Newspaper and E-Clippings
Newsday July 2006
Newsday July 2006
Eaters' picks at the food show
What was good at the 34th Annual Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center?
Lots. I spent July 9 trawling the isles of this annual three-day specialty-food extravaganza, consuming a steady stream of cheese, chocolate, salsa, jam, ham, olives, olive oil, etc.
According to its organizers, the show's 2,200 exhibitors displayed 160,000 items. (Though it should be noted that a good 3,000 or 4,000 of them appeared to be decorative baskets.)
A panel of judges, representing specialty retailers from all over the country, was charged with the task of singling out 21 products for recognition. The big winner was Artisanal Premium's mail-order cheesecake, named Outstanding New Product. I couldn't argue with the verdict: When Newday's food department sampled the Artisanal cheesecake for Potluck in June, it got unanimous raves. (www.artisanalcheese.com)
Another New York-area winner was Ciao Bella Gelato Company, which tied for outstanding product line also scored a win in the outstanding dessert category with blood orange sorbet. This sorbet was indeed outstanding , as was Ciao Bella's other new summer flavor, lemon-creme fraiche gelato. (www.ciaobellagelato.com)
Making its first appearance at the show was Harvest Song Artisanal, a Great Neck-based company specializing in preserves imported from Armenia. The rookie company took home the trophy for outstanding jam or preserve with an apricot preserve that captured the rich complexity of a ripe apricot. (www.harvestsongventures.com)
The venerable Wisconsin smokehouse, Nueske's, won for outstanding meat, pate or seafood for its applewood smoked bacon (www.nueskes.com). I also would have recognized the wares from La Quercia Rossa, a mom-and-pop company in Iowa making Italian-style cured pork products from humanely raised pigs. La Quercia Rossa's pancetta and prosciutto were excellent. (www.laquercia.com)
Among other trophy-less products I specially liked were Larabars. I am an avowed foe of most so-called nutrition bars because they never seem like...food. But Larabars (named for company founder Lara Merriken) are made from fruits, nuts and spices; none of the 10 varieties contains more than six ingredients. My favorite, Pecan Pie, contains dates, pecans and almonds. That's it. (www.larabar.com)
The Fancy Food Show is a great opportunity to see what's new from companies whose products you've enjoyed in the past. Back in 2004, we wrote about Hancock Gourmet Lobster's delicious lobster pot pies. The new seafood Newburg, which comes frozen in quarts, was equally delicious. (www.hancockgourmetlobster.com)