The Summer Fancy Food Show, which ran from June 23 through June 25 at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center, promised at least six football fields worth of specialty foods, including chocolate, cheese and olive oil to name a few.
The largest specialty food industry event in North America, the Fancy Food Show is known to showcase its field’s best products and newest innovations. As presented by the membership-based Specialty Food Association — founded in 1952 — attendees come from all walks of life, and over 34,000 people appear to have attended the 2018 Summer Fancy Food Show.
As getting through well over 1,000 booths — in addition to dozens of scheduled events and presentations — ought to be very challenging, I decided to make it easier for readers of Jewish Journal who could not attend this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show.
In turn, below are 18 – chai – must-try, recommended brands that exhibited this year at the Javits Center.
From The Ground Up
From The Ground Up is a Sofi Award-winning line of delicious cauliflower-based, and now butternut squash-based, pretzels and crackers that are made from real veggies. The snacks are Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-free certified and made with vegan ingredients. The brand’s snacks are a fun and tasty way to sneak in some nutrition at snack time, and these better-for-you alternatives rival the mainstream versions. The Cauliflower Tortilla Chips are especially worth your time and taste buds.
Saffron Road’s global journey began with a core belief that traditionally pure foods can be a safe medium to compassionately inspire and inclusively connect diverse cultures together. Regardless of language, religion, or culture, everyone loves authentically delicious, wholesome foods. Saffron Road debuted nationally in July 2010 in Whole Foods Market as the world’s first Halal-certified, antibiotic free and humanely raised frozen entrée. It has also since become the fastest-growing natural frozen food brand. Its latest frozen meal offerings include Thai Style Green Curry, Vegetable Biryani, and a Shoyu Ramen Bowl. Those seeking sweet yet savory snacks cannot go wrong with the (chocolate covered) Dark Chocolate Chai Crunchy Chickpeas.
Mutti is Italy’s #1 tomato brand and one of the fastest-growing brands of shelf-stable tomatoes in the United States. Mutti recently launched its newest line of Mutti Sauces for Pizza, as developed with high-quality ingredients and distinct flavor profiles. Each of these sauces pay tribute to three Italian cities famous for their distinct style of pizza: Positano, Napoli and Parma. The Positano variety is my favorite, as boosted with garlic and oregano.
Earlier this month Dolcezza announced the national launch of its small-batch gelato as being available in Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. Founded in 2004 by husband-and-wife duo Violeta Edelman and Robb Duncan, Dolcezza handcrafts gelato from its Washington D.C. factory, as made with the seasonal and local produce and dairy sourced from grass-grazed cows in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. My favorite of the seven Dolcezza flavors, you ask? The Stracciatella with the Roasted Strawberry as a distant second. After opening up a pint of Dolcezza, it is nearly impossible for me not to finish it within the same sitting.
Runamok Maple is a maker of all-natural, organic maple syrup. At the Summer Fancy Food Show, the team showed off a new maple syrup flavor, Coffee Infused. It is a divine variation of their maple syrup and will serve as an ideal topper for a vanilla ice cream sundae, the ideal centerpiece for a classic Rhode Island-style Coffee Milk, and/or a superb ingredient for a cocktail like a White Russian. With a rich flavor infusion from Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea Company’s organic coffee beans, this unique maple syrup is as addictive as your morning “cup of joe.” Husband and wife team Eric and Laura Sorkin notably produce Runamok Maple amongst over 1,000 acres of land in northern Vermont, managing 100,000 taps to bring their pure maple syrup to consumers near and far.
Henri Hutin and his family began making artisanal cheese on their farm in the North of Meuse, France in the early 1900s. After the war in 1922, Henri expanded the family business into a full-on fromagerie in Lacroix-Sur-Meuse and established himself across the region as a “Master Cheese Maker.” The brand’s Triple Cream Belletoile is well-known in the U.S. and can be bought in almost all of the famous supermarkets out there, Trader Joe’s included. Belletoile’s Creamy Slices are sliced with wafer-thin precision and offer both unique texture and an incredibly creamy mouthfeel. The Belletoile Spreads with Goat Milk make for a versatile cheese that can be served on any occasion.
With Happi Foodi, it’s easy to enjoy delicious, innovative dishes right at home. The team works to nourish souls through easily accessible meals that list all ingredients on the package front, allowing people to quickly understand the quality ingredients used in each dish. At last year’s show, Happi Foodi unveiled a new frozen meal brand set. This year, the company launched Cauliflower Wings with Sriracha Hot Sauce, a Bacon Pear & Feta Flatbread, Cuban Egg Rolls, Buffalo Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls, Tequila Lime Chicken, Barbacoa Mac & Cheese, and range of Street Tacos (Brisket, Carnitas, Southwestern and Al Pastor Chicken). To quote the great David Lee Roth, nothin’ but yeah.
Loacker is a global leader when it comes to high-quality wafer, patisserie and chocolate specialties. Loacker’s products are made with a cream filling and contain no added flavorings, colorings, preservatives, or hydrogenated fats, making them better-for-you indulgences when hunger strikes. Loacker’s Quadratinis are my favorite of the company’s offerings, as they are light and crispy wafers enveloping four layers of smooth cream in a vast assortment of irresistible flavors, including Hazelnut, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Lemon.
Andre’s Confiserie Suisse
André’s is a family-owned business that for three generations has been pouring passion into each and every one of its creations. Rooted in tradition, yet relentlessly inspired to create an unparalleled taste experience, André’s produces innovative yet classic Swiss-style confections that will delight your taste buds. New to Andre’s line of products is its Extra Dark Chocolate Almonds. Made with single original 80 percent chocolate, expect the right amount of sweetness beyond the usual Andre’s-level of quality. Also available for sampling at the Summer Fancy Food Show were Fleur de Sel Caramels and Mint Leaves. Furthermore, Andre’s packaging honors Swiss tradition, featuring custom-designed Scherenschnitte, which is the detailed art of continuous paper-cutting.
Render is the first company to partner with award-winning chefs to bring the inspiration out of some of America’s best restaurants and onto grocery store shelves. Render is a single brand partnering with chefs to create impressive food and beverage products that are accessible and make an easy upgrade to your snack, meal, or drink. Its State Bird Crunch, Render’s first product, is a savory, crunchy snack made of puffed quinoa, spices and seeds, as developed through a collaboration with James Beard award-winning, Michelin-starred chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinksi of State Bird Provisions in San Francisco. On the beverage end, Bryner is a savory, vegetable drink developed with James Beard award-winning author and chef Nicolaus Balla of San Francisco spot Duna, which is famed for producing house-made versions of everything from pickles to paprika. Meanwhile, Weyla is a sparkling fruity beverage developed with internationally-acclaimed chef and James Beard award-winning author of the “Bar Tartine” cookbook Cortney Burns. Smart and delicious.
Beveri is one of America’s fastest-growing organic health. The company unveiled its new line of retail packaging at the Summer Fancy Food Show, which continues the tradition of its products being organic, gluten-free and kosher. The new packaging brings a whole new level of sophistication to the Beveri product line. The new designs are clean, bright and colorful and signify Beveri’s growth and transformation from being a regional brand into a national player.
Snack happy and guilt-free, Baguette Bites are part of the newest generation of bread snacks from artisan bread snack brand Sabine’s Collections, a division of Bäckerhaus Veit. The new snack alternative is available in three delicious flavors: Olive Oil and Rosemary, Jalapeno and Cheddar, and Roasted Garlic and Chives. All of these varieties are vegan-certified and kosher, while also free of artificial flavors and colors, cholesterol, MSG, ADAs, PHOs, saturated fats and trans fats. My favorite of the Baguette Bites batch is the spicy and savory Jalapeno and Cheddar.
Operating since 1919, WASA is the biggest crispbread baker in the world. Selling its products in 40 different countries— from Scandinavia to America —in 1999 WASA became part of the Barilla Group alongside Mulino Bianco, Harry’s and Pavesi. WASA is currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, and attendees of the Summer Fancy Food Show had the opportunity to try the new WASA Thin Rye crispbread crackers with Executive Chef Kelvin Fernandez —Forbes Best Chef in America for 3 years in a row— in tow. WASA crackers integrate into recipes yet are also great for snacking on their own.
The Al Dente Pasta Company
It’s been only one year since Al Dente Pasta Company — long considered one of America’s premiere brands of specialty pastas —formed a strategic partnership with Alb-Gold, a pasta manufacturer located in the Swabian Alps of Southern Germany. Together these two families of pasta makers successfully introduced six innovative and trend-setting pastas. The first of the new products were a line of little pasta shapes. Collectively named Piccolo Pasta they are made by rolling out egg noodles which are cut and formed into three unique shapes: egg bonnetti (little bonnets), turmeric pinchetti (little pinches) and spinach farfalletti (little butterflies). Made with fresh cage-free eggs and wheat sourced directly from local farmers, all ingredients are GMO-free, kosher and cook in just five minutes. Also recently introduced are three exciting plant-based pastas. Each unique flavor combination includes only two clean, nutritious ingredients: chickpea turmeric, green pea wild garlic, red lentil sweet potato. These gluten-free pastas are also organic, vegan, non-GMO and high-protein.
Wooden Table Baking Co.
Argentinians are lucky to have a sharing culture. Wooden Table Baking Co. is an Oakland-based bakery dedicated to crafting the finest Argentinian treats. The brand has been making our alfajores and bonbons from scratch with high-quality, all-natural ingredients since 2011. It uses locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible and its flour, granulated sugar, cornstarch, chocolate, potato starch and tapioca starch are all non-GMO. Especially worth checking out are those Alfajores, which are two shortbread cookies joined with dulce de leche. 16 cookies come in each box, weighing in around two pounds in total.
Sardinia’s Pecorino PDOs
The autonomous region of Sardinia had several varieties of excellent pecorino cheese on display at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Soup. The Pecorino Romando PDO, Pecorino Sardo PDO and Fiore Sardo PDO are all 100 percent sourced from fresh milk. The Pecorino Romano PDO particularly matures for at least five months (for table cheese) and for eight months (for grating cheese). The Pecorino Sardo PDO cheese is partially cooked and molded into its shape. The Fiore Sardo PDO has a thin, firm, wrinkled crust that is brown or grey in color. Three very enjoyable cheeses which I hope to consume again soon.
Bittermilk LLC manufactures two brands of all-natural cocktail mixers, Bittermilk and Barcoop Bevy. Bittermilk is a line of complex, handcrafted cocktail mixers inspired by classic cocktails. Its second line, Barcoop Bevy, is a line of refreshing, balanced cocktail mixers made using a short list of real ingredients. Between the two brands, the company is the proud winner of eight sofi Awards, including the 2019 gold award for Bittermilk No.2 Tom Collins with Elderflower & Hops in the Cold Beverage category. Proprietors Joe and MariElena Raya stepped behind the bar for one lively hour for two afternoons during the Summer Fancy Food Show, mixing complex, unique variations of their proprietary cocktails using products from their two brands. A distinct presentation of a stand-out series of products, to say the least.
Cape Cod Sweets
Cape Cod Sweets, LLC (also known as Cape Cod Provisions) sells specialty chocolate confections under the brand names Harvest Sweets, Cape Cod Cranberry Candy, Cape Harvest, Sweet Cravings, and New England @ Heart. Founded in 1996 and acquired by Cape Cod Sweets LLC in July 2016, Cape Cod Provisions now benefits from its parent company’s extensive background in Massachusetts’ cranberry and agricultural industry through increased vertical integration and investment in new technology. Demand from specialty food retailers has led to the introduction of Chocolate Gift Sets from Cape Cod Provisions’ chocolate company. As just one of the company’s new products to be featured at the Summer Fancy Food Show, five combinations are available in the chocolatier’s best-selling flavors and brand mixes. Each gift box contains two gable boxes with delicious chocolate covered fruits and either a signature Cranberry Bog Frog or five gourmet truffles. All selections include New England native fruits, like cranberries and blueberries, making these gift boxes the perfect vacation remembrance. Furthermore, the gift boxes are cushioned with 100 percent compostable aspen wood fill material while finished with a clear cover and festive stretch loop bow.