I spent three days exploring and tasting at the Winter Fancy Food Show, and I barely scratched the surface. How do I know? Because every time I bumped into a colleague and asked them what THEY liked, I heard about something I never even saw, let alone tasted. To put it bluntly, the show is overwhelming. Sadly, much of what is on offer is nothing special at all, but the lure of finding the good stuff keeps me going back for more no matter how tired, bleary eyed, and palate fatigued I get.

In past years I’ve written about trends, but this year I didn’t really get a sense of trends. Sure, there were plenty of new products using super antioxidant ingredients and lots of chocolate, especially single estate and exotically flavored varieties. I also saw noticeably fewer salts, but more teas than in years past. But none of that seems earth-shattering news. What struck me this year were what I’m calling “the good ideas.” Without further ado, here are some of my top picks for items I hope indicate potential trends in the future.

PB Loco
PB Loco’s Peanut Butter with Asian Curry Spice. I love peanut butter but get awfully tired of all the sweet flavors. I can see a lot more possibilities with a delicious savory jar like this one. I hope they introduce more because right now plain and sweet flavors dominate the shelf.

Apparently bakers and pastry chefs have known about LorAnn for years. LorAnn makes bakery emulsions which are flavorings that are not alcohol based so they don’t “bake out.” Available in flavors like almond, rum, buttery vanilla and more, they are bright and true, and very reasonably priced at about $5 for 4 ounces.

Original Hawaiian Chocolate
I’m excited to see that chocolate is being grown in Hawaii. Original Hawaiian Chocolate products are not quite as good as the best chocolate from Venezuela, but it has its own character and it is better than what is typically used for that local confection, chocolate covered macadamia nuts. I’m sure it will only improve over time.

Conservas Gallega
If you’ve been to Barcelona, or seen Anthony Bourdain’s Spain episode of Without Reservations than you just might know something about the quality tinned seafood from Spain that is more highly prized and more expensive than even fresh seafood. Hats off, or perhaps sombreros off, to Conservas Gallega for importing these conservas into the US.

The Spicy Gourmet
The Spicy Gourmet spice blending sets. The best spices are whole, freshly toasted and ground. How do you get people to toast and grind? Sell them top quality spices paired with a grinder. I wish this company much success in their worthy endeavor.

yakami orchard
Yuzu, yuzu kosho, sudachi, and kabosu. If you don’t know much about these Japanese ingredients, with any luck, you will soon. WA Imports is bringing beautifully packaged pure Japanese citrus based juices, jams and pastes to market under the brand name Yakami Orchard. These are not the adulterated products you find on the market today and they are great for desserts, sauces, marinades.

Head over to Cooking with Amy to check out some of my favorite international products from the show.

Good Ideas from the 2009 Fancy Food Show 26 January,2009Amy Sherman

  • I’m definitely a yuzu enthusiast and hope that lots of food folks discovered it (or found a good and reliable source). It’s a really distinctive flavor.

  • Gin

    I love Lorann Oils Emulsion and Flavoring Oils, I use them all the time in my baking and have not yet tasted anything that can even being to compete with these, be careful when using as they are VERY strong… a little bit goes a long way!

  • Hi everyone,
    I am the PR person for LorAnn Oils and we are thrilled that Amy included our new Bakery Emulsions as one of her “top picks” from the Fancy Food Show!


Amy Sherman

Amy Sherman began blogging in 2003, because all her
friends and family were constantly asking her where
and what to eat. Three months after it launched,
Forbes chose her blog, Cooking with Amy, as one of the
top five best food blogs, praising her writing as
“smart, cozy and witty”. Since then her blog has been
featured and recipes reprinted in many newspapers and
magazines in the U.S. and the world.

In addition to regularly updating her blog, Amy is a
guest contributor to the Epicurious.com blog, and
Contributing Editor of Glam Dish. She also writes
restaurant reviews for SF Station.

Her focus on Bay Area Bites is primarily cookbook
reviews along with some interviews and current events.

Amy is a recipe developer and freelance food writer.
She is author of WinePassport: Portugal and wrote the new introduction to the classic cookbook, Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book, published by the University of Nebraska Press. She recently completed 45 recipes for a Williams-Sonoma cookbook and wrote her first piece for VIA magazine.

She is currently serving on the board of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Amy lives in San Francisco with her husband, tech journalist Lee Sherman.

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