Recap: Summer Fancy Food Show 2014, Day 2, Part 1
I awoke the morning of Day 2 not very full and ready to tackle the day. Taking stock of what had happened the night before, I saw that my friend Nicole had grabbed a red solo shot glass! Cute. When I asked her what came in it, she couldn’t remember – clearly forgettable. But the red solo shot glass? KEEPER.
Bags under eyes, I was ready to tackle Day 2. I gulped down a tankard of coffee, and headed out the door with the rest of the crew…
Walking up to the Javits Center, this is what I saw. I don’t know what product they were pitching. I did not stop to find out. Yikes.
I had to be convinced to try these Callie’s Cheese and Chive Biscuits. “More bread?” I thought, dismissively. When I took a bite, I realized I was wrong. These were INCREDIBLE. Light, fluffy, full of flavor. And they are sold like this – in tiny cubes. Just pop them in the oven to bake for 25 minutes and BAM! Done. Perfect tiny biscuits.
I should’ve known these were good also because these biscuits went on to win the SOFI for best baked good. Thank you, Nicole and Jen, for forcing me to eat this.
Like I stated before, tea-infused things were EVERYWHERE, and no better example existed than these tea-infused ice creams by TEA-RRIFIC. With six different varieties, I will say these ice creams captured the flavors of tea surprisingly well.
My personal favorite was the Ginger Matcha – ginger plus green tea. POWERFUL and tasty.
Klara’s makes AMAZING macaroons, and if there’s one thing I’ve had plenty of over the years, IT’S MACAROONS. These were moist and chewy and full of coconut flavor.
I remember I visited a friend in Pittsburgh once whose gym that he went to used to have fresh baked macaroons at the reception area. BEST. GYM. EVER.
One of my absolute FAVORITES from last year, Spoonable was back with a new flavor, Buttery Apple. Friggin’ good. Spoonable is THE brand I think of when I think caramel sauces, and you should to.
Ah, WE RUB YOU. One of my favorite products last year, these Korean BBQ sauces won the SOFI last year and added a new HOT (green label) GoChuJang line this year. I dipped a cracker into the new sauce and it had FIRE. Delicious stuff. If you like Korean food (I DO), you have to try this.
Being from Upstate New York and a STICKLER for maple syrup, I sought long and hard during the show for a maple syrup company that could live up to my standards. Crown Maple accomplished that goal. Not much to describe – just the purest and maple-iest syrup I had all day. The pinnacle. It wasn’t slow and viscous like that crap you buy in the store – this stuff was looser, and more genuine. I could take shot glasses of this elixir every day.
Because apparently I am an old man or a hipster, I love drinks with bitters. LOVE THEM. And one of my favorite bitters companies from last year, Hella Bitters, was back showcasing their amazing line of bitters.They were serving it here with some cold brew coffee (incredible combo), but they also showcased the bitters on some savory items and in cocktails. They have a Kickstarter campaign going on right now! Check it out.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is already a huge brand that there’s not much to say about it. Still one of the Gold Standard’s in the ice cream business, their brown butter almond brittle was JUST RIDICULOUSLY GOOD. I STILL don’t really know what brown butter is despite watching cooking shows and YouTube vids on how to make it…but getting that taste into ice cream? Holy cow.
I’m not a huge honey fan, but the Savannah Bee Company may have converted me. The bottle you see to the left was apparently some $100 bottle of tupelo honey. I have no idea why it was so expensive or rare, but let me tell you – a tiny spoonful of that made me feel like Winnie the Pooh floating in the clouds. It was damn tasty. Pure, sugary, natural honey flavor.
The Summer Fancy Food Show is always when I catch up with one of my old friends, the Chuao Chocolate Company. Chuao is, IMO, a pretty big brand now too – I see their products everywhere from Harris Teeter to Wegmans to Whole Foods. This new Peace, Love & Peppermint bar was just what I wanted – a great chocolate bar with tiny bits of crunchy candy cane inside. Well balanced and nicely textured.
Ok, I must draw special attention to this company. The Sticky Toffee Pudding Company, which I had never heard of before, made, quite possibly, my favorite item of the entire show. OF THE ENTIRE SHOW. First of all, they had plenty of other great bites on sample, including their incredible individually packaged sticky toffee puddings. But, their newest product just blew me away:
This is the Sticky Toffee Company’s Millionaire Shortbread with smoked hickory sea salt. It is a layer of buttery shortbread, covered with a layer of chewy caramel, covered in a layer of dark chocolate, covered in hickory smoked sea salt. When I ate it, I got the crunch and butter of the shortbread, the amazing mix of chocolate and caramel, the amazing contrast of the salt to the caramel that we all know and love….and also this WONDERFUL SMOKY FLAVOR that filled my entire mouth. It wasn’t meaty, per se, but the hickory smoke was large and in charge. It was like nothing I’d ever tasted in a cookie before. Was it savory, sweet? It was perfect, is what it was.
Oh yeah, and it won the SOFI for best cookie. Of course.
Back to some old friends – the good people at Sukhi’s who make only the BEST Indian food supermarket products. They’ve won more SOFI awards than I can count. Every year they serve amazing food with amazing sauces – I was moaning so much in food pleasure that a bunch of people came over to ask what the hell I was eating. Sukhi’s, that’s what. Stuff yo faces.
Le Grand, makers of amazingly flavorful sauces, pestos, and tzazikis, is the Junk Food Gal’s favorite. I knew I had to visit this booth lest I incur her wrath (even though she wasn’t there). Le Grand has some pretty awesome packaging – all their sauces/pestos come in easy to open pouches and are perfect for two people.
This is me with the main chef/owner/creator of Le Grand, Bernard Le Grand! I have to say, always one of the NICEST people I see at the show, three years running. And he remembered me too!
It’s seeing familiar faces like his that make the Summer Fancy Food Show one of the things I look forward to every single year. Back tomorrow to wrap up the experience. Have a good one, Junk Food Nation!
Junk Food Guy