SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW 2016: Yes, I Found New Food Favorites!

I loved wandering the aisles of booths at the Fancy Food Show this year and I think this year marked my 20 year of going! According to PR honcho Louise Kramer, a record 49,000 vendors were on hand. I did a lot of walking in my afternoon there at the Javits Center, but I do not think it even burned off an 1/8th of the calories I consumed.

I enjoyed checking out Mr. Chow’s Sauces being a longtime fan of his restaurants in midtown Manhattan and Beverly Hills. His new Fiery Sauce rocked my world and I admit that I used it on some pulled pork from the Guy Fieri Sauces booth next door even though Mr. Chow has used it in his Fiery Beef for decades now. It was a fiery kick that I think I would enjoy on any meat or poultry. There are actually three great sauces in the original Mr. Chow’s launch and they threw an exciting party at Mr. Chow’s restaurant on East 57th Street. It’s so close to Marilyn Monroe’s apartment that I like to feel that if she was still alive, she would have been at this great event!

Next I went to Rao’s who introduced their new Artichoke Tomato Sauce which is amazing–I think Rao’s makes the best jarred sauces in the entire commercial market. The only thing better is having their sauce in their famous East Harlem or Las Vegas eateries. Their Pizza Sauce is the one used on Whole Foods’ pizzas, just in case you’ve adored the pizza in their prepared foods section like I do and have always wondered, “Who makes this great pizza sauce?” My favorite is still their Arabiatta and don’t forget their high quality pastas either. I am so happy to see that they can be picked up at any large supermarket chain now! For more info on the huge line of great Rao’s products available to the “armchair foodie,” go to http://www.raosspecialtyfood.com.

I also went to Moonstruck Chocolates which was a new company for me. My mind was blown when I saw gorgeous homemade dark chocolate with fresh herbs and flowers on top of them and then simply wrapped in clear plastic. They tasted as gorgeous as they looked. I think that the ultimate wedding favor would be to wrap one of these bars up with a ribbon in the official wedding color and leave one at each guest’s plate. For more info on Moonstruck Chocolates (as well as their chocolate ales), go to http://www.moonstruckchocolates.com.

I always make sure to make my way over to the Harry & David booth because there are goodies galore there–and they are in the same booth with their sister products including Fannie May Chocolates, 1-800-Flowers and Cheryl’s Cookies. This is the booth that is a paradise for sweets lovers. I got to test the new flavors of Moose Munch (including the limited edition Orange Creme) as well as some new Gourmet Truffles from Fannie May (you have not lived until you have tried a Fannie May Milk Chocolate Mocha Truffle). There were lovely flowers in the booth thanks to 1-800-Flowers, of course! For more info, go to www.harryanddavid.com, www.1800flowers.com and www.fanniemay.com.

My great new discovery at this Fancy Food show was the wonderful “cheese bowls” known as Folios from Lotito Foods Inc out  of Edison, NJ. This company has always made fine cheeses but to have a food service product like Folios–which is basically bendable cheese–is outstanding, especially for low carb dieters. The Olive Garden has been using them for their speciality salads for the past two years but they are finally coming to supermarkets in fall. Folios will be available in Parmesan, Cheddar and Jarlsberg. They can also be broken up and eaten like chips. I was lucky enough to not only go check out Folios at the Lotito Foods booth at the Javits, but also got invited to their party at Eolo, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Chelsea. They had a big turnout of press that go to munch on fantastic homemade pasta topped with Lotito’s grana padana and  parmigiana reggiano cheeses–not to mention other Italian specialities like eggplant parm created with their fantastic products. For more info, go to www.lotitofoods.com.

I swear that the Fancy Food Show gets better every year and I am impressed that the entire Northern Hall is now made up of “healthy food” vendors. (Apparently, there are even healthy artisanal beers now and many could be found there.) My only disappointment was that Bongiovi Sauces was not in attendance (love to chat with Mr. Bongiovi at the shows as he is a really sweet and sincere man who loves to cook). Divine Delights–my favorite artisnal petit four company which is out of Petaluma, CA–was not around, either. I love nothing more than to nosh on a few of their beautiful handmade petit fours made with homemade almond paste. Ordering them at Christmas has become a family tradition for me. Maybe I can talk them into coming back next year, LOL!

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