This year’s winter Fancy Food Show featured an array of foods that really piqued my interest and palate in themes of sustainability in ingredients and packaging as well as “everything dehydrated.” The show’s trend spotters picked out a nice list of trend. Here’s what else caught my eye (and mouth):
My Top 5 Fun Surprises and Discoveries
1. One Degree Organics wins my “cool use of technology” and “overall good” award. The small company’s flours and breads use organic ingredients grown in a “veganic” way. Their tagline is “every ingredient has a story,” with each ingredient supplier featured on the One Degree website. As an excellent example of QR code use for transparency, you can use a smartphone to snap the code on their products to then see a list of ingredients. Click any ingredient to see a video about the producer. Super cool in the traceability and education department.
2. Sonomaceuticals / WholeVine Products collaborates with Kendall Jackson on their zero-waste initiative to create gorgeous grape skin and seed flours and oils. The company has their own line of oils, crackers and cookies which helps chefs see the possibilities of these high-nutrient flours. The company is working on all sorts of other product ideas to use the wine-making by products. I’m just hoping they come out with a paint made from the grapes as the earthy colors are simply gorgeous.
3. The dime store candy-like colors of basil, fennel and other sugars from Fresh Origins in San Diego belie their simple ingredients: just the natural flavor, like basil, and the sugar – a big crunch like freshly harvested fleur de sel. It’s hard not to appreciate such innovations, interesting for rimming beverage glasses or sprinkling on pastries.
4. Coconut’s going strong and I loved Blue Monkey’s air-dried coconut chips deliver a big hard crunch with a toasty flavor. As for the air drying, perhaps they use dehydrators but I got the impression they have some other process that quickly sucks out the liquid. Even cooler, they make an “instant coconut water” with the coconut powder in small packs you can carry for those emergency coconut water needs. A nice carbon footprint savings too!
5. We all went wild over Mastihashop, featuring Greek mastiha (gum mastic) resin used in ancient times “as a spice or medicament” (is that a medical predicament?) Attributed for its anti-microbiological abilities, studies — and time — suggests mastiha can combat diseases including periodontial, inflammatory diseases and peptic ulcers. The chiclet-like gum was just darn good and refreshing and the chewy resin and products from food to body care simply sparked the imagination.
Fun and Good Food Twists
This year’s Fancy Food Show featured a LOT of delicious vegetable-based products. The buzz about Numi’s savory teas confirmed their successful foray into caffeine-free soup-like teas — satisfying without the salt. I’m seriously considering “Numi vegetable tea” diet, at least for one meal a day.
Just Tomatoes now has more organic freeze-dried fruit in addition to conventional, most which they source from California. (After hearing what some people are doing with their freeze dried fruit powders I ran over to the Greek Mastic booth to mull over how a Bubble Yum-like burst might be possible with real fruit.) Crunchies is going strong too with their kid-friendly mini packs. On a related note, freeze dried bits entered into lots of fun foods like Schokomonk’s chocolate bars…which were also the first I’ve seen to include poppyseeds, a brilliant ingredient traditional in German pastries.
Oregon-based SeaFare Pacific‘s wild caught fish packs impressed me for their quality (smoked tuna!), convenient packaging that’s easy to tear open (especially important for people with hand mobility issues who might have trouble opening cans) and a nice long shelf life. They’re pricy at around $6.50-7 retail however the quality compares to cooking your own slab of fish.
The dizzying array of lentil chips and other chips are all good in the “better for you junk food” category, especially to dip into all of the variations on hummus that have popped up including a hummus / Greek yogurt blend and yummy lentil hummuses from Eat Well Enjoy Life.
Natural Candy Bars
The Buyer’s Best Friend booth packed in lots of good candy (as well as adorable cold coffee in bottles from LA’s Secret Squirrel). Ocho‘s organic bars made in the bay area to Bixby Bars from Warwick, New York. Coco Delice, based in the Bay Area, featured their own candies and also put out the call to candy makers looking for co-packers.
Droga Confections continues its track record in pretty chocolates with adorable packaging with crowd-pleasing candy flavors, my vote for “best candy for a boutique” or gift shops.
Nuttyness makes chubby California-sourced chocolate covered marzipan bars in various interesting flavors like orange cayenne. With substantial almond content and a “fine confection” quality, I think the $6, or so, price is reasonable.
Dealia’s in Ohio also brings European candy making to the US: Her fluffy, slab nougat is the likes of which you’d find in Italy and ever so delicious. One flavor packs in California almonds while the other studs Oregon hazelnuts. The picture is worth a thousand bites:
Inspiration in a nutshell…
What other foods are trending in 2013?
- Stephanie Hua’s wraps up for KQED’s Bay Area Bites
- Roxanne Webber CHOWs down
- USA Today puts another twist on trends (including eggnog which I forgot to try!)
PS My biggest surprise was learning Kohler, of bath fame, has its own line of chocolate they make specifically for their Kohler resorts. (I didn’t even realize that Kohler is in Wisconsin and that their products are American made!)
PPS I have a feeling I’ll be writing a follow up post for all the other great foods that will come back to mind!