Last week I shared some of my favorite international products from the Fancy Food Show and now it's time for the American ones. Most of these products are brand new so keep your eyes open for them. A few of them I had tasted before but never mentioned here, they are noteworthy rather than new. To be honest, I haven't even tried all the samples I brought home, so I may be posting even more soon...
I am very late to the party when it comes to Lillie Belle Farms chocolate. They are rightfully famous for their blue cheese truffle rolled in almonds, which combines Rogue Creamery's Smokey Blue cheese with chocolate. I know. It sounds awful, but you just have to try it to believe how good it is. It's creamy, rich, with a bit of a smoky bite. Divine. Honest. I wouldn't lead you astray about something as serious as chocolate.
Another beverage I liked was Ooba. It's made from hibiscus and being marketed for its health properties. For me, as always, it's really more about the taste. It reminded me of the sweet hibiscus drinks from Mexico. It uses a special hibiscus extract and would be terrific in mixed drinks. I am not a soda drinker, but this appealed to me. Go figure.
We get a lot of good goat cheese in the Bay Area, and frankly, I never met a goat cheese I didn't like. But the triple cream version from Coach Farm was something new for me. It tasted much more like the aged goat cheeses I tend to smuggle home from France. Sometimes triple creme cheeses can have a bitter edge but this was like pure butter, sweet and creamy with a firm chalky texture on the edge and softer in the middle.
I can't believe it, but looking back in my archives I have never actually mentioned Nueske's bacon before. Nueske's is a bit like the Platonic ideal when it comes to bacon. Slow smoked over applewood it tends not to shrink as much as conventional bacon. It has won tons of awards and was chosen best of the best at the Fancy Food Show in 2001. You don't have to be a bacon lover like me to adore this bacon. You can order it online if you can't find it in stores near you.
Based in the Central Valley, here in California, Nunes Farms sells almonds from their family ranch. They make the perfect healthy on-the-go snack. My favorite flavor is the Honey Cinnamon version. Always fresh, crisp and wonderfully satisfying it's packaged in convenient little 1.5 ounce packs. They now sell other newer flavors like Imperial Citrus too.
I'm not sure who steered my attention towards the Impressions Fine Foods booth, but thank you! Chocolate Mochi Krunch is another product that sounds like a mistake. It's tamari brown rice crackers covered in a thin layer of chocolate. But this Asian inspired snack is very high quality and positively addictive. If there is a better flavor combination than crunchy, sweet and salty I don't know what it is. You will just have to try this confection when you get the chance. Somehow they not only came up with a unique combination but got the balance just right. They also make a spicy ginger dark chocolate version but I liked the milk chocolate best.
I'm not much of a coffee drinker but I love the flavor of coffee in confections. I've always enjoyed munching on chocolate covered coffee beans. Javaz chocolate coffee beans are the best I've ever had, covered in a crunchy shell with a chocolate filling and tasty bits of Arabica coffee beans. If chocolate covered coffee beans are your thing, you'll love these.
In all likelihood you have noticed the frozen yogurt frenzy. Yes, frozen yogurt is back. This time around it's a tangy plain version that might or might not get some fruit added to it. I tried both the soft version at Straus Family Creamery and the gelato style version at Ciao Bella Gelato and wholeheartedly recommend them. The Straus product is very new but look for it soon. The Ciao Bella version combines labne yogurt from Lebanon and Sicilian lemon juice, it's a bit high in fat but a luscious indulgence. Neither are very sweet and retain that distinctive sour dairy tang you associate with yogurt.
Can't get enough round ups and recaps? Here are even more blog posts about the show:
Italy in SF
Joy the Baker
My good ideas post on Bay Area Bites
Michael Procopio's recap on Bay Area Bites
Is it EDible?
Like My Spoon-Chocolate Edition
If I've missed your blog post on the Fancy Food Show, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.