Who says nothing can get done in Washington? I recently came back from a food-filled day trip to Washington, D.C. where I attended the 57th Summer Fancy Food Show. It is the largest marketplace for specialty foods and beverages in North America. The exhibit halls were filled to capacity with as many as 180,000 products including the latest in single-origin chocolate, artisanal cheese, olive oil, salsas, snacks, teas and spice blends, many of them with kosher certification.
I want to share with you a few of my favorite discoveries.
One of the popular food trends at this year’s show was Booze-Infused Foods. Companies are experimenting with flavors from popular alcoholic beverages to infuse sweet and savory foods. You can try this at home, for example, with this Bourbon Sage London Broil. One of my favorite new product discoveries was cocktail chocolates by Seattle Chocolates boasting fabulous flavors such as: lemon drop, margarita, appletini and mimosa. The margarita explodes in your mouth for a full flavor explosion, like Cinco de Mayo in July.
Another chocolate company I couldn’t get enough of was Lake Champlain. These all-natural gourmet treats from Vermont include hot chocolates, truffles, a chocolate menorah and nicely packaged chocolate gelt. I loved their gelt for grown-ups – delicious chocolate coins, a mix of Dark & Dark Mint Crunch. I know what I will be playing dreidel with this year!
Another trend I noticed this year were these Give It A Try Kits, especially A Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden from Back to the Roots. Using all recyclable materials, everyone can experience the fun of growing your own. Just cut open one side of a box, water it and in a week you will have a batch of oyster mushrooms to make this spectacular Oyster Mushroom Ceviche or any other favorite funghi dish.
I really enjoyed the Sweet Potato Crackers from Polka Dot Bakeshop. They are light and crispy and come in five amazing flavors: Original Sweet Potato, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Chipotle with Smoked Paprika, Cracked Black Pepper, and Gluten-Free Cracked Black Pepper. You can top them with cheese or honey or just eat them out of the bag. Since they are made from sweet potato they pack a nice nutritional punch.
This year’s show featured a ton of loose leaf tea. I love the taste and aroma of loose leaf tea, I have to admit it took some time to get over my laziness. It always seemed easier to just throw a tea bag into a cup of hot water. Well, t-sac is here to help. These disposable tea filters can be filled with any amount of loose leaf tea (up to for 4 cups), then you just use it as a tea bag.Tea-time anyone?
If you are a bottled ice tea drinker, I hope you’ve heard of Honest Tea. Their line of teas were one of the first bottled iced tea beverages I really enjoyed. Most bottled and canned teas have too much sugar and an overpowering lemon flavor. Honest Tea pioneereda natural iced tea with exotic flavors and little or no added sugar. Now they’ve done it again. They recently launched a line of Cocoa Nova Drinks with mint, cherry and mocha flavors. They take the cacao beans (the main ingredient in chocolate) and brew a light, refreshing drink with only 50 calories per bottle and a boatload of antioxidants.
If there was one spice you would not expect to find in the pantry of a Jewish home, it would have to be J&D’s Bacon Salt… Until I saw the hechsher! The founders are on a self-proclaimed mission to make everything taste like bacon and they do it without the pig (or any other meat). They have bacon flavored mayo, bacon flavored popcorn, bacon gravy and even bacon lip balm (I’m not kidding!). Their newest product, Bacon Croutons, are loaded with flavor and perfectly crispy. I can’t imagine a more perfect topping for a salad or soup.
Another company doing just about everything right, is MimiCreme. MimiCreme is a non-dairy, non-soy, gluten-free substitute for cream. It is available sweetened or unsweetened, as well as a Healthy Top variety made from a blend of Organic Coconut Oil, Almonds, Cashews, Sweet Almond Oil and natural cane sugar. I can’t wait to try a delicious pareve chocolate mousse with this clever product.
My kids come home with green, red and blue tongues from those sugar-filled, artificially flavored ice popsicles that are apparently a summer camp requirement. If only the camp discovered the Power of Fruit which packages what I try at home, an all-natural, pure fruit frozen bar. Power of Fruit comes in a tube that is less messy and perfect for kids of all ages.
I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour of the 57th Summer Fancy Food Show. Check out our contests page regularly for product giveaways from some of these and many other great companies.
If you have any favorite new products that you love, please tell us about them in the comments below.