Wednesday, July 1, 2009

55th Summer Fancy Food Show

I returned from the 55th Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City last night, my belly full of around 50 different cheeses and my head even more full of ideas. As always, there was no shortage of cheese, olive oil, and specialty meats to try. There was also an abundance of honey, tea, and fig items at this year's show. I would predict to see variations of these flavors continuing to pop up in new products to come. Blood Orange is becoming more approachable; as the name becomes commonly seen it is drawing appeal rather than fright.

Things that stood out to me at the show:

Chocolate with Panko bread crumbs - Chuao Chocolatier, led by the culinary talents of Chef Michael Antonorsi, introduced their dark chocolate bar with Panko bread crumbs. The Panko provided mainly a different texture experience, not far from a rice crisp bar, but with a more upscale feel. My favorite in their chocolate line, however, is the Modena Chocopod - dark chocolate with a strawberry & balsamic caramel center.

Black Garlic - Huh? It's black. It's fermented. It's sticky. Black Garlic (this is also the company name) is fermented garlic that is sweet and reminiscent of soy sauce in flavor.

Wine Cellar Sorbet - This sorbet made from wine extracts has actually been available in this area for awhile at retailers like Whole Foods and Central Market, but this was my first time to give it a try. I chose the Cabernet Sauvignon, thinking it would taste a bit like watered down wine. Wrong! This stuff was full of intense wine flavor. It was sweet, however, so if you're into dry you might skip this one.

Pancakes with Chocolate Bacon - Vosges Haut Chocolate was cooking up pancakes using their Mo's Bacon Bar. The Mo bar is milk chocolate with applewood smoked bacon and alder wood smoked sea salt. Think chocolate chip pancakes with a side of bacon - pretty tasty!

Cottage Cheese - of course because it was from our own Paula Lambert! I stopped by the Mozzarella Company's booth where Paula was displaying, among her other cheeses, the cottage cheese she developed for Kent Rathbun. I've judged a lot of cottage cheese in my day, and I have to say that Paula knows her stuff. Her version has a nice balance of acid and diacetyl with an extremely clean finish.

Passion Fruit Cocoa Butter Caramel - from Amella. I love that this company uses real fruit to flavor their mouth watering caramels. The passion fruit flavor was intense and married nicely with the creamy caramel. Using cocoa butter instead of butter allows for a lighter, fluffier caramel, with cocoa butter melting beautifully at mouth temperature.


Stick Hansup said...

Typically Dallas (and I'm a Dallas native so I should know). Take great ideas like voluntary simplicity, organic food, low-impact lifestyle...and package it into yet another obscene display of shallow consumerism. Congrats. This is why America is in decline.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure I completely understand your grief, though. Can you explain?

Stick Hansup said...

The roots of "slow food" come from voluntary simplicity, organics, food as an expression of values, permaculture, etc. But Slow Food has taken those admirable ideas and packaged it into just another product for consumption.

In countries that live closer to the land, "Slow Food" is just called "going to the market". Most of my experience is in Southeast Asia. They have REAL markets there, with real people selling real food. In Dallas we have the "Farmer's" market...where trucks show up at 3am to unload goods from corporate farms and actors posing as farmers sell what they pretend to have produced. It's a sham. Same with SF. It's a way to spin products in such a way so that upper middle-class consumers can rationalize their self-indulgence.

SF is a marketing isn't real. No doubt it will be very successful. Who doesn't want to buy "artisan mustard" or honey harvested from free-range bees. The problem is that it isn't REAL. Americans want to feel good about themselves without actually having to DO anything. So instead of selling that Hummer 2, questioning the current value system, QUITTING that job at Raytheon, Exxon, or Halliburton (all are popular jobs in Dallas), and actually make a difference, one can just go buy some "Slow Food" and feel all better. It's clever marketing, but that's really ALL it is. SF started out with good intentions as a protest against McDonald's, GM food, corporate farming, Monsanto and the rest, but somewhere along the way, something went wrong (they probably discovered the profit potential).

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