warm!
And while we’re talking about Donut Cookies, check out these Donut Hole Cookies, which are brand new from Too Good Gourmet. Enrobed in a sense-tempting glaze and colorful sprinkles, they look as amazing as they taste.
If you seek a sweet snack that manages to be both indulgent and healthy, you may flip for Tru Fru; 100% frozen fresh (aka freeze dried) fruit — cherries, strawberries, raspberries and chunks of coconut — encased in white, milk, or dark chocolate. Mmmm.
I sampled Tru Fru’s Whole Raspberries in White & Milk Chocolate and they were just insane. Unlike dehydrating, the process of freeze-drying locks in the majority (97+%) of the vitamins, nutrition, taste color and texture the fruit. Tru Fru is a unique fruit-based snack that lives up to its name.
Behold, an idea whose time has come: Candy Pop popcorn (by Nestle) is Butterfinger candy-coated popcorn drizzled with peanut butter. Please pass the dental floss!
Socado Funky Pretzel Truffles have successfully harnessed the power of the sweet and savory combination. Individually wrapped for extra fanciness, these crunchy, sweet morsels of endless goodness take the Milk Chocolate Truffle experience even further, adding a creamy filling studded with salted pretzel bits. Kill me.
Hands Off My Chocolate truffles are made with the finest fair Belgian chocolate. They not only come in unique flavors such as Strawberry Meringue and Cinnamon Cookie, but some varieties also embrace interesting shapes, like these highly-Instagrammable truffles that look like a sunny-side up egg. Fun! Hands Off My Chocolate‘s packaging illustrations are also very whimsical.
Remember the popular Birthday Cake flavor profile from SFFS18? Hands Off My Chocolate is keeping it on-trend!
Halloween is not too far away to make you aware of this Witches’ Finger Cookie Kit from The Invisible Chef! Bake up a batch to keep the little Goblins happy!
Inside this classy-looking, cylindrical red box, there lurks one of the most unique food products I saw on the exhibition hall floor. Let’s see what’s inside!
Well, it’s Fiasconaro Dolce Presepe, a traditional Italian holiday cake made with fresh candied orange and raisins, and flavored with Marsala and Zibibbo (I had to look it up; it’s an Italian white wine) that surrounds a nativity scene carved from white chocolate. Holy Italian Cake! It is almost too fancy to eat. Almost.
Eventually, someone had to invent the Waffleshot: a edible cup made from an ice cream waffle cone, coated inside with Belgian chocolate and, depending on the variety you choose, possibly hiding a filling at the bottom. I mean, it was only a matter of time.
Look at these cups. Just look at them, ready to be filled with hot coffee, cocoa or espresso. Or whatever.
Created by Los Angeles-based sisters Doris and Naomi, Waffleshots come in a variety of exciting flavors and can be purchased at This Link, just in time for the Holidays!
If you like nuts and you also like cheese (because who doesn’t) you may be intrigued to know that nuts are now being used to make cheese. Yes I just typed that. Parmela Creamery Aged Nutcheese is traditionally cultured from creamy whole cashew milk. OMG.
This quesadilla was made with Parmela Creamery’s shredded, sharp cheddar variety artisanal nutcheese and it tasted as delicious as you would expect any quesadilla to taste! What a welcome product for the lactose intolerant, or anyone who cares about reducing greenhouse gasses caused by cattle farming. A delicious product with a conscience deserves our support!
Nuts are also getting into the world of dairy with Milkadamia products, which are derived from the finest raw macadamia nuts — because plant-based dairy is officially a thing.
Milkadamia Buttery Spread, a heart-healthy, reduced calorie alternative to butter and margarine, was a new product at SFFS19. This spread has a fantastic buttery taste and a light, creamy texture. Milkadamia also has an extensive line of macadamia nut-based milks and creamers. At the show, I was given a 32 oz carton of their Unsweetened Vanilla Macadamia Milk to take home, which I enjoyed on cereal and in my coffee over the course of three weeks. I emphasis three weeks because a message on the carton recommends consuming the milk within seven days after opening, but it tasted very fresh and delicious for three times that long. Worth noting!
Another trending ingredient among a more health-conscious consumer base is Cauliflower. Not surprisingly, we saw new products at SFFS19 using this versatile vegetable in innovative ways. From the Ground Up makes familiar savory snacks, with a plant-based twist, with their line of Cauliflower-based Tortilla Chips, Stalks, Pretzels and Crackers. Yummy.
Crepini brand Egg Thins crepes, made with cauliflower, are a carb-free, gluten-free, paleo-friendly bread alternative.
I sampled Egg Thins cauliflower crepes rolled up with a slice of deli turkey at the show, and it was a super tasty snack. These crepes would be a great starting point for creative party snacks to impress even your most finicky guest. I definitely will be following up with Crepini post-SFFS!
The Summer Fancy Food Show is an place ideal to discover a vast selection of gourmet variety jams, dips, spreads and sauces. A leader in this category is Terrapin Ridge Farms, who were one of the first outlets I know of to market several kinds of Bacon Jam!
Terrapin Ridge Farms products allow the home cook to redefine his or her approach to food, entertaining and cooking. One jar of their sauces eliminates the need to buy multiple ingredients and spend hours in the kitchen, leaving you more time to spend with your guests! Margarita Jelly, which can enhance the flavors of meats or sweets, is one of their new products on the shelf!
Stonewall Kitchen, unique not just for the distinctive hand-written-look of its labels, but for the culinary innovation that goes into all of its sauces, jams, dips and spreads, always has dozens of delicious new products to sample SFFS. This year I especially loved the Apple Blueberry Salsa and Bacon Queso!
The memorably-named Bitchin’ Sauce took home a pair of Sofi Awards for its delicious Almond Dip! Congratulations!
Freak Flag Organics, possibly the best-named product in the sauces category, makes a healthy Kale Pesto that tastes great on pizza or pasta, or used in dips. Let your Freak Flag fly in the kitchen!
Crazy Go Nuts Walnut Butter not only has a funny name and a wacky label, but it also tastes amazing! Co-owned by friends Courtney Carini and David Wolfe, Crazy Go Nuts is a small business dedicated to environmental advocacy as they turn the superfood that is the walnut into a delectable, wholesome spread that tastes great on bread, fruit, or just eaten by the spoonful from the jar! You can buy Crazy Go Nuts products on Amazon!
O’Dang Hummus makes a line of flavorful and low calorie chickpea-based bottled Salad Dressings.
Macaroni and Cheese from a box, despite its crave-able taste and comforting mouth feel, can get a bad rap for being a convenience food that’s perhaps not so good for you. Funny Farm Macaroni & Cheese Dinner mixes (by LaLoos) challenge that notion, appealing to ‘kids of all ages,’ as they say, for its use of lower-in-fat goats’ milk-based cheese and its absence of preservatives, artificial flavors and synthetic dyes. I tried Funny Farm Mac & Cheese at SFFS and can conclude that it is one of the best-tasting dinner mixes I’ve encountered. They also make a version with the same enriched pasta, but in the shapes of little goats, pizza slices and ice cream cones, to get the little ones on board.
Funny Farm also had these Cheese Wedge-Shaped Mardi Gras Beads as giveaways in their booth!
Also getting into the game of healthier Mac and Cheese in fun shapes is Pastabilities (bonus points for getting to that name first), who make this organic Mac ‘N Cheese dinner with pasta in the shapes of princesses, crowns and castles! Why didn’t this exist when I was a child?
Moon Cheese (Cheese That Crunches) has all the flavor and nutrition of real cheese because it is really just 100% delicious cheese that has been made into little crunchy nuggets. Without additives or preservatives, crunchy Moon Cheese is a perfect on-the-go healthy snack that needs no refrigeration! They also gave my first-ever fidget spinner! Yay, Moon Cheese!
Check out these random products that made it into the recap for their funny names or eye-catching packages!
Kudos to Java Factory for its Smooth Caffeinator medium-roast Keurig pods. You know you hear Sade crooning in your head right now. You’re welcome.
I love this name: Tea Pigs. Because pigs. Tea Pigs is a UK-based small company dedicated to the enjoyment and worshipping of tea. Tea Pigs is a high-quality, whole-leaf tea that, rather than a standard tea bag, comes in a roomy, biodegradable mesh bag that they call a tea temple. I love it.
Wouldn’t this Lychee & Rose cold brew tea taste refreshing on a hot summer day? You know it would. Tea Pigs teas are available in the US via Amazon.
There is so much more to and Mrs. Muffin and Mr. Brownie than set of adorable names. These individually-wrapped mini snack cakes are so delicious, you really should read the brand backstory for yourself!
Uglies Kettle Cooked Potato Chips are delicious chips crafted from potatoes with minor cosmetic imperfections. This includes potatoes that are too large or too small; those with the wrong color or the wrong sugar content. Some of the potatoes are slightly blemished and, of course, some are just farmer surplus. Until now, these orphaned potatoes were destined to become food waste. Uglies has helped to reduce food waste by saving over 1,500,000 pounds of potatoes since 2017. Uglies for the win!
King Floyds Bitters: Bitters are not my thing, but the name made me smile!
Joe Tea and Joe’s Lemonade: Because these label are works of art!
My favorite product that isn’t exactly a food product, but is nevertheless edible, goes to Gerrit’s Top This! Edible Cake Toppers, made by retro and nostalgic candy company Gerrit Verburg! These take me back.
Now I’d love to pay homage to the exhibitors who went the extra distance to guarantee that the Summer Fancy Food Show is Instagram-able for more than just the food. Check out these creative displays, fun use of props and outstanding booth designs!
Goodie Girl, makers of gluten-free cookies in both creative and classic varieties, got a brand new sign this year: a Pink Neon glow encircling their Giggling Goodie Girl logo! Distinctive and fitting!
Goodie Girl Magical Animal Crackers are new on the shelf now!
Salsa God, makers of delicious spicy salsa varieties, earns a mention in our recap each year, because skulls! I love these little Day Of The Dead skulls!
Salsa God’s new product on the shelf is this Chips & Salsa Combo Pack, so that you can enjoy crunchy tortilla chips and fresh hot salsa as a grab-and-go snack any time! Salsa God!
Got Attitude Vodka made the most of a less-than-desirable end-of-the-aisle booth location by bringing in a mechanical Fire Breathing Dragon! Every few minutes, the dragon’s mouth would open wide, its eyes would begin to glow red, and smoke would emerge from its mouth, along with a mighty roar! You had better believe everybody stopped by for a sip and a snap!
Got Attitude Vodka is smooth and sassy, and tastes great with any mixer, or on the rocks with a twist. It’s a party in a bottle!
Here’s a close-up of the dragon’s glowing-red eyes (which I imagine would be more impressionable in the dark)! Still, it provided show-goers with a memorable Game of Thrones-style moment!
Over at the Jelly Belly booth, there was a photo op with Mr. Jelly Belly, who is the brand’s official mascot! He is all kinds of cute.
Jelly Belly Candy Cupcakes, a non-jelly bean candy similar in texture to candy corn, is new on the shelves now!
Maud Borup is known for providing retailers with unique flavor profiles and confectionery gifts that include candy, snacks, baking kits, and beverage mixes, which often come with a reusable collectable item that is sure to be remembered. Check out this sweet and simple display they created to show off their Organic Cotton Candy treats!
It was so festive! You really felt like you were at the Fair!
Coco Well 100% Pure Coconut Water constructed its booth from clear lucite panels filled with fresh whole coconuts. What a clever idea, and there was no confusion as to what their product is all about!
We know that coconut water is super health and hydrating, and Coco Well produces the freshest tasting coconut water possible by packaging its beverages in Tetra Pak, an eco-friendly and socially-responsible form of packaging based on the use of a sustainably-sourced wood fiber. Coco Well is good for your body, and the planet!
Greenpoint Trading Co (based in Brooklyn) brought in this a bike-driven cart as part of their booth display for its line of Spices, Herbs and Seasonings. It definitely relays the message of freshness!
For SFFS19, Pop Art Gourmet Popcorn made good on last year’s promise / threat to retire their fabulous Mirrored Disco Ball Booth, only to debut a new booth design that is equally distinctive; being comprised of multi-colored, stacked LEGO bricks, making it a work of Pop Art itself!
Pop Art also replaced their famous Neon Popcorn Kernel signage with this stunning new sign, which is also made of LEGOs. Well played.
New flavors of Pop Art Popcorn include Dill Pickle Ranch (which tasted exactly like what it says it is) and Cheddar Jalepeno!
The Pinkest Booth at the Summer Fancy Food Show award (which is a thing that I just made up) goes to Belgian Boys European bakery! Beyond the pink plush carpeting (which was very comforting to our tired feet), let’s take a look at some of the awesome pink things found in the Belgian Boys booth!
Put It Here: Pink Recycling / Waste Bin!
Keeping It Cool: Pink Smeg Brand Refrigerator and a Pink Plant!
The booth’s central display was a counter comprised of colorful dessert packaging, stacked high and topped with a Pink Sand Beach, which included a Pink Pineapple!
Alongside the Boys‘ best-loved product line such as their famous Mini Cookie Stash (#rockthatstash), authentic Stroopwafels and assorted Liege Waffles and Waffle Chips, SFFS19 launched the debut of a full line of gourmet single-serve Mini Cheesecakes and a Dark Chocolate Lava Cake – super decadent. These treats are imported from Belgium and come two to a pack, with a premium presentation in a re-usable glass ramekin! Begian Boys new desserts are Non-GMO and made with premium ingredients, no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, and are kosher certified. Crave-able flavors include Key Lime, Cookies & Cream, and Raspberry. Yum!
Niman Ranch, purveyors of humanely-raised quality meats, went all out with their idea of a Summer BBQ, bringing the free spirit of outdoor entertaining inside the Javits Center for the debut their new line of sustainably raised products featuring New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire Amber Ale!
Grilled tastings and samples of the meats were an instant hit! The Niman Ranch booth also included a living plant wall with bicycle tires, and with a bar serving freshly brewed Fat Tire Amber Ale. The joint venture of one of the most recognized names in the craft beer industry and a highly-regarded meat company brought show attendees a fresh idea on how to reach millennial audiences — who are concerned with how their food is produced — while supporting value-driven brands.
For fans who longed for an expanded taste of the new line, Niman Ranch hosted a BBQ Party at Hearth restaurant, located on NYC’s High Line Park, after the Monday evening of the Summer Fancy Food Show, where I was able to enjoy all five items that make up their complete BBQ collection. I hope my photos of the event will inspire you to include Niman Ranch products in your next summer BBQ! Let’s eat!
Fat Tire Beer Bratwurst, served here on a potato roll with sauerkraut and German-style mustard.
Fat Tire Spicy Cheddar Beer Bratwurst served with pickled mustard seeds. Little bits of cheddar cheese locked inside the sausage become melty and extra flavorful when grilled!
Niman Ranch Pulled Pork with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce show here alongside all the fixings — including crunchy coleslaw and crisp fried shallots — to make an amazing sandwich!
St. Louis-Style Pork Ribs with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce. Unbelievable!
Shredded Beef with Fat Tire BBQ Sauce on a potato roll, sharing the plate with one of those tender, meaty pork ribs. Outstanding!
All items are uncured and fully cooked, making the line perfect for anyone looking for easy-to-prepare meals without sacrificing quality and taste. The new Niman Ranch New Belgium line will be available in specialty stores across the country beginning in August. The complete selection will also be available on Niman Ranch’s new digital storefront powered by ButcherBox.
And that wraps up our recap of Summer Fancy Food 2019! Congratulations to all of the SOFI Award winning brands and thanks to the Specialty Food Association for another fantastic show! See you back here in 2020!