Warren Brown, creator of “Cake Love” and star of Food Network’s “Sugar Love”..
As you can see from the picture above, I have been quite busy this past month. I recently attended the 2014 Summer Fancy Food Show held in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center. On my weekend trip I ate an amazing meal at Samovar, which is a Russian Restaurant and Piano Bar, had a glorious stay at the Sheraton in Brooklyn, and mastered the infamous subway with loads of help from kind strangers. All I can say is New Yorkers are nice!
I have no idea what he was promoting but I am sure he earned some major change that day.
During my two days at the show, I ventured into new foods, beverages, and experiences. The products there were beyond delightful: I will save a separate entry for that, alone. For now, I will just share what enticed, exhilarated and impressed me at the show.
1.) Baby Green Peaches From Japan:
The Fancy Food Show is divided by countries, states, and specialties. I wanted to feel like I was traveling all over the world so I traveled, more like walked in very uncomfortable TOMS shoes, to Japan. Sushi, wasabi, noodles, and sauces were peppered in and out of this area. I wanted to try something new so I made a quick Pitt- stop to the Baby Green Peaches stand. The little fruit was green, fleshy, with a thin veil of shine. It didn’t look very appetizing but looks can be deceiving. All I have to say is yum. I wish it was sold at my nearest Whole Foods or something. It’s perfect in cocktails, ice cream, and fruit salads.
2.) Caviar From Somewhere, United States of America?
Sorry to burst your astronomically large foodie bubble but I don’t remember where I tried this appetizer. So I fail food snob of the year, oh well. The caviar was great and it didn’t have a strong, fishy, aftertaste. It was salty enough and blended well with the bread.
3.) Petit Gateau From Brazil
There was plenty of World Cup pride to go around this aisle. I was surprised that chocolate lava cakes were a specialty in this part of the world but the taste does not deceive. The cake was moist, chocolate lava sauce was rich, and everything blended well within my taste buds. This is another product I would buy if I was at a grocery store since it’s gourmet in a tiny box.
4.) Tassoni Cedrata From Southern Italy
This drink originated in 1956 from the Southern region of Calabria in Italy. The soda was sweet without overdoing it, and had a nice zest at the end. This drink is also made from a fruit indigenous to Italy called a citron. Again, it’s not really sold in the United States so I am crying myself to sleep over this (i’m not even being sarcastic, it’s really that good).
5.) Fruit Juices from the Amazon in Brazil
I’ve always wanted to travel through the Amazon. The closest to doing that endeavor was by tasting fruit juices straight from the area. I’ve already had acai juice before (blech), so I wanted to try something new. So I sampled the following: acerola, camu-camu, muruci, capuacu, and tapereba. I didn’t have strong enough palate or stomach for this adventure. Honestly, that’s what demolished my stomach that day. Do I regret going to this stand and trying these new drinks—no. New experiences are always worth it.
6.) Petite Four Pastries in France
France made a great impression with me, food wise, I mean. I ate a few petite fours and was overjoyed by its simple sweetness. In contrast with American desserts, these pastries had the right amount of sugar and taste to hold over my sugar indulgences. Since the cupcake trend is over (THANK GOODNESS!!) maybe we can all learn to refine our taste buds and indulge in something more classier—like French petite fours.
7.) Hibiscus Flowers & Juices in Malaysia
If you know me at all then you know that I have a deep fascination with anything hibiscus. By chance, I found this delicious hibiscus stand and sampled the actual flower, juices, jams and then some. That was my personal highlight from the show since it’s my favorite flower to snack on.
8.) Jello Shots in India
So one would automatically think I would love the India aisle. Meh. It was the worst aisle I walked through. Most of the exhibitors were rude and the food was far less than palatable. I highly doubt I would ever walk through there again. Only one stand kept my attention and it was the one where they had a rainbow of jello shots to snack on. It was really tasty, actually. I was surprised by that. If you ever go to an Indian grocery store, I highly recommend getting Indian jello. It was so good. The only redeeming stand from the India aisle (sad, I know).
9.) Korean Burritos from South Korea
Kinda obvious I overstayed my welcome in South Korea. I just couldn’t help it, I LOVE Korean food. Everyone was so nice, the food was well prepared and I had a memorable time in that aisle. Who wouldn’t want to stay there? The burrito was pretty good and it reminded me of fond memories from Annandale, VA. If you’re on the go and craving Korean food, this is your best option.
10.) Flavored Seaweed from South Korea
I hope I am not the only one who spends mad cash on dried seaweed at Trader Joes and Korean Korner. This stand ascertained for me that there were others who love it too. Dried seaweed is great on rice and it adds great texture and taste to soup. Definitely check these products out when you get the chance.
11.) Lychee Sake from South Korea
My feet were getting blisters (never buying TOMS shoes again), my back was hurting, and my arms were losing momentum to push through swarms of people. I needed a break. I needed nourishment. I needed lychee sake to quench my thirst. Aside from lychee sake, I also drank smooth rice wine, and velvety plum wine. If it wasn’t for this stand, I would not be here today. It’s a lifesaver.
12.) Cactus Juice & Ponche from Mexico
My trip to Mexico was amazing. The exhibitors were super friendly, food was memorable, and the ponche impressed me. Lupita has delicious Mexican snacks and drinks that nourish you. I sampled the cactus juice and it had a sweet yet pungent bite. My favorite was the ponche, it stands out with this aisle. Basically, it’s this warm fruit punch with 20 different pieces of fruit inside of it. The fruit tastes wonderfully delightful and melds well with the punches smooth taste.
13.) Cheese from Wisconsin
Wisconsin is the cheese capital of the United States of America. Who wouldn’t visit this stand? That would be the most unpatriotic thing to do at the Fancy Food Show. Since Wisconsin has a strong German influence, the cheeses had a European flare to them.
14.) Honey from New Jersey
I LOVE honey. It does wonders to baked goods, tea, and life. I sampled the best wildflower honey that ever existed at this show. Well, I actually sampled all of the honey at this particular stand because it was robust, sweet, and perfectly light at the same time. If you buy store or generic honey brands, they don’t always have that kind of appeal. I was surprised that New Jersey rocked the honey industry. Reality shows like “Jersey Shore” really do give a poor impression of this state. Hopefully, this state will be known for producing delicious honey–someday.
15.) Wine Jelly from Vermont
Dear Wine-Os of the world, there are jellies you can use to slather your toast in. I sampled the champagne, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon jellies and loved it. It was sweet, tart, and tasted just right. The texture was doable and it had an extra grip on my cracker. I wish they were for sale that day because I wanted to buy a few jars for some friends. Way to go Vermont!
16.) Quince Juice from Georgia (The Country)
Quince is a fruit indigenous to parts of Asia, and Latin America. Normally the fruit has a sour taste and it desiccates your tongue. I was hesitant in trying it but was glad I did. The juice did not dry out my tongue but lavished it with a happy after thought.
The products I sampled at the show were noteworthy. I had a wonderful time at the show and hope to wear better shoes at the next one in 2015. Stay tuned for part two of my Summer Fancy Food Show Review. I have products to review that will dazzle or even bore you. Not everyone is a food snob so you may just roll your eyes at my next entry.