Each year at the Summer Fancy Food Show, I enjoy tasting hundreds of delicious new specialty foods and meeting new friends, but I especially love to return from the show with camera full of crazy photos of the fun and creative displays and props that exhibitors use to attract show-goers to their booths — because the competition is fierce! Most years, Belgian Boys Bakery puts together a visually engaging and whimsically-themed display that does justice to the company’s line of scrumptious desserts. This year, that theme was all about Pink Things, as you can see here by this Hot Pink Plastic Pineapple resting on a bed of pink sand. Yummy! Stay tuned for more photos of the pink things spotted in the Belgian Boys’ booth once I get my Summer Fancy Food Show 2019 photo recap online, later this month!
Oh my goodness, you know I must have been having a crazy fun summer when the season is essentially over before I can even get around to posting my always-hotly-anticipated annual photo recap of the Summer Fancy Food Show, 2018 edition! I have no excuse, except to admit that there is too much rad fun going on over here! Please forgive my tardiness, Specialty Food Association — I promise I will make it up to you with this awesome coverage that you are about experience. To kick things off, let me give a round of shout outs to the considerable number of tasty edibles that you should be putting in your mouth right now. Let’s do this thing!
How luscious do those chocolate-enrobed morsels look in the above photo? Please allow me to introduce you to Michelle’s Maccs — the Macaroon of the Gods. If you are a fan of coconut, then you need to get hip to Michelle’s Maccs, an elite coconut macaroon that comes in 13 gourmet varieties — including Amarena Cherry, Peanut Butter, Orange Zest, Banana Walnut (with little bits of real banana) and Espresso — each covered either milk, white, or dark Belgian chocolate. Decadent.
Check out this close up of the Simple Milk variety: dense with sweet, chewy coconut and drenched in rich Belgian Milk Chocolate. Irresistible! Handcrafted with simple, high-quality ingredients, Michelle’s Maccs are eggless, flourless and naturally gluten-free. What a perfect confectionary treat for yourself, or to give as a gift. Michelle’s Maccs’s are part of the full line of gourmet baked goods from Fresh Baked NY, and you can find out more about them at This Link!
Over in the New Brands on the Shelf aisle, we met the lovely ladies behind Something Good to Eat Soups! Meet Sandy Khorrami and her two beautiful daughters. Something Good to Eat is a line of hearty and exotic soups made in small batches right here in NYC. Vegan and sugar-free, with no preservatives or stabilizers, these delicious soups are as close to homemade as you’ll find outside of your own kitchen!
Inspired by her own mothers home-cooking, Sandy has hand-crafted original recipes for unique soup flavors like Pomegranate Beet with Basmati Rice (which reflects Sandy’s Iranian heritage), and Spicy Mushroom with Lemongrass and Quinoa. Delicious served hot or cold, Something Good to Eat is a brand to put on your radar.
Another new brand exbibiting at SFFS for the first time is Peekabo Organic Ice Cream. What makes Peekabo a unique product is the main ingredient hiding in each flavor — fresh vegetables! Take their Chocolate ice cream, made from the finest cocoa and pure, sweet cream to create a decadent, velvety dark chocolate ice cream. And the hidden cauliflower is providing your kids with a variety of vitamins, folate, fiber, potassium, protein, phosphorus and magnesium — wow! Eating your vegetables never tasted like this before!
Other Peekabo flavors include Strawberry with Hidden Carrot, Mint Chip with Hidden Spinach, and Vanilla with Hidden Zucchini. Scoop them up at your local grocery!
I was first introduced to Graeters Ice Cream at SFFS 2016 and so it was nice to see the brand thriving at this year’s show. Their Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip totally owns me.
Jenji’s Ice Cream wins Best Ice Cream Flavor Name for their scrumptious Brambleberry Crisp variety!
Sugar Bowl Bakery, a family owned company based in Hayward, CA, bakes a variety of bite-sized cakes and pastries that are perfect for lunch bags, afternoon tea, or easy snacking when you really want to treat yourself.
Possibly my single favorite new sweet discovery of SFFS18 were Sugar Bowl’s Duet Bites; tiny cakes that uniquely blend chocolaty Petite Brownie Bites with buttery Madeleines cakes. Dessert perfection achieved!
Also introduced at SFFS18 are the bakery’s new Button Cakes, which are on shelves now. Button Cakes have the look, texture and taste of tiny, bite-sized muffins and come in four tempting flavors including Tropical Mango, Wild Blueberry, Lemon Zest and Madagascar Vanilla. Sugar Bowl Bakery’s Button Cakes contain real fruit and vanilla bean seeds, with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. The Button Cakes are available in 8 and 16-count packages, with distribution throughout the United States.
While I’m talking about delicious cakes, I recommend the gourmet pound cakes from Sweet Sam’s. If you’ve ever raved about the moist and addictive Iced Lemon Pound Cake sold at Manhattan Starbucks stores, you should know that their secret supplier is Sweet Sam’s! In fact, this Bronx-based baking company supplies over 500 New York-area coffee bars, gourmet markets, delis and other businesses with pound cakes, cookies, crumb cakes and other baked goods. Fine quality deserves its rewards!
UK-based Dina Foods produces high-quality, traditional Mediterranean breads and pastries in both sweet and savory varieties. Their Assorted Baklawa, seen above, is a show-stopper.
Bantam Bagels first blew up the frozen breakfast foods market with their innovative bite-sized, cream cheese-stuffed bagels. Now they have introduced Bantam Bagels’s Egg Bites Mini Breakfast Sandwiches, which are just fantastic! What could be more delicious than a crisp, chewy authentic NYC bagel puff stuffed with gourmet soft scrambled egg and cheese combinations? I ask yez . . .
Available in Everything Bagel with Cheddar, Chipotle, Garden Veggie, Onion Gruyere, and original Egg and Cheddar flavors, Bantam Bagels Eggs Bites are one of my favorite savory discoveries at SFFS18!
Frontera Gourmet Mexican Cuisine is based on the authentic recipes of Celebrity Chef Rick Bayles. Frontera’s new Taco Skillet and Taco Bowl meal kits elevate the convenience of frozen meals to entrees that will remind you of your favorite Mexican restaurant!
Made with fresh, classic ingredients like fire-roasted veggies, tender, delicious meats, and layers of authentic seasonings, Frontera Taco Bowls and Skillets will help you make a healthy and flavorful Mexican meal for the family that’s ready in just minutes! Fiesta!
And if you’re looking for some crispy chips to go with that south-of-the-border meal, why not sidestep the usual tortilla chips and go for something completely different, like Tumbis brand Plantain Strips and Cassava Strips? Imported From Costa Rica by Barzu International, these high quality strips are 100% Natural, with no trans fat and no cholesterol. Tumbis Plantain and Cassava strips are also high in fiber and potassium, so you can indulge with much less guilt! And they sure do taste divine with your favorite homemade guacamole recipe.
I also flipped for these Organic Chili Cheese Corn Chips from the family-owned RW Garcia brand. Chili plus cheese plus corn chips means the name alone sounds too tempting to resist! I want to crunch a mouthful of them even as I type this.
At the show, RW Garcia introduced two varieties of organic, gluten free crackers including Organic Lentil with Turmeric (which is so healthy for you) combining natural ingredients like lentils, stone ground white corn, and a sprinkling of seeds, to create a delicious, crunchy cracker. You can now snack with confidence knowing that these delicious crackers are made with 100% USDA Organic and Non-GMO ingredients, no cholesterol and no trans fats.
Do you like Pasta? I sure do? But, being a single gal, I also (obviously) appreciate convenience when it comes to preparing a meal for one. That’s why Surgital Frozen Fresh Pasta is not only The Chef’s Best Friend but my best friend as well.
Look at all of these different types of Surgital gourmet pastas that you can buy to cook at home. Just look at them! While all Surgital products are imported from Italy, they are available for you to purchase in select US markets. Visit This Link for more product information and local store locations! Mangia!
Eating non-stop for five hours is thirsty work. I enjoyed a glass of refreshing Lemonera all-natural Homemade Lemonade between bouts of stuffing my face.
Another guaranteed thrist-quencher, Blue Monkey Watermelon Juice is probably even more refreshing when mixed with the Vodka of your choice! Cheers!
While I’m walking the show floor, I like to pay attention to products that not only taste great, but that also have some kind of unique or on-trend flavor variety, a funny or clever name, or unique packaging. Undercover Quinoa has a very clever logo for portraying ‘quinoa in disguise,’ but I have to tell you that this product blew me away with its wildly addictive taste and irresistible lite crunch! Quinoa has been one of the more consistently popular choices for healthy eating for years, so it’s not exactly a hard sell. But if you can’t get your kids to eat it, try baking it into wafers and drenching it in chocolate. Sold!
Chocolate lovers at SFFS never have difficulty finding something a little different to satisfy the sweet tooth. Check out this Japanese Matcha Milk Chocolate bar from Cacao Market by Mariebelle New York Chocolates. Exotic!
Milk Boy Swiss Chocolate’s White Chocolate with Potato Chips and Sea Salt bar helped that company make sofi™ Award history this year, winning the award for best new product in the category for milk and white chocolates! The gold award in that same category went to Milkboy’s Swiss Alpine Milk Chocolate with Crunchy Caramel and Sea Salt, and the bronze award went to their Swiss Alpine Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds. As the first company to win three chocolate category awards in a single year, Milkboy took home a trio of honors equivalent to the Oscars for specialty food! Congratulations!
In the category of ‘food made gorgeous,’ Mona Lisa decorations of Chicago makes chocolate cups, shells and assorted decorations that can transform your desserts into elegant works of art!
These desserts look almost too beautiful to eat! Check out Mona Lisa’s full line of gourmet chocolate decorations at This Link!
Just when you thought there could not be one more unique and original product made from chocolate, along comes Let Them Eat Candles, which are, literally, Edible Chocolate Candles for every type of celebration!
Available in boxes of three candles, in either milk or dark chocolate, Let Them Eat Candles come in a variety of printed designs and they can even be custom printed with your company logo or monogram for wedding. Just don’t eat the wick!
I bet you know someone who would love these Prosecco Gummies candies by SugarSin. This UK-based confectionary makes assorted Cocktail Flavored gummies as well. Check them out!
With their slogan “Taste the Memories,” Gerrit J. Verburg Company is always a huge hit at the show, with their nostaliga-inducing line of old-fashioned candies — like these Satellite Wafers — that delight the kid in each one of us!
Too Good Gourmet is ready for Halloween by placing its delectable cookies inside this adorable (and scary!) seasonal packaging!
Le Chocolat des Français is a line of French chocolate bars that have a playful, and unique brand identity that features a variety of amazing illustrations on its packaging. Take a look!
Designs this bold and exciting (collectible, even!) guaranteed Le Chocolat des Français an appearance in this recap — and the Chocolate tastes great, too!
You’ve heard of Beer Nuts brand peanuts and bar-snack mixes, which are marketed directly towards pairing with beer, but now Portugal-based Nuts Original snacks is giving Beer Nuts a run for the bar tab, so to speak. Nuts Original is the first company to create an entire line of select snack mixes that are perfect for pairing with not just beer, but also wine, or the cocktail of your choice — the first ‘bespoke’ cocktail snack, if you will!
Each bag of Nuts Original contains the perfect blend of crispy crackers, dried fruits, and oven-roasted nuts, all optimally seasoned for flavor enhancement, to complement the special ‘moment’ of your drinking experience. I also love their mysterious, masked spokesmodel, who reminds me of Wonder Woman! Find out more about Nuts Original cocktail snack mixes at This Link!
Too bad that this year’s July 4th celebration has passed, because what an ideal occasion that would be to break out the Saratoga Old Glories Kettle Chips – Red, White and Blue goes crunch!
Sea Salt Superstores (purveyors of exotic salts) Himalayan Pink Salt wins Pink Thing of SFFS18! Because, Pinkness!
One Potato Two Potato brand Kettle Potato Chips won my heart with their adorable homage — in both bag design, and name — to The Beatles, with their Sgt Pepper & Capt Sea Salt Chips. Squee!
The label for Hoboken Farms organic Pasta Sauce, with its colorful depiction of a vintage a pick-up truck, is a work of art that’s worthy of the high-quality, farm-to-table style sauce that you’ll find inside the jar!
The most innovative origin story for product packaging at SFFS18 belongs to Florida-based Surprise Drinks company. In 2006, inventor and current CEO of Surprise Drinks, engineer Pavel Dlouhy, developed a patented system of a drinkable beverage in a bottle with a toy hidden in a capsule attached to the bottle (Drink&PlayTM). Dlouhy’s inspiration for the Drink & Play patented bottle was the vision of his wife, who was pregnant at the time with their first child.
Dlouhy approached the Walt Disney Company, which became the first license for Surprise Drinks in Europe. The heritage Disney brands, along with all the up and coming licenses associated with Disney have elevated Surprise Drinks to one of the top selling children’s beverages in Europe.
Pretzilla Soft Pretzel Burger Buns: an absolutely delicious baked good with the best. name. ever! I want to eat them.
It’s always fun to spend time browsing in the BBQ Sauces aisle. Spotting a line of sauces with a product-approprate name like Bone Suckin’ is just one reason why that is true.
I’ve already mentioned how fond I am of Vodka, so it was extra sweet to encounter the folks at Got Attitude Vodka in the New Brands on the Shelf aisle. Even better: they were giving out free samples!
Got Attitude Vodka is not meant for those who follow the crowd. It is for the bold, and those who speak their mind. How does Got Attitude taste? In a word: Smooth.
Why not make one of these Cocktails with Attitude after you pick up a bottle? Join the Got Attitude family at This Link!
Jelly Belly — always ahead of the flavor trends — makes its first of two appearances in this post for their drool-inducing Krispy Kreme Doughnuts-flavored jelly beans!
Here’s a flavor trend that I never cease to be captivated by: Birthday Cake — or, alternately, Cupcake — flavored . . . anything. At SFFS18 it was apparent that folks have gotten quite creative with this idea, introducing such festive treats as Frosted Cupcake saltwater taffy from Taffy Town.
Over in the New Brands on the Shelf aisle, we came across Cupcake-flavored squeezable Almond Butter from Noosh!
Country Fresh Fudge introduced their take on Birthday Cake Fudge — festive and delicious!
Goodie Girl gluten-free cookies got into game with their newest variety, Birthday Cake Cream sandwich cookies!
And check out the gorgeous spectrum rug in the Goodie Girl booth! Now that’s visual merchandising done right!
Here are a few other creative and eye-grabbing ways that exhibitors stood out from the pack, drew crowds to their booths, and got folks to hang around for a few extra minutes in the vast sea of 2,600 exhibitors!
Pereg Natural Foods also took advantage of the universal appeal of a color spectrum that was created from the simple alignment of their product packaging. Lovely.
Cheribundi 100% natural Tart Cherry Juice knows that the cocktail party brings all the folks to the booth, and this statuesque ice sculpture of Lady Liberty served as a beacon to guide the cocktail-minded to their lively Sunday afternoon soirée.
Brand representatives served both virgin and alcohol-enhanced cocktails which were expertly crafted to highlight the fresh fruit taste of Cheribundi; an ideal mixer that packs numerous health benefits including Phytonutrients and antioxidants! Plus, free swag!
Pepper Creek Farms had the Instagram crowd in mind when they dressed-up their bottles of Salsa and BBQ Sauce in little hats and bandanas! Hey, it got my attention!
Retreat Tropical Juice Blends get their point across by displaying the bottles in a little hammock and Adirondack chair!
Salsa God’s booth display is simple, well organized, and full of cool skulls!
Strawberry Hill Candy is best known for their clever line of Novelty Lollipops that have to be seen to be believed. What caught my eye most in their booth though were these oversize tea cup and saucer props with their Damien Hirst Spot Painting motif!
Sauces ‘N’ Love fresh pasta sauces cooked up one of their speciality dishes on a grill mounted right on top of the engine of this car! Crazy!
Pop Art Snacks Gourmet Popcorn is a pleasure to see at SFFS each year; not only for their Mirrored Disco Ball Booth — which is no doubt the envy of every exhibitor on their aisle — and for their numerous unique Gourmet Popcorn flavors, but because co-owner Mike always remembers my name!
I highly recommend the Hawaiian Sea Salt with Avocado Oil Popcorn for its extreme deliciousness! So good!
Siren Snacks emphasized the “Clean Snacking” approach of their brands’ delicious, plant-based range of protein bites by installing an old-fashioned clawfoot bathtub filled with balloons right in their booth!
New, all-natural Spread Delights are single-serve, squeezable smooth spreads in Chocolate Hazelnut, Raspberry, and Almond varieties that will complement your toast, bagel, favorite pastry, or whatever strikes your fancy. The Spread Delights booth felt like a new car showroom with its life-size packet replicas of each flavor perched atop a lucite display case of that flavor’s man ingredient. Classic and Classy!
Props or themed-booths are certainly not necessary to attract attention. Mingle Sparkling Mocktails showed everyone how effective a straightforward approach can be with their clear branding and elegant product display. It was impossible to pass by their booth without stopping in for a taste of one of their refreshing non-alcoholic beverages!
There’s a reason why the Jelly Belly brand makes its annual Manhattan land grab with one of the largest square-footage booths at SFFS — it’s because their merchandising is rather mind blowing. Everybody wants to hang out in the Jelly Belly booth. It’s like Christmas in there!
And look at how focused this display is for the new Jelly Belly Candy Cones! Forget that Candy Cones have two flavors that taste like both the cone and the ice cream in each piece, and just immerse yourself in this inviting fantasy landscape that features a parfait glass overflowing with candy, an ice cream cone-shaped light, and luscious-looking fake ice cream cones in a rack. Now consider that Jelly Belly has hundreds of flavors, and this tableau is for just one flavor of Jelly Belly. This is why they are number one, people!
Last but not least, a shout out to the lady coping with the day’s extreme heat while manning this booth for Smashmallow all-natural gourmet marshmallows (their slogan: “S’More Better”) who set up across the street from the Javits Center! Maybe next year they will move their booth inside, so she can enjoy some nice air-conditioning!
Thanks to the Specialty Food Association for another great show, and see you next summer!
If you would like to know what it is like to eat and drink your way from one end of NYC’s Javits Convention Center to the other, then the Specialty Foods Association’s annual Summer Fancy Food Show is the must-attend event for you! Sadly, you must have at least a tenuous relationship to the Specialty Food business in order to get in, and lucky for us (and you) we have that connection. I attended with my food critic friend Anne on the opening day of the event’s three-day stretch of wild food delirium. It was all kinds of exhausting fun, but it was worth it.
With over 5,000 exhibitors from around the globe, the SFFS is a kind of blissful food overload that is virtually impossible to thoroughly distill — but we are going give it our best shot! We have a lot ground to cover, so we will break it down into a few subcategories covering food that just was simply delicious to put in the mouth, plus the most striking booth displays, stand-out product packaging, favorite brand mascots and most unusual products of the show. Here are some of our amazing discoveries!
The Pastificio Bacchini booth was loaded with gorgeous fresh pastas that they were cooking up on site for tasting and swooning over.
When they say that these pastas are the Chef’s Best Friend, they mean it!
This Heart-Shaped Ravioli Pasta (stuffed with mozzarella di bufala campana, tomato and basil) looked almost too beautiful to eat!
Our very favorite had to be the Fiocchi Formaggio e Pere (a pasta purse stuffed with cheese and pears), pictured above, which was just insane. Mangia bene!
Also taking top honors in the pasta category was the Amore brand Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli Salad featuring Amore Four Cheese Ravioli, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pesto Paste! So easy to make — we got the recipe!
Calabro brand Fresh Rotolo are tiny, hand rolled pinwheels of Mozzarella and Prosciutto that make a delicious, convenient and visually-compelling party snack! Our favorite meat and cheese snack of the show!
Soon we came across the well-attended booth for C’est Gourmet Ready to Bake Pastry, from which you can make so many delicious treats of both sweet and savory variety — because everything is fresh baked by you at home!
In addition to an assortment of fruit and cheese strudels, and other pastries, C’est Gourmet also offers fill-and-bake Danish Twists and Swirls. You officially have no excuse not to bake!
Behold: the Red Velvet Bomboloni from Forno d’Asolo Italian Bakery! We are speechless!
Three words: Sticky Toffee Pudding from the Sticky Toffee Pudding Company. Like you couldn’t have just guessed that! Created by British ex-pat Tracy Claros, who is now based in Austin, Texas, these desserts are her updated approach on the great tradition of British hot puddings brought to America to share with you! You can buy them online!
Look at this cake. Just look at it. We found this gorgeous and outrageously moist and delicious Pistachio Pound Cake in the booth for Hahn’s Old Fashioned Cake Company!
This an Orange Creamsicle Smoothie that we refreshed ourselves with at the Walden Farms booth. The light and luscious smoothie is officially a low-sugar, low calorie treat as it’s made with both fat free yogurt and fat free milk, sweetened fresh fruit and two Walden Farms products: their Orange Marmalade Fruit Spread and their Marshmallow Dip. It tastes fantastic and you can get the recipe at their website!
Two Friends Chocolates makes gourmet candies that look like Art! We love the Mondrian design in the lower right hand corner, especially.
We had fun spotting and collecting snaps of products that had fun or funny names, eye-grabbing signage or clever slogans. Too Cool Chix are two cool chicks (Michele Elmer and Sharon Monahan) who have elevated the humble ice cream sandwich, because they think outside the pint!
Too Cool Chix all natural ice cream sandwiches are layered with handmade, soft cookies, paired with extraordinary micro-batch ice cream — what they call their “magic in the middle” — with the result being beautiful, delicious, classic and innovative flavor combinations.
The Beauty Bar: Lavender Ice Cream with a Soft Lemon Cookie Sandwich was my favorite!
Pickled Pink Foods, well, if you know me at all, it is obvious why this is included in the round up. These guys pickle foods that you would not necessarily traditionally pickle.
Like these Pickled Peaches, which taste exactly like you would imagine. They would be great served with barbecued meats (especially ribs), I think.
This is the slogan for Crapola Granola. Do you need me to explain to you why this is hilarious? It might not be as outrageous as This, but it still rates.
Crapola Cranbrerry and Apple Granola: It tastes good, and it makes you go. What more do you want?
Mallow Tree Fruit Flavoured Balls. The joke just writes itself!
“Eat Our Meat” is the sexually suggestive slogan for Ayoba-Yo, makes of Biltong Jerky and other fine dried meat products. Biltong (a word which I recently played in a game of Words With Friends) is a South African style of air-dried steak jerky which makes all other jerkies taste like chewy rope by comparison. The photo above shows a selection of Droewors, the new standard for Beef Sticks. Eat their meat, indeed.
Meat Jokes! Pigs! We can’t get enough of either!
Meat Mitch BBQ Sauce featuring a Pig named Mitch: Put it on Your Meat, and Eat It.
SuperSeedz Gourmet Pumpkin Seeds initially got our attention because their logo is a Big Pink Pumpkin! SuperSeedz makes seasoned and toasted, no-shell gourmet pumpkin seeds in a variety of delicious flavors that include Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt, Garlicky Dill, and Italian Tomato!
Al Dente Artisinal Pasta gets a pass for the pun! Ha ha ha, Pasta!
Suckerpunch Gourmet Bloody Mary Mix: There are so many things to like about the label alone.
Wise Crackers: For Health Snacking!
Brooklyn Brine Company is famous for its handmade pickles! Also: Metal!
Whitley’s Peanuts presents the Andrew Dice Clay version of Mr. Peanut.
Mama Zuma’s Revenge Kettle-Cooked Habanero Potato Chips (from the Route 11 brand)got everyone’s attention, not just with its fiery heat, but with its packaging art inspired by actress Jane Russell’s role in the 1943 film The Outlaw! Mama Zuma/Jane is depicted on the bag, carrying a Route 11 flag in one hand and a flaming habanero pepper in the other, while wearing a bunch of hot peppers like a grenade belt. Hot and Hot!
Red Rocker Candy Summer Sunset Mix: A Raspberry Lemonade Delight. It looks and sounds amazing!
Best Holiday Packaging, hands down, goes to Frau Helga’s Dresden Butter Stollen, which encapsulates everything delicious about the Christmas season in one festive package!
Chomperz Crunchy Seaweed Chips from Seasnax: Winner of our Shark Attack Snack Packaging Award that we just made up right now!
Choc Stars Chocolate Bars are all natural German-made milk chocolate bars with easily recognizable (and hilarious) depictions of popular music star as pets on their labels. The Michael Jackson one is just too perfect. Also: Katty Perry, HA! Winner: Best Pop Culture Mash-Up!
The Cuteness in Packaging Award goes to P-Nuff Crunch, with its tiny peanut mascot lifting weights. OMG so adorable. This snack is delicious and crunchy like Cheetohs but with Peanut flavor, and it is not made with corn. P-nuff Crunch is the only baked puff snack made from heart-healthy and protein-filled peanuts, fiber-full navy beans, and slow digesting complex carbohydrate rice — natural ingredients, with no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives are added! Our Favorite Bagged Snack of the show!
Enlightened Red Velvet Ice Cream Bar. Anne and I were initially chatted-up in the ladies room by the mother of the guy who created this line of high protein/low sugar frozen desserts. She claimed that it greatly assisted her weight loss efforts — worth exploring!
Best Coffee Pun goes to Java Factory’s Java Nagila Chocolate Mint Keurig pods (photographed in the booth for Brooklyn Bean Roastery)!
We love the retro-style packaging art for Virginia Diner Can-Do Button Mix. With every purchase of this item, a 10% donation is made to cancer research. This tasty candy/nut mix features Virginia Diner’s lightly-salted Virginia peanuts mixed with candy coated chocolates to create a sweet/salty treat. For The Cure.
We have no competition here against this gentleman clad in lime green trousers that flaunt a Hot Pink Crabs and Lobtsers motif (with bonus points for the coordinating Top-Siders, jacket, and tote bag)! Winner: Best Pants of the Show! (Update: Mr. Best Pants has now been identified to us as Stan Ferguson!)
With a staggering number of exhibitors vying for even 5 minutes of attention from dazed attendees, it can pay off well to have an adorable, or otherwise eye-catching, focal point at your boot or display that will attract those who simply must stop to snap a photo for their Instagram so they getinstagram likes. Greenlid compost bins is where we found these little Veggie Guys — a Broccoli Flowerette and her Carrot companion — which made us stop for a photo op, and a chance to learn more about their product. Greenlid is the first compostable and disposable composting bin, made entirely in Canada from locally-recycled cardboard. It breaks down with your compostable waste and produces nutrient-rich soil. Just fill it, seal it, and toss it in your backyard compost pile or put it curbside for municipal pick-up. It’s that easy!
Yes, there are real guys inside these hilarious inflatable costumes for Mr. Turkey and Mr. Bull, whom we found over at the booth for Field Trip Jerky.
All natural and gluten free, Brooklyn-based Field Trip Jerky is a fast growing, health lifestyle brand aimed at providing delicious and versatile meat snacks that complement a large variety of on-the-go consumers. Formed by three friends who saw a need to transform meat snacks after tasting their first craft jerky on the ski slopes in Vermont, Field Trip makes healthier protein-rich snacks without sacrificing quality and taste!
Winner: Best Mascots at SFFS17!
I somehow neglected to get a full photo of the booth for Cookie Dough Confections, makers of gourmet, customizable cookie dough for eating and baking, but I think that was because I was distracted by a couple of amazing Pink Things in their booth.
One being this Hot Pink Neon Cookie Light!
And the other being this Hot Pink KitchenAid Mixer! WOW! Winner: Best Pink Things of the SFFS17!
Stonewall Kitchen, an award-winning purveyor of jams, condiments, spreads, mixes and other gourmet specialty foods embraced a Winter Holiday theme by parking a miniature Red Christmas Tree Truck right in the middle of their rather expansive booth! You can see and feel the effects of Kitchenistic products in your home.Winner: Best Holiday-Themed Booth!
No gimmicks are needed for this super-clean yet visually seductive display for Peter Spanton Drinks: a selection of specialty tonics that can be served on their own as unique ‘soft drinks for grown ups’ or used as a bespoke mixer when paired with its suggested complementary spirit. For example, Lemongrass No. 5 pairs ideally with vodka or gin, while Chocolate No. 4 — an exotic blend of mint and dark chocolate — goes well with dark spirits. Home mixologists take note! Winner: Best Mixers!
Yo Mama Foods, makers of delicious homemade Marinara Sauce, Sesame Dressing and Marinade, and Balsamic Dressing and Marinade, made the most of their smaller space in the New Brands on the Shelf Alley with this fun illuminated vintage signage! Winner: Best Logo Signage!
Chuao Chocolatier make premium gourmet chocolate bars with unexpected add-ins that include Honeycomb, Potato Chips (my personal favorite) and even Bacon! A SFFS17, this Fair Trade company introduced two new Latin-inspired flavors: Cheeky Cheeky Churro (with little Churro bits mixed in) and Totally Tangy Mango! Mmm, mouthwatering!
Their booth incorporated this old fashioned Bicycle-Driven Ice Cream Cart, on which they displayed their many Sofi Awards! They had a little Boom Box Dance Action going on as well. Very fun!
And finally, we present our favorite booth of the show: Belgian Boys European style cookies and treats! The Boys (and Girl) brought the beach right into Javits Center with their Say Hello to Summer-themed booth, which featured a bamboo bar display, Surfboards, a Wading Pool full of cookies and a giant Waffle Shaped Pool Raft!
Belgian Boys dominate in the European Bakery treats category with their Mini Pancakes, Crepes, Waffle Chips, Chocolate Waffle Chips and their famous Cookie Butter, the National Belgian spread, made of crushed Speculoos cookies. We were also introduced to the Mini Cookie Stache, everyone’s favorite cookie butter cookies in a cute mustache shape! Mustache-tic!
Mmm…so much deliciousness!
And…that about does it for our photo recap of the Summer Fancy Food Show 2017! We hope you had as much fun as we did! See you next year!
These tiny Pink Cadillacs are literally a sweet ride! You can buy them online from the Gerrit J. Verburg Company at This Link!
Photographed at the Summer Fancy Food Show 2017 at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
Food bloggers, restaurant owners, gourmet vendors, and other assorted foodies alike kicked off the summer in style with the three-day tour de force that is the Summer Fancy Food Show, which took over Manhattan’s massive Javits Center in its entirety from June 26th to 28th. Summer Fancy Food is the most exciting Specialty Foods Association event of the year, and SFFS16, as it will now be known in food tradeshow history, did not disappoint!
With over 5,000 exhibitors from around the globe, the SFFS is virtually impossible to thoroughly distill. In fact, this was the single largest show ever held at Javits to date! As usual, we arrived with an appetite, a huge empty bag, and eyes wide open for spotting the most striking booth displays, stand-out product packaging and most unusual products of the show. Here are some of our favorite discoveries!
Kate Weiser Chocolates are miniature works of confectionery art, and they taste just as good as they look!
Key Lime Pie Bon Bons, Anyone? They are almost to beautiful to eat! Check Kate Weiser out online at the hyperlink above!
Continuing with foods that are stunning to behold, check out this display featuring Gelarto Italian Ice Cream!
Gelato master Luca Grassi has been carefully crafting this award winning gelato in Turin, Italy since 1986 ! You can taste the quality ingredients in every mouth watering bite.
We couldn’t help but linger at the Gelarto booth; with so many luscious gourmet flavors, we had to sample a few!
Feast your eyes on this colorful tower of gourmet French Macarons from Dana’s Bakery. We tried the strawberry (pale pink, third row up from the bottom) and immediately declared this Macaron to be the Best Ever!
Oh my! The deluge of psychedelic colors coming from the Goodie Girl Cookies display gave us acid flashbacks! Located close by in New Jersey, Goodie Girl makes tiny, delicious gluten-free cookies that will knock your socks off. We are especially partial to the Midnight Brownie variety. Mmm…Brownie…
Meet Goodie Girl owner and founder, Shira Berk. She’s fabulous. And dig that crazy dress! What a vision with a vision she is.
We also ran into a few men bringing their vibrant fashion sense to the tradeshow floor, including Damir Redzepagic from Frisa Beverages.That suit is just amazing, and Damir is fairly easy-on-the-eyes as well.
Frisa are the makers of very tasty non-alcoholic, ultra-premium European botanical sparkling beverages that offer unique flavor profiles including Black Currant Rosehip, Elderflower, and Ginger Hibiscus. Frisa is kosher, and has ony 100 calories per bottle. Sadly, we did not get a good, close-up photo of the bottles, as we were visually distracted by other things. But we can tell you that the Elderflower variety is just fantastic tasting. We are going to try to do a separate review of Frisa Beverages in the near future, so stay tuned to the blog!
Attention all Amateur Mixologists: the Wild Hibiscus Flower Company has introduced a line of 100% natural flower extracts that can be used to create all sorts of cocktail magic. The Rose + Hibiscus variety is a top favorite of professional bartenders. With the hibiscus flower’s mixed-berry-esque taste, this unique product can be used like bitters, with just a few drops per cocktail adding a vibrant pink color (are we thinking Cosmos? Sure we are!). It also goes particularly well with mescal, or added to a glass of Champagne.
Even more exciting; B’Lure, a bright blue extract made from Butterfly Pea Flower magically changes the color of clear drinks from blue to purple with just a squeeze of citrus. We saw it demonstrated right before our eyes! Fancy!
And check out these Preserved Hibiscus Flowers that you can add to a glass of Proseco! Visit Wild Hibiscus Dot Com for recipe ideas and more product information!
For the second year in a row, top accolades for Best All-Around Booth and Signage goes to Pop Art Gourmet Popcorn of Salt Lake City!
If you read our rad recap of SFFS15, you may recall that Pop Art won this distinguished honor courtesy of their Popcorn Disco Ball! This year, they took that idea a few steps further, creating an entire booth shaped like a halved Disco Ball! Amazing! No other booth even came close to being so impressive. Also, check out that eye-catching Neon Sign!
Pop Art has just launched its gourmet Mash-Ups, a blend of two popcorn flavors in one tempting bag of yum — Feta Cheese & Honey Caramel being an example of a Mash-Up that makes our brains explode with delight. Visit Pop Art online at Pop Art Snacks Dot Com!
Over at the Foods from England Pavilion (or whatever it was called; you get the idea) we found a few fun products including Farraday’s Tasty, a family-owned business that specializes in gourmet Mayo, Relish and Chutney products. We love their slogan: The Lake District in a Jar!
You know how much we love mayo, right? So, imagine what it was like to taste Faraday’s Tasty Wasabi Mango Mayo. Holy Green-Headed Cow with a Globe on its Noggin — that is tasty!! Explore the world of Farraday’s Tasty at Stay Tasty Dot Com.
British Comedian Eddie Izzard once asked the burning question: Cake Or Death? And the answer is: “Cake, Please!” Especially when the cake is from Mr. Kipling!
Look at all of those delicious tiny cakes. Just look at them. Imagine the Mad Tea Party you could host with that kind of a spread? Get all the sweet stuff you need to know at Mr Kipling Dot Co Dot UK!
Jelly Belly Baking Mixes: It is a Thing.
Description of Chuao Potato Chip Chocolate Bar: Creamy milk chocolate, a sprinkle of sea salt and that irresistible potato chip crunch. The Potato Chip Bar combines two of the most crave-able creations on the planet for total taste bud domination. Yes, Please!
Yes, it exists: Cookie Pop Oreo Flavored Popcorn.
We do not know exactly what Juice Mud Jelly is, but we bet it comes from Asia! Fruit with a face on it gets a thumbs up for inclusion in the SFFS 16 recap!
The Matzo Project wins this years favorite product buzz phrase, because Would It Kill You to Try Something New? We tried the Cinnamon Sugared Matzo. It was, not surprisingly, delicious!
Everything Dog in a Blanket: Sold!
Mackies Haggis Potato Crisps. They taste like Haggis!
Aw, look at these crazy little monster dudes that are the mascots for Volcano Popping Candy! How cute are they? So darn cute.
And while we’re on the subject of cuteness, surely it does not get much more adorable than tiny, smiling faced-jars wearing a striped sweater and a beret! Le Squee!
PetitPot Pot De Creme is delectable french pudding that tastes simply divine, and comes in a jar, for easy access snackin’. PetitPot Pot De Creme comes in lots of yummy flavors and is made, of course, with lots of care and high quality ingredients. Visit their Website for more information!
Do you like delicious flavored coffees and do you also own a Kurig? Brooklyn Bean Roastery unveiled lots of sensational holiday coffee flavors with colorful and clever theme packaging to match!
Visit them online at Brooklyn Beans Dot Com!
Every year, we always find the most hilarious signage and packaging among the many exhibitors in the Hot Sauce aisle and SFFS 16 was no exception. Todd’s Inner Beauty Hot Sauce has an angry Tiki God on the bottle.
He is angry, so he is hot, get it? And what a fun name this sauce has!
Spyce Sauce — which, REALLY spicy — gave away this crazy little mascot guy at their booth. Super fun.
Blair’s Death Sauce stayed on-theme by decorating their display with fun Chili Peppers with Horns and Devil Duck Toys!
We wanted to steal this excellent coffin-shaped platter! Bone Appetit indeed!
Casa Maya Salsa embraces it Mexican heritage with a label that proudly boasts a colorful Sugar Skull on each jar. Their booth was no-frills but nevertheless a minor work of art, because you can never have too many skulls.
Bacon and Jam Mash-ups also continue to be on-trend, and we tasted a couple of good ones. Terrapin Ridge Farms Hot Pepper Berry Bacon Jam covers all the flavor-profile bases for an artisan condiment that says “You must have me in your pantry!” right on the label. Well, it doesn’t really, but it should.
Does The Bacon Jams (soon to be known as TBJ Gourmet) have the best brand mascot in a guitar-playing, shade-wearing pig? Maybe.
Let’s see, what else did we eat at SFFS 16? Oh Yeah! Way Better Snacks — a brand we have mad love for already — had this for us to nosh on:
It’s a Taco To Go: all of the Taco ingredients you crave, tossed in an easy-to-carry half of a chips bag! Way Better Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips brought the crunch!
And here’s a more traditional, Spicy Beef Taco, which we picked up at the booth for Chef Rick Bayles’ Frontera Salsa! He is very handsome.
Get product information and recipes at Frontera Fiesta Dot Com!
Do you like Pancakes and also Dessert? Then you might be interested in Belgian Boys Mini Pancakes — which are appropriate for either option.
Check out the Chef making Belgian Boys Mini Pancakes right in the booth! She had mad skills.
We ate them, and we would do it again.
And now, as we wrap up another year of food, folks and fun at the Summer Fancy Food Show, we’d like to give a shout out to Graeter’s Ice Cream.
They did not have a fancy booth but, gosh darn it if they didn’t serve the Best Ice Cream of the Show!
See you next Summer, SFFS!
This Photo Image Source, All Other Photos By Gail, Unless Noted.
Do you like Butter? I sure do. You know what I don’t like, though? Cold, hard butter that sometimes arrives at your table along with the bread at even the fanciest restaurants. What is up with that? Butter should be soft and spreadable, and hard butter destroys the bread! There is no need for butter to be hard unless you need to transport it through the desert on a refrigerated truck. Otherwise, no need!
Given my passionate stand on soft butter, it is probably no accident that, while I was at the Summer Fancy Food show a couple of months back, I was introduced to the Tava Life Provisions company and their delicious product, flavored, 100% grass fed Pure Spreadable Butter, also known as Ghee. If you have eaten a lot of delicious Indian food, as I have, you may already know that Ghee (clarified butter) originates in India, where it is used extensively in cooking and its health benefits are widely promoted. Also, it is fun to say: Ghee.
Ghee (Image Source)
Health benefits of consuming Pure Spreadable Butter include increased metabolism and improved digestive function, something that I wasn’t getting enough results in when I found the phen375 for sale and read about it as a metabolism-boosting alternative. Tava Ghee is pure, with no hydrogenated oils, and it is rich in the healthy fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as being a source of the natural cancer-fighting fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Who knew butter could be such a healthy food?
Original Ghee is clarified butter that has been cooked down for hours. It then turns into a beautiful gold color and creates a sweet, caramel, nutty aroma, but maintains a buttery taste. Ghee alone is an excellent alternative to butter for those who are lactose intolerant (all the milk solids are removed through reducing and then filtering the butter) and who want the taste of butter, without the unhealthy fats often found in margarine.
Most importantly, Tava Ghee is delicious. Tava Representatives sent me sample jars of their regular Ghee, plus three gourmet flavored varieties, and I got started cooking with them right away.
Tava’s Green Chili infused Ghee will add a spicy kick to any savory dish, such as meats, vegetables or, in my case, eggs. Eggs scrambled in Green Chili Ghee are ready for a south-of-the-border brunch with just a sprinkling of cheese and a side of refried beans!
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is definitely on trend as a popular and sought-after food ingredient. Tava infuses their lightly whipped Ghee with just the right amount of Himalayan salt, so that no additional seasoning needed.
It tastes great on pasta dishes like this Capellini with Broccoli and Cheese!
To create the fragrant Vanilla Bean Ghee – which is prefect to top your morning toast – pure Madagascar vanilla bean is soaked and stirred into the ghee, leaving a very subtle sweet taste. This Ghee is not so sweet that it should deter you from topping your toast with your favorite jam or sweet spread.
Ghee is easy to bake with, shelf stable for up to nine months, and can be cooked with at high temperatures of 250°C (482°F), which is well above typical cooking temperatures for regular butter and most vegetable oils. Exciting! Find out more about Tava Ghee, get delicious Ghee recipes and even purchase these products online at Tava Life Dot Com!
For a food blogger, there is no better way to kick off the summer in style than with the three-day tour de force that is the Summer Fancy Food Show, which took over Manhattan’s massive Javits Center in its entirety from June 28th to 30th. With over 5,000 exhibitors from around the globe, Summer Fancy Food is the most exciting Specialty Foods product showcasing event of the year for restaurant owners, gourmet vendors, and foodies alike!
As usual, I went with an empty tummy, a huge swag bag, and eyes wide open for spotting the most striking booth displays, stand out product packaging and most unusual products of the show. Here are some of our favorite discoveries!
Simply Baked makes eye-catching packaging for baked goods, treats and gifts. They even have cupcake cups that go right into the oven and come out ready to serve! I appreciated the pink popcorn and cupcakes that were part of an overall visually enchanting display.
Salad Shotz makes Kid Friendly Salad Dressings with all natural ingredients, that will appeal to the adult palate as well. Chocolate Chip salad dressing, mmmmm.
I imagine it was fun for the folks at Buen Sabor to drive their Empanada-serving VW Bus right up to and inside of Javits Center!
Promising Food Truck Flavors Without the Line, Buen Sabor nevertheless attracted a consistent queue with their delicious offerings of frozen empanadas in tempting flavors like Plantain and Cheese, and Beef Picadillo.
Lolea Sangria is an exceptionally delicious beverage that comes in both red and white varieties and is as distinctive for its flavor as it is for its red and white polka dot bottles that recall the work of Japanese pop artist Yayoi Kusama. When I brought it up, no one at the booth had heard of her.
Morfat is how I felt when I was only about a tenth of the way through the show! And don’t these cakes look delicious!
Kefla Glass Bottles from Germany come in so many different shapes, sizes and colors, but I loved the ones that look like little shoes!
Barnana Organic Chewy Banana Bites is one of the most original and great tasting snacks I’ve encountered at any food show, anywhere. Unfortunately, they did not have free samples to take home at their booth, and when I tried to surreptitiously pilfer a bag from their display, I was caught red handed. The shame.
Mocktails brand non-alcoholic cocktail beverage alternative comes in this neato, totally reusable Cocktail Shaker packaging! Adding alcohol is allowed, at your discretion!
Fundelina Chocolate Hazelnut Spread was mistaken by me for Nutella. I bet that happens a lot.
Serendipity 3’s Frozen Hot Chocolate Mix gets bonus points for having Satan depicted on its packaging. I imbibed my first Frozen Hot Chocolate at the age of 18 years and still recall how it made me feel drunk, even though it contains no alcohol. Mysterious! And now you can prepare one at home, in a variety of flavors no less!
Best Mobile Display goes out to Brian Levin of Perky Jerky!
Blue Isle Mediterranean dairy products had a String Cheese on display at their booth that was the size of a small infant. Impressive!
In line for Best Slogan/ Tag Line is Smari Organic Icelandic Yogurt with “Strong, Like My Mother.” Also, I love the Spoon wearing a Viking Hemet. Valhalla, I am coming!
Four Words: Beer Flavor Jelly Bellys.
Fancy Food is so huge, it has room to feature aisle after aisle crammed with hundreds of hot sauce products. These booths provide the best photos ops you could imagine. Let’s take a look!
Red Robot Hot Sauce, features a cute little Red Robot on its label!
Fat Cat Foods makes an extensive line of spicy sauces, but this Bacon Sriracha was my favorite. I bet it tastes insane.
The labeling on Bone Doctors BBQ Sauce is like a work of Fine Art.
I put Empire Mayonnaise at the top of my list of booths to visit when their friendly PR Rep told me in an email that one of her favorites sayings was, “Hating Mayonnaise Does Not Make You Interesting.” They gave away little jars of their delicious gourmet mayonnaise. Best Booth Ever.
I also didn’t see as much candy at this year’s show, but we were impressed by Strawberry Hill Candy’s Empire State Building Lollipops. New York City!
Cracked Candy may be capitalizing on the still-trending popularity of all things Breaking Bad (one representative in the booth was shamelessly sporting a Heisenberg-esque Pork Pie Hat) but this sweet stuff is sugar and gluten free, non-GMO and diabetic friendly, so it’s all good! Say Their Name: Cracked Candy!
Wine Sticks (tag line: “Sass with your Glass”) from South Carolina’s The Sweetery are thin, crispy biscuits (cookies) that pair with wine and can even be dunked! I enjoyed tasting several varieties with a glass of red wine, and company co-owner/founder Jane Jarahian was a sweet and attentive lady.
Aside from having an awesome name, Steve’s Ice Cream took home a coveted Sofi Award in the Category of Outstanding Ice Cream, Gelato, or Frozen Treat for their Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream! My personal favorite flavor though was the Southern Banana Pudding. Mmmm, Ba-na-na.
I was already at the point of exploding when I hit the Brownie Points Bakery booth for a sampling of their assorted mouth-watering, home made brownies and popcorn treats. They were baking fresh brownies right in the booth! Heaven.
Wouldn’t this multicolored popcorn make a fun party favor? Sure it would.
Sexy Pop Snacks always creates a bold presence with their brightly colored bags of chips and popcorn that come in all kids of yummy flavors.
Boulder Granola (tag line: “Unleash Your Inner Hippie!”) brought a much smaller VW Bus into the Javits Center (see below) but, dang if the don’t embrace a memorable and vibrant brand identify with their psychedelic flower power Bus logo/backdrop and commitment to being Organic and Gluten Free.
And finally, let’s wrap up this thing with the Pop Art Snacks Gourmet Popcorn Booth, which got everything right! From the clever product name and Lichtenstein knockoff artwork to the Neon Logo and the custom-made Popcorn Disco Ball — this brand really made themselves stand out from the crowd! Owners Mike and Venessa (who, like me, are big Pop Art fans) started out in Brooklyn and relocated to Utah where they are growing the brand and enjoying great success! We hope to see them back at Javits for FFS 2016 next summer!