The Specialty Food Association’s 2017 New York Summer Fancy Food Show took place at New York‘s Javits Center from 25-27 June. The membership-based Specialty Food Association was established in 1952 to promote and cultivate intrigue in specialty foods companies in the US. The Fancy Food Show has been an annual event since 1954; furthermore, in the winter, San Francisco has hosted a smaller version of the convention for a number of years.
This year, in addition to the incubator alley, which spotlights start-up food companies in their initial stages, the sofi awards, and the What’s New, What’s Hot celebrating innovative culinary ideas, a new theme area called Level Up was introduced. At Level Up, one could listen to various discussions on the future of food, try alternative proteins, snacks, and drinks, and learn about current trends in retail technology.
I went a bit overboard at the New York Summer Fancy Food Show this year. Which is to say, I always overdo it at that particular event, so…cue the crocodile tears.
I’ll get to the brief reviews of specific products in Part 2 of the review, but for now we’ll take a look at some of the unusual notes and unexpected themes of this year:
Xocolata Jolonch offered hot chocolate, which was easily the best drink of the show. Best dessert though? One of them…good for the taste buds, bad for the belt loops.
Olive oil, for men??? If department stores had a whole floor devoted to olive oil, I’d be fine with that.
Olive oil “caviar.” Pointless, but most welcome.
Noticed more waffles than usual. Also noticed lots of maple syrup. I like where this is going.
Olives. This display would be on the second floor of my aforementioned department store.
Hailing from Romania, and imported by Michigan-based Max’s Imports, Livada plum butter not only tastes excellent, but can also boast that its sole ingredient is…the humble plum. By now, I’ve become accustomed to Max’s Imports expertise in sourcing quality Eastern European products; Livada is no different.
At the China section this year, I saw approximately two non-Chinese vendors…but there was a mirror in one of the booths, so it may just have been one. Though, I have to give credit to the Tangshan chestnut company for not adding sugar to all of their merch.
One of the more nuanced items at the Fancy Food Show was bakkwa (肉干 rou4gan1), or air-dried, salty-sweet meat. Though it hails from Fujian province in China, I’ve come across it a lot more in Singapore and Malaysia, where it’s typically sweeter. Although there are a number of (beef) jerky vendors at the show every year, jerky has more of an umami/smoky flavor.
Fish chicharron…but from Latvia?! Chicharrón generally refers to fried pork rinds (skin); the name may originate in Spain, but fried pork rinds are eaten throughout the world.
Latvia decided to go nuanced, and avail of its location on the Baltic Sea to create a product which I could see (but not crave) topping new-age sushi rolls.
We’re heading into dangerous territory now.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my 2017 New York Fancy Food Show review, in which I cover some of my favorite selections.
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