Monday, January 19, 2004

Fancy Food Show 2004 Top Trends

Every year in January, the National Association of Specialty Food Trade puts on the Fancy Food Show and Confection Show in San Francisco. For those in the trade, it's exciting to see thousands of gourmet products in one place and it's one of the best ways to learn about what's new.

In the coming weeks Cooking with Amy will be sharing more and more from the 2004 Fancy Food Show. For today, a taste of what's to come with some of the top trends (listed in no particular order):

1. Unique pairings of herbs, spices and fruits showing up in all kinds of products, in particular I was struck by Lavender Pepper, Lemon and Cardamom and Balsamic Peach.

2. New beverages, syrups and juice products, especially with exotic flavors like Blood Orange and Pomegranate.

3. Ginger in EVERYTHING from cookies to chocolates and teas.

4. Cheeses infused with wines. Forget the shelf stable packages of Port Cheddar, now there are unusual combinations from Italy, France and the US like Monte Veronese with Valpolicella, Camembert and Calvados and Cheddar with Cabernet.

5. Salt. Yes salt. Exotic salts imported from all over the world. Though I have a hard time tasting the difference the textures do factor in to how you taste a dish. The best new use of salt in a product I tried was Fran's Chocolate Caramels. Chocolates filled with caramel that have a crispy salt crust that intensifies the chocolate flavor like you wouldn't believe.

6. Olive oils are still coming on strong. More and more brands from all over the world and from our own Napa Valley.

7. Low-carb, low-fat, kosher, fair trade and organic products. Of these I get most excited about the organic products, especially the dairy ones because the quality and taste is so terrific.