Welcome to part 2 of my review of the 2017 New York Summer Fancy Food Show (for part 1, please click here). This time, I’ll be reviewing some of my favorites from the show.
Also, one of my buddies, Mark, helped out in determining one of the myriad food options that deserved a mention. Mark is tech-savvy feller who just happens to dabble in the culinary arts. Some of his personal favorite foods include plov, mantou with condensed milk, jerky, and peanut butter.
On with the show…
Canaan Fair Trade
Based in Jenin, Palestine, Canaan Fair Trade produced in my opinion, the best tasting olive oil of the Fancy Food Show this year. Not only was their olive oil quality, but their tapenades, other spreads, and flavored oils were also tasty. That said, I am usually skeptical of olive oils being diluted with various flavors and essences; however, as thyme is native to Southwest Asia, I gave Canaan the benefit of the doubt. Turns out, it was the right choice.
You might be interested to know that Palestinian Fair Trade Association, which was only established in 2004, is the world’s largest group of producers of fair-trade and organic olive oil.
In 1981, Liuzzi Gourmet Food Market was founded in North Haven, Connecticut by immigrants from the Southern Adriatic region of Italy. Today, the market specializes in imported cheeses, meats, preserves, and other delectable goods, but I’m good to go with a mere jar of olive oil-laden zucchini and a container of stracciatella cheese, which hails from the province of Foggia.
Though I’m accustomed to wrapping perilla, or beefsteak plant, leaves around sashimi, I’m none too familiar with perilla oil. After tasting it on its own at the Seoul-based queens bucket booth, the first question on my mind was, can I have all of your samples? Actually, no, it was “what’s the difference between expeller-pressed and cold-pressed?” Duh, it’s temperature regulation. Certain foods may not mesh well with higher temperature pressing, so cold-pressing is less likely to affect the more subtle notes in them.
The perilla oil had a nutty, buttery odor, and the flavor was much the same, almost akin to unsalted cancha. It wasn’t as filling as olive oil, and I’d offer it a place atop my salad greens – or below roasted vegetables – any day.
What would one of my food show favorites reviews be without mention of Korean food? We may never know.
santa barbara BAR
Every year at the Fancy Food Show, I try to find another “travel bar” to add to the backpack. Though, it’s not always a success; these santa barbara bars might be a case-in-point. I thought that the textures and heartiness were present in both the dark chocolate almond and mango lemon varieties, but the advertised flavors were dubious. The mango lemon lacked lemon, and the dark chocolate almond was mono-chromatically chocolate. Still, I’m open to their other options, because the other aspects of the bars worked.
Joray Fruit Rolls
The Shalhoub family of Brooklyn, NY first capitalized on individually-packed fruit roll-ups in 1953, and have been hand-making them since then. Each fruit roll is roughly one ounce, among the largest in the business, and Joray offers a number of flavors, including sour cherry, plum, apricot, and fruit punch. Although some of Joray’s products have added cane sugar, I have only tried those without added sugars. That added-sugar free version exist is why I tip my hat to them.
Mimi’s Homemade Ajvar
Though I am currently unable to find a link for their product, Mimi’s Homemade Hot Ajvar was a gentle (though not spicy enough) and nasty-ingredient free take on the Macedonian/pan-Balkan red pepper spread.
Non-GMO and Organic, Clarity Juice also wins my seal of approval for their blends, and for adding nothing else to the fruit and vegetable juices. Want a kick? Craving the sweet stuff? Neither? Clarity Juice has you covered.
Morton & Bassett Spices
Morton & Bassett Spices is one of the few brands at the show that I’ve known about since childhood. The founder, Morton Gothelf, was in attendance, and was very friendly and knowledgeable about his products. He founded the company near San Francisco, California in 1986, in large part because he had trouble locating specific spices and herbs when cooking for friends.
What stood out to me in the supermarket way back in time was that Morton & Bassett containers had nothing to hide. The products were transparent, and the quality was high.
In this case, I’m now on a peppercorn-kick, so I was offered a package of whole green peppercorns.
Zumo gazpacho has become my go-to ready-to-drink gazpacho; I felt that it was well-rounded, had a balanced flavor profile in the vegetables and olive oil, and wasn’t overpoweringly salty. That last bit might be a surprise, for the company, Mediterranean Seawater, prides itself on bring us consumers certifiable seawater in all of its mineral-heavy and pH-friendly glory. But, don’t grab the nearest straw and run to the shore just yet– let these folks do some explaining for you.
Obrigado Coconut Water
Straight from Bahia, Brazil, I introduce to you Obrigado Coconut Water. It’s non-GMO, naturally low in sodium, and contains no added sugar.
More importantly, Obrigado Coconut Water is committed to ecological conservation efforts and sustainable agriculture. They have employed a system called mosaic farming, in which they aim to best match their crops with the local terroir. Furthermore, they utilize the husks of brown coconuts for fiber erosion control, wherein fiber rolls are placed on slopes to catch falling sediment, but also let water pass.
Finally, let’s hear what Mark has to say about Ayoba-yo’s biltong and droëwors, or dried wurst.
Last week, for the first time I tried Ayoba-yo’s biltong, a South African version of beef jerky. It has been around for about 400 years and incorporates spices such as salt, vinegar, and coriander, which were abundant in the Cape Colony.
Very unique and substantial taste. Not overly spicy, but enough to give it a kick. Very moist despite being cut so thin.
Far more complex and nuanced taste. Very peppery. I prefer this to the Spicy Biltong.
Droëwors, or air-dried beef sticks:
The most striking ingredient is probably…the air. Unlike the other two varieties, the air-dried beef sticks are decidedly on the dry side. It tastes very natural and makes for a substantial snack, and unlike slim jims does not have a taxing effect on my physical comfort.
Let us know if you have tried/are planning to try any of these foods!