New York City’s Fancy Food Show
Our food editor’s top choices
-Francine Segan, Betty’s food+home editor
Fifteen hundred food companies from around the world and the USA strut their hot new stuff each June at the Fancy Food Show in NYC.
It’s foodie heaven, so no wonder this year over 25,000 people turned out to taste what’s new and hot in fancy food. There is row after row of booths each displaying products and giving out free tastings! I got to taste some fruits that were new to me – Thailand’s rambutan, mangosteens, and longans and Chile’s carica dessert fruit.
Not everything was a winner and some, like bacon lip balm and skunk spray jellybeans, were downright weird. But lots thrilled my mouth. I collect dozens of great recipes from the show, so over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing them with you in our What’s for Dinner section.
Here are five of my faves from this year’s show:
If you’re ready to graduate from “candy” to real chocolate, you’ve got to try Valrhona, a line of fine French chocolates that includes not only exceptional bars, but also home baking chocolate and cocoa powder. What really dazzled me was their line of “Grands Crus” – chocolate made from beans from one single place. Just like wine, the places where chocolate comes from affects its taste. They have chocolates from places like Ecuador, Trinidad, and Madagascar, each with its own unique flavor profile. The best-in-show for me is their tasting box (Degustations Grand Crus) – 52 individually wrapped pieces of milk and dark chocolates from four different countries that even comes with a detailed tasting guide inside just like you’d see for fine wines. Bring it to a dinner party (great for 13 guests) and you’ll be the hit of the evening!
2. LiquorICE from Caffo distillery
Like liquid Good ‘N Plenty, only way better. A refreshing, flavorful drink with just the right hint of lush licorice. You’ll love it as a before dinner cocktail mixed with club soda or straight as an after-dinner drink. It’s like a glorious Italian sunset in a glass! Run out right now to the liquor store and try it.
Just like you wish mama used to make. Sarabeth’s jams are all wonderful, with a very fresh fruit taste, but one of her flavors – Blood Orange Marmalade is a stand out and even won a Fancy Food Show award.
4. Pomegranate Vinegar from Spindel Farms
I liked this sweet, tart vinegar I discovered at the Savor California www.savorcalifornia.com booth so much that I was drinking it down like wine. No kidding. It’s great in club soda, and makes plain old lettuce a gourmet feast. If you love pomegranates, but hate the work of picking through all those seeds, then his is the vinegar for you!
5. Gabriella Italian Cheese
At their booth I had a classic Rome pasta dish called Bucatini allla “matriciana” which is hands down the best plate of pasta I’ve ever had in the States! The cheese made all the difference. You’re going to flip for the recipe:
BUCATINI ALLA “MATRICIANA”
Recipe courtesy of Gabriella cheeses
Chef Anna Dente’s signature dish, this traditional Rome-Latium recipe features nutritious Pecorino Romano, which writers have praised since the early Roman Empire.
1 lb. of Bucatini (spaghetti, linguine or other long cut)
10 oz. pancetta (or lightly smoked bacon), cut into small cubes or strips
6 oz. Gabriella Pecorino Romano D.O.P., grated
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 lbs. of ripe Roma tomatoes, cut into small pieces
1 chili pepper, diced (or 2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper)
Salt, to taste
Heat the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and stir. Stir in chili pepper and sauté until pancetta is golden brown. Stir in the white wine and allow it to evaporate. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Separately, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until it is nearly done. Drain the pasta, and add it to the mixture in the sauté pan to finish cooking. Stir 1/2 of the Pecorino into the pasta, coating the pasta well. Sprinkle the remaining Pecorino over the pasta, and serve.