Summer Fancy Food Show 2015: Day 2, Part 1 (AKA Stomach Reboot)
JFG Nation, lights up on Day 2 of the Summer Fancy Food Show 2015! The thing about Day 2 is you always wake up, and marvel at how good you feel. “Wow, I thought I’d be broken after yesterday’s extremely excessive behavior – but I feel amazingly fine! Hungry, even! LET’S DO THIS.” I can spoiler-alert this for you – this feeling only lasts so long before that wall comes crashing down on you. Still, there was still a ton left to see/eat, so off to Day 2 the JFG team went!
Ah, the Javits Center. The air was air-conditioned clean, the sky was…well, clearer than the day before, and the people were buzzing. From the concourse I could already hear the bacon cracklin’ and the gluten-free ice cream melting. ONWARD!
First up: MILKBOY CHOCOLATES! The lady at the booth explained to me that Swiss Chocolate used to be great, then it took a back seat to other countries, and was now looking to REGAIN GLORY. I didn’t realize that there was such a Sharks and Jets mentality among chocolate-producing countries…but apparently there IS. *snap snap snap*
Milkboy’s Dark Chocolate with Pine Tree Oil was nominated as a SOFI finalist. I had some – REALLY good. It didn’t taste like pine trees at all, just a high quality chocolate with a lot of richness. Not a bad way to start the day.
Nearby the Swiss chocolate both was a Belgian candy company called The Belgian Boys. I half-expected them to be brawling with the Milkboy booth. The Belgian Boys was a big favorite of mine last year, and this year they were hyping their new treats: CONE BITES!
As the dudes at the booth described it: “What’s the best part of the ice cream cone? THE BOTTOM!” I agree – and these are basically the bottoms of ice cream cones, filled with chocolate, candy, hazelnut, other goodies. That’s IT. And let me tell you – IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. Genius idea, Belgian Boys. Wake up, Hershey’s.
Another favorite? The Mayan Brownie from Salt of the Earth Bakery. A brownie with cayenne, cinnamon, and sea salt, this brownie wasn’t OVER THE TOP spicy or salty – there was JUST enough to make the brownie slightly savory/sweet. Good balance in a packaged brownie.
This was one of the things I was looking most forward to before the show: VEGAN HOT FUDGE from Coop’s MicroCreamery. Look, I’m not vegan, but I have a lot of friends who are, and they have often lamented that ice cream and topping options for vegans is severely lacking. So when I saw that this Vegan Hot Fudge from Coop’s was nominated for a SOFI, I knew I had to try and report back.
Verdict: IT’S DECADENT. The hot fudge flavor was bold and chocolate-y and luscious through and through. The consistency was smooth and shiny and dark. Essentially, I didn’t know this was vegan. It was excellent quality. Cool packaging too!
Cookie butters have been popping up show after show, year after year, so to be honest, this year I avoided a lot of them. I mean, how many spoonfuls of speculoos can a guy eat? Plus, last year I tried a LOT of cookie butters and many of them were too sweet. Still, I paused to try only one cookie butter – this Amoretti Gingerbread Cookie Spread. I’m glad I did: this gingerbread spread was perfect – good ginger flavor, without a lot of sweetness. The consistency was super smooth, and it did indeed just taste like pureed gingerbread cookies. I loved it.
This Griffin’s Bacon Syrup indeed tasted like maple syrup flavored with lots of smoke and bacon flavor. I enjoyed it, but many of the JFG Team thought it was too much bacon flavor. Whiners.
I must admit, I am a savory pie, pot pie, meat pie mark, so I was ALL OVER these Van Cleve Seafood Pies. They were featuring their Red Crab Pie, complete with a tiny flaky crab on the top of the pie. FUN FACTOR! Plus, amazing seafood flavor. I could eat nine of these without blinking.
I didn’t actually get to try this macaron mix that allowed you to make macarons that tasted like Fruity Pebbles – but the canister was too interesting NOT to take a picture of. If anyone has tried this, let me know. I’m so curious.
One of the biggest trends I saw this year was HONEY. HONEY HONEY EVERYWHERE.
First honey stop – Savannah Bee Company. Last year they had a tiny booth. This year, they had a HUGE display with a TON of products. The people working the booth were SUPER friendly, SUPER bubbly, and just wanted to give you all the honey you could eat! It was intense. They had samples of their Wildflower Honey and Orange Blossom Honey…
…they had new honeys to be used specifically in tea, on cheese, and on meats on the grill…and they had MEAD (in the background) – honeywine MADE from their honey that the JFG Team took a BUNCH of shots of while we perused the other honey products.
This year they also had WHIPPED honey – essentially pure unfiltered honey that is good for digestion. This honey was thicker, almost like a honey paste, and wasn’t translucent – but it was still bonkers tasty.
I wanted to steal one of these display models of all of their different honeys.
Plus, they were serving up pure honeycomb! I had a big chunk, and smiled wide. Oozing with honey, the underlying honeycomb was edible, and I felt semi-outdoorsy in my air-conditioned atmosphere within Manhattan.
As an aside, Savannah Bee Company also had a TON of beauty products that they make with their honey now – body butters, creams…
…body washes, lotions. Not pictured here: a huge sign which said DO NOT EAT. Reason: apparently, they’ve had people walk by quickly, grab a spoonful of the body butter and pop it directly into their mouth. NOOBS. Anyways, I can say, as a dude, this stuff smelled GREAT. I want to slather myself with all of it.
Right around the corner from Savannah Bee Company was this Dandelion Honey from Wedderspoon Organic. It resembled the whipped honey from Savannah Bee – unfiltered, and opaque, like a paste. The Wedderspoon people explained that this, too, was a digestive honey – you eat it to help aid body functions and its also delicious.
I tried it; it was, indeed, tasty. This concept of eating a ton of honey to help digestion is super new to me, but I don’t hate it. I don’t eat honey a ton, but whenever I do, I realize I enjoy it, so why not? Gives me an excuse to eat a bunch of natural sugar right after dinner.
Then, I stumbled on one of my favorite products of the show: MIKE’S HOT HONEY. Look, I’m not going to make this any harder than it sounds – this is SPICY HONEY. SWEET SPICY HONEY. And I LOVED it. The JFG Team tried it, and agreed – it had a kick, a noticeable spicy kick!
This trend of spice and sweet was everywhere this year (chocolates, caramels), but this was the first time I’d seen it with honey, and Mike’s Hot Honey was a HUGE success in my eyes. I might need to learn more about these dudes, because I was super impressed by this products. I could see eating this on ice cream, using it in marinades, eating it with brie on a cracker. SO many uses. A+ here.
At the halfway point of the day, we wandered back to the Mexico Drink Lab (YOU KNOW HOW WE DO), and then waited in line for some short rib tacos from the Rick Bayless Frontera Grill product booth. Each year, in order to showcase their marinades and sauces, they always do a cooking demos. As a result, the Rick Bayless booth always has the longest lines – but it’s worth it. I mean look at the above picture! SO WORTH IT.
Dangit, now I’m hungry. Let’s pause here while I go find a snack.
Junk Food Guy