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My 2012 Fancy Food Show Favorites

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The whirlwind of show frenzy and activity is behind me as I am in the skies and headed home.  Finally I have a chance to reflect on the exhibited products that caught my eye among a sea of specialty items. As usual, San Francisco’s Moscone Center was the venue for exciting developments in product innovation and packaging. 

Down Aisle 5500 in the South Hall, I feasted on gourmet cheeses and saw what I thought was the best food art in the show — a veritable tiered cheese “cake” (shown left) created by a company to celebrate their 20 years of business. Farther down the aisle I was entranced by a display that included one and a half ounce packaged butter “logs”, perfect for single servings. I could envision these beauties sold in a convenience pack of 4.

One candy company really hit the jackpot with a new item: individually packaged Royal Mints. We sampled all three flavors — traditional peppermint, as well as a vanilla peppermint flavor that hit the palate with the best of both tastes. Our favorite, however, was the new citrus mint that had exceptional taste and melted in our mouths.

We applaud one preserve company for presenting their products in jars a la mode francaise. What jam lover would not love to collect a set of spirits and juice glasses while first enjoying jams and jellies in succulent flavors? We have long wondered why this traditional European packaging of preserves has not captured the attention of more manufacturers on this side of the pond, but we are glad to have the double luxury of eating wonderful jams and building up a drinking glass collection simultaneously.

Finally, two cracker vendors caught our eye. One exhibitor offered a variety of wafer-thin sweet potato crackers in an assortment of flavors — our favorite being rosemary and olive oil. Sold in beautiful gusseted packaging, we applauded the effort made by this vendor to create great product that is attractively merchandized.

Then, there was the New Zealand-based company that manufactures pizzelle-style, all-natural wafer crackers and wafer bites that are spot-on in flavor and are perfect with cheeses and their own terrific fruit pastes. The same company creates a fruit and honey ice pop that can be served as a frozen pop or a refreshing drink. Packaged in multipacks, these little delights are perfect for lunchbox treats and small hands.

Here’s to another great Fancy Food Show, and kudos to the vendors who stood out with their ingenuity and inspirational efforts.

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