The Fancy Food Show at the Javitz Center is a three day affair that comes to New York once a year (also shows in San Francisco and Washington D.C.) I’m always looking forward to trying goods from over 5,000 booths, and still trying to figure out what the right strategy is to getting as much exposure as possible. You’ll see in last year’s coverage, I worked hard on getting pictures and trying to document the experience for you. This year, I toned down on the photos and tried to make this more exploratory. I went all three days to sample and find out which products I should tell you about. Just so you know, after three days, there’s still no way to sample everything. It does get easier though after a few years because now I can skip all the products I already know and love, like Fage, Fermin, D’Artagnan, Trois Petit Cochons, and purely look for new ones to excite my palate.

Press passes 2

Sadly some of my favorite products may still be hard to buy in your local area. Many of these vendors are at the show trying to get distributors, so we don’t know if they’ll ever be in our market. I spent a lot of time encouraging my favorites to offer their products on-line either with their own website, or amazon who does sell food. One I am really hoping for is Olympus Yogurt, which is imported from Greece. They don’t have any distributors in NY yet or a web source, so someone pick them up!

Melissa’s has some very interesting fruits. I loved the Sherbet Melon that looks like, tastes like, and is a cross between honey dew and cantaloupe. Melissa’s is a wholesaler so you can’t buy from them directly, but go to their website for their store locator. They’re widely distributed.

Melissa's Sherbet Melon

This Rummo pasta is probably one of the best in dried pasta I’ve tasted and I will be looking for them, supposedly at many specialty markets. Some shapes are also sold on-line at Di Palo Selects.

Rummo Pasta

Lon is big on cured meats and found two to be outstanding. You can buy the Black Forest Prosciutto by Abraham on-line for those prosciutto lovers who want a touch of something different from the juniper berries.

Black Forest Prosciutto

The Consorcio Serrano was irresistible, whole leg being sliced right there. There was no one to answer questions though, which I found pretty common at the foreign booths. Sometimes they were completely un-manned, with just a plate of samples.

Cosorcio Serrano 2

I got to take a pic with Lidia Bastianich, who seemed to be enjoying promoting her pastas and sauces. I never buy jarred sauce, but it was surprisingly good, clean, and natural. Lon was so jealous he wasn’t there that day. She’s probably his favorite TV chef.

Lidia Bastianich and Jessica

Some booths are purveyors who carry several lines, but they still get credit for picking great products. We spent quite some time sampling in the Sid Wainer & Son booth, delicious cheeses, cured meats, spreads, and produce. Our two favorites was a black garlic paste, and the white anchovies, both I could imagine cooking up lots of stuff with. Even though they are more of a wholesaler, you can buy retail from their website.

Sid Wainer & Son Black Garlic Paste
White Anchovies White Anchovies 2

I loved the sweet and spicy cherry peppers by Norpaco, particularly the roasted and peeled. Unlike most jarred or canned, these had a firmness while still being tender, which reminds me of how my own freshly roasted peppers are. The sweet and spicy would make them a killer sandwich topper, and the best part is that they’ll be available in Costco this week!

Norpaco Sweet Pepp roasted sweet peppers

Lon liked the sharp strength of the mustards by Domaine des Vignes, which are being imported by Encore Foods. That means some of us will be able to find it and others won’t. There is no on-line source yet.


Attending as press often means that vendors are trying hard to impress you, but I was disappointed to find that when I asked real questions, some were not able to answer. That really sets apart the booths who have their own staff working vs. the ones who hire a three-day person to just give-out samples. Then again, I think some were just escaping the questions.

There was one booth with dried apricots and had samples of one type that was organic and without nitrates. The other processed the natural way. The organic one was sweet but lacked the tanginess or acidity that I like in dried apricots. I asked whether this was a different kind of apricot perhaps, or was the difference from processing. They responded, do you not like these? I said, they’re sweet and not bad but I like the tang of apricots. They just asked, isn’t this one better? I repeated my question and then gave up and walked away…

Another booth stuck out in my mind, a BBQ sauce being promoted by a group of young men. They were eager to have me try their sauce and I tried to decline saying BBQ sauce is not really my thing. I find it too sweet. He swore theirs was different and not sweet, convincing me to try it and I relented. Of course it was sweet, so I tried to politely decline more information. Then they jumped in with saying we’re produced locally like 5 times. Ok dudes, local alone does not make you a great product.

All in all, it’s a wonderful experience, and I know I’ve left out a ton of products still but many will be sending me samples, and I’ll be posting more on this in the next few weeks.

posted by jessica at 04:24 PM Filed under Events, Products. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.