I love going to the Kids Food Festival just because there are twenty plus tables to stop at and not only learn about nutrition but to get samples from as well. It is a place for not just kids to discover healthy food but for the adults as well. Kids are motivated to go to each table in the area designated as the “Future Foodie Pavilion” not just because of the delicious sites and smells but because of the scavenger hunt that yields a goodie bag full of treats at the end. This year’s scavenger hunt helped kids learn the basics of good nutrition–kids had to find at least one item from each of the five food groups at each vendor’s table, and someone at each table would stamp their card. I was thrilled to see the Loacker people there giving put full size bags of their legendary wafer cookies to guests who tweeted in front of a step and repeat of the Italian Alps–that is my nephew Frank posing in the photo above. Loacker is my go-to snack when I run into the front “sweets section” of Eataly Flatiron. Not surprisingly, the Italian Alps is where they are headquartered–if you are unfamiliar with this legendary brand, be sure to check them out at www.loacker.com. I enjoyed sampling new snack crackers from Annie’s Naturals, and really was thrilled to discover a new taste sensation that knocked my Crocs off–Made Good Vanilla Crispy Squares. This vegan snack is also available in a chocolate chip crunch flavor but the vanilla just rocked my world, as they say. It is free of the eight most common food allergens and is creamy and crunchy at the same time. You can buy them at Amazon (where you can see their wonderful rave reviews written by parents) and learn more about them at www.madegoods.com. They are filling snacks and offer a lot of Vitamin D, iron and other nutrients. I also went insane for Crispy Fruit. They had a huge variety–about a dozen dried fruit–for guests of the Kids Food Festival to try. I was truly impressed that each snack size package was only 40 calories, packed with nutrition. Some of the choices were quite unusual for dried fruit, including tangerine and cantaloupe–I strongly suggest visiting their site www.crispygreen.com to see all the flavors and to check out nutrition information.The most exciting part of my visit to the Kids Food Festival was the kids cooking class with the talented staff from Epicerie Boulud–which has a location right on the ground floor of the Occulus close to the Apple store and is one of the major sponsors of the Kids Food Festival along with the James Beard Foundation. The first item that guests made were Wrap & Roll Turkey Wraps with Chef Nicolas Houlbert of Épicerie Boulud running the show.
I was impressed with how each guest was given a neatly organized covered tray with delicious ingredients: a large slice of turkey breast, organic Romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, homemade mayo with chunks of egg, maple glazed bacon and sliced avocado spritzed with lemon juice and put back in its skin to stay fresh. The wrap part itself was soft and moist, as it was made fresh that day by the talented bakers of Epicerie Boulud.In the same wonderful class that the kids were mesmerized by, we made Chocolate Truffles with Chef Jayce Baudry of Épicerie Boulud! Everyone hand dipped and rolled their dark and milk chocolate truffles in both chocolate and vanilla ganache, and then dipped them in an assortment of toppings including multicolored sprinkles, cocoa powder and coconut flakes. Everyone got two dozen homemade truffles to take home in a fancy Epicerie plastic candy box to share with their love ones!I personally chowed down on a couple of my truffles before they made it into a box. Above you see the photos of my truffles before I dipped them with ganache and toppings and placed them in the lovely Epicerie Boulud plastic candy gift boxes that guests were given. My truffles dried quickly and I was surprised by that fact as I have never made them before. My nephew Frank was happy to be able to gift his to his mom since it was, after all, Mother’s Day!Before I left the Kids Food Festival, I had to check out the crafts table where kids were making sticker covered aprons to take home to Mom–I also participated in the numerous raffles that included bouquets and knife sets. I did not win but was impressed with the fact that the raffles had such great prizes and were free of charge.Everything at the Kids Food Festival is actually free each year except for the cooking classes which are $25 a ticket. Adults can accompany kids for free and supervise while they prepare food, but if they want to prepare food themselves, they need to purchase a ticket. For more info, go to www.kidsfoodfestival.com–this website will show you a very complete history of past, present and future fests and you will find it fascinating. In my opinion, it is the best family “foodie” event that the Big Apple has to offer!