Monday, February 25, 2019

15 Discoveries from the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show

The Fancy Food Show provides a terrific opportunity to discover new and delicious things. Some of these things are new, some are just new to me, but all of them are worth seeking out. 
Satsumas are a tangy sweet hybrid citrus fruit. Blackberry Patch has recently introduced three satsuma products, a syrup and two preserves intended to be served with cheese. The Satsuma Cane Vanilla is also delicious as jam on toast. It’s very intense and juicy. 

I’ve had honey infused with different ingredients including lavender and citrus, but I’ve never had any as heady as Makabi & Sons, rosewater infused honey. Based in Los Angeles, they also make beautiful boxes of gourmet cookies, but it was the honey that really won me over. They also make cardamom honey. 

If you’ve been to France you’ve no doubt seen that the supermarket brand Bonne Maman has a much larger line of jams and preserves available there than they do here. In France, you’ll find flavors like pineapple with rum and vanilla as well as Mara Des Bois Strawberry. At the show, they were introducing a new line called “intense” and I loved the Red Fruit Intense. Looking online I now I see they are offering Strawberry Intense instead which includes some black currant juice. Might it be the same thing as Red Fruit? I’ll have to buy a jar to be sure. The Intense line has less sugar than conventional jams, and true to the name, a more intense flavor. 
I wish I could tell you that Liege waffles were trending, but I only saw two companies exhibiting them at the show. Mountain Waffle Co. sells wholesale and Belgian Boys sells retail. What sets these waffles apart is their crunchy almost crackly texture thanks to the inclusion of pearl sugar that does not melt. Belgian Boys offers plain as well as chocolate covered Liege waffles.  

Roons are definitely the best macaroons I have ever tasted. They are moist inside, toasty and crunchy on the outside and dipped in Guittard chocolate. Smaller ones called Lil Roonies are completely coated in chocolate, the espresso chocolate ones are particularly good and are “coming soon.” Right now most of their macaroons are available primarily in Portland OR or online. 

Choffy is a product developed by an engineer who had a dream about chocolate that could be brewed like coffee. After three years of experimentation, he found a way to make it work. It tastes a bit like chocolate but also a bit like coffee. It’s good black or with milk or sugar if you prefer. The ground roasted cacao also can be used in recipes.
I really like sweet treats with a bitter edge. Infusions are a line of chocolate covered almonds from Canada with tea. They start with crunchy roasted almonds cover them in toffee, dip them in chocolate and then coat them with powdered tea—matcha, rooibos or raspberry rooibos. The matcha is my favorite. Available at Costco in Canada, I hope they make it to our side of the border.
Good Catch fish free tuna tastes like tuna, not just the texture of tuna, but also the flavor of tuna. It’s high in protein, made from plants and in particular a blend of peas, chickpeas, lentils, soy, fava beans and navy beans along with algae oil which gives it a fresh from the sea flavor. It’s just launching in stores now. 

Ramen noodles from Sun Noodle. I’ve known about Sun Noodle since I started writing about ramen. I’d say the majority of ramen shops in the US use noodles from Sun Noodle. Their base line includes 200 different formulas, but of course, each restaurant generally puts their own twist on it. Now you can find fresh ramen noodles from Sun at many Japanese specialty grocery stores and even at some Whole Foods stores. 

You may have seen egg bites, the little souv-vide cooked eggs at Starbuck’s. I go to Starbuck’s so infrequently I hadn’t seen them but I tried the version from Trois Petits Cochons and was impressed! They are tender and flavorful and come in a variety of flavors including bacon and swiss and prosciutto and gruyere. 

I eat a lot of almond butter. But I had never had walnut butter until recently. Walnut butter from Wellnut Farms has a bit of sugar and RSPO certified palm oil but it’s generally pretty healthy. The sugar is necessary to cut the bitterness. I might try making my own with a bit of walnut oil. 

Angkor Cambodian Food is a food company started by two ex-engineers. They have a whole line of Cambodian sauces, but my favorite is the award-winning lemongrass paste. It’s a beguiling blend of lemongrass, garlic, onion, jalapenos, fish sauce, galangal, lime and lime leaf, and a few other things.  Use it for stir frys, marinades or even as a soup base. 

Muso from Japan produces a line of umami products—hot sauces, miso pastes and more. They add a savory quality without seeming overly salty. Most of their products are organic. If you’re interested in specialty Japanese ingredients, check out their booklet.  Some of their products are available on Amazon, but only one umami paste. I hope they find distributors and more of their products become available soon. 

Smoky red mustard from Freak Flag is a unique condiment that has notes of garlic, tomato and mustard and a balance of honey and vinegar. But it needs another name. Heinz is selling a mayo-ketchup combination called “mayochup” so maybe “mustup”? 
Red Duck makes condiments and their latest ones are taco sauces. If you love Korean tacos, you’re in luck. Their Korean Taco Sauce is definitely my favorite, and is good in a taco or quesadilla but I imagine it would be good in a marinade for meats, in meatloaf, chili or in a gooey bean dip. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it. 

Chile crisp is having a moment. It’s a Chinese condiment that has gotten a lot of press with plenty of copycat recipes online. Don Chilio offers basically a Mexican version that consists of thin slices of chile peppers fried to a crisp in olive oil. I tried the jalapeno but they also offer a habanero and serrano version. It’s super crispy and plenty spicy. I’d eat it by the spoonful. It’s heavenly over a slice of cool avocado.