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Monday, February 03, 2014

More Favorites from the Winter Fancy Food Show 2014

Here is another round up from the Fancy Food Show, the last one actually. It’s a mishmash of products that didn’t really fall into the other categories (or somehow slipped through the cracks). 

While not new, I don’t remember ever tasting the fabulous Blenheim apricot preserves from B&R Farms in previous years. I’m pretty sure I would have remembered. The intensely bright, sweet and tangy fresh flavor of these heirloom apricots is such a treat. I liked the preserves best but all the products were great including the chutney and apricot red pepper preserve.

A winner at the Good Food Awards, Rick’s Picks Smokra is a unique smoky okra pickle with a nice texture. I asked how they got the smoky flavor and was told “just smoked paprika.” These would be great in a sandwich or served as part of an antipasti. They really tasted like okra, not just pickling juice. 

It’s been a few years since everyone went nuts for Skillet’s bacon jam an oniony bacon condiment that makes everything better. Now Skillet also offers a fennel and black pepper version as well as a line of pumpkin ketchups. They definitely have that ketchup sweet and sour tang. They come in Chipotle, Thai Coconut and Brown Sugar and Apple Vinegar. I tried the Thai Coconut Pumpkin version and liked it a lot. 

Since I’m a fan of cocktails with tea I was intrigued by Owl’s Brew teas for cocktails. These brewed teas are lightly sweetened and designed to be mixed with liquor. I tried the English Breakfast which had nice citrus notes from lemon peel and just the right balance of sweetness from agave syrup. I look forward to trying the rest of the line which includes more complex fruit, spice and tea combinations 

Apparently GoodPops popsicles were at the Fancy Food Show last year, but I don’t remember trying them. These all organic popsicles are really outstanding, they have a great texture as well as flavors. I tried the Hibiscus, Strawberry and Coldbrewed Coffee and liked all of them. The use of high quality ingredients really does make all the difference.

Grain-free Seedy Crackers from Keep It Real are made from chia, flax, sesame, salt and black pepper only. They are very crisp, peppery and quite good. I haven’t seen them in stores yet, and will be experimenting to come up with my own recipe soon.

Coquet makes a traditional Spanish tapa, marinated sweet white garlic in a variety of styles and flavors including a spicy and olive version. The amazing thing is, you would never know it was garlic. The garlic tastes almost like almonds, sweet and nutty. I hope I can find these on the shelf soon. 

I adore honey and the best I’ve ever had was in Greece so I was excited to try the honey from eco-friendly Melia. Their Wild Forest honey is thick and bold with a luscious caramel texture and a slight herbal bitterness, a bit reminiscent of pollen. This honey definitely takes me back to my time in Greece. I hope they find distribution because I would be their first customer! 

In the French pavilion I tried a lovely Chardonnay jelly. A few aisles away I discovered The Preservatory, a line of jams from the Vista d’oro farms in British Columbia that include Craft Beer Jam, which is really a jelly. It’s made from nothing more than heirloom apples grown on their orchard, craft beer, lemon juice and sugar. It has a great balance of sweetness and depth. After that I was intrigued by the rest of their creative seasonal flavors like Green Heirloom Tomato and Garam Masala, Heirloom Beet with Orange and Pink Peppercorns or the summery Peach and Lemon Verbena with Champagne. Pretty cool stuff! 

Last but not least, I forgot to mention this crazy cheese I tried in my cheese post. It's made with kimchi. Yes, kimchi! If you love kimchi quesadillas, then this cheese a blend of kimchi and jack from Beechwood Cheese will definitely make you happy.