The Fancy Food Show comes once a year to NYC and San Francisco, and it’s a place where legendary specialty food brands meet with possible distributors and stores—but these brands also take on the press and check out the competition. The FFS is also one of the best place to launch new products in the entire food industry. This spectacular event is produced every year by the NYC-based Specialty Food Association. Here are a few of my favorite moments at the 2023 show! I visited dozens of booths including some of my old favorites and I munched nonstop for a few hours. I gained 10 pounds in one day but it was worth it, LOL!
The fine Italian cheesemaking company Monti Trentini sent me a wonderful package of three of their best cheeses before the Fancy Food Show. Included was their rock star product, Caciotta Tartufo All Natural Cheese with Italain Black Truffles! It did not last too long at my house, LOL! At the show, Maria Vittoria Finco, Marketing Manager of Monti Trentini and Stefano Viero, General Manager of Monti Trentini USA, welcomed guests from all facets of the specialty food business to their booth. The focus of Monti Trentini reps being at the FFS was to introduce their wide variety of cheeses from the Dolomite Mountains in the Trentino Region of Italy.
Veroni USA is at the top of the charcuterie game and make must haves for parties around the world. I got invited to their after party at the Grace Building in a fabulous 19th floor lounge area and ate their products to my heart’s content. It’s so easy to buy a few of their products, then add olives, dried fruit, crackers and toothpicks and have a party in under five minutes. All Veroni meats and cheeses have a long shelf life which also makes them highly desirable. The most popular item at their booth was the prosciutto which is nearly impossible to beat both in terms of quality and price!
It is always great to check out the Jelly Belly booth and see what new flavors they are introducing and take lots of packets to go! I immediately fell in love with the subtle new flavors in the Boba Milk Tea collection! As you can see from my photo, JB also makes Sunkist Fruit Gems—who knew that? Anyway, there were numerous colorful displays in the JB booth and over 75 flavors! I managed to try a solid 25 myself and am always thrilled when I get a chance to have the root beer and buttered popcorn flavors!
Stopped by the Filippo Berio booth and discovered they had more types of olive oil then I see in the NYC supermarkets! I do not have to tell you that they have always been the “workhorse” olive oil that works with every dish and many home chefs have been users for decades! I am a 35 year user myself! I took a sample of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil pictured above and just have to say that it is the best bang for the buck out there. At this year’s Fancy Food Show, the brand introduced its restyled Olive Oil label and extended line in ergonomic, sustainable rPET packaging and newest Pesto flavors, such as Vegan and Creamy varieties.
The legendary Serendipity 3 was on hand to show off new and classic products. Publicist and chef Joe Calderone who comes up with all the “fantasy food” items that garner so much media attention (like the $1000 sundae with edible gold) was on hand to meet and greet press and there was a nice young man at the center of the booth handing out generous portions of Serendipity’s amazing Frozen Hot Chocolate. Serendipity 3 is a serious part of NYC’s culinary history and is still a gathering place for creative types as well as families. I am always so thrilled to see their Frozen Hot Chocolate Mix and the ice creams in the supermarket. Right now, foodies are coming to Serendipity 3 to share a batch of the Crème De La Crème Fries cooked in duck fat and topped with sliced truffles and edible gold!
Gustaf’s Dutch Licorice And Gummies and owned by Gerrit J. Verberg Candy Company and always my “go to” spot for the European candies that I love including all sorts and salted licorice. I am particularly fond of wine gums and I am so happy that I get to take a bag home with me each year. This company also has wonderful “retro” tins of old time gums like Beeman’s and Black Jack. Going to this booth is like being in a candy funhouse! All these items are available on candywarehouse.com and are amazingly well priced.
I was pleased to stumble upon the Walker’s Shortbread booth and see this adorable Empire State Building made out of pieces of their classic shortbread product. I wonder what happened to it after the show. I almost offered to take it home, LOL! Walker’s makes a huge variety of cookies and biscuits and I got to try a few of them at their booth. I swear that the original shortbread puts everything else to shame when dunking in hot chocolate or coffee!
I discovered Cinnamom for the first time at the Food Show and had to try one of their cinnamon rolls. They were very generous and let you pick any product that you liked and were even willing to heat up your roll! There were so many varieties of rolls including plain cinnamon, iced cinnamon and fruit flavors! They have some special products coming up for the holidays covered in green and red sprinkles and/or icing! I was impressed at the taste of Cinnamon’s gluten free items and loved that their booth was done in Tiffany blue.
Magnolia Bakery became legendary and they were at the show handing out their three different types of banana pudding cookies. These are HUGE cookies and are quite satisfying. I am so happy that they have packaged goods now because not everyone has access to a Magnolia Bakery. NYC has the original one in the West Village made famous by Sex And The City and Upper East Siders like yours truly is lucky enough to be able to go to the on the side of Bloomingdale’s facing Third Avenue.
My best savory moment at the show was getting a generously sized pastrami sandwich at the Carnegie Deli booth. Carnegie Deli is a long missed NYC institution who always had the best pastrami and corned beef in town. Now you can get it through their own site carnegiedeli.com and Amazon. They make their own mustard which I put on my sandwich and I was super wowed! Their cheesecake is also a NYC legend because of its creaminess and authenticity. One of the best items being sampled at the Carnegie Deli were their Cheesecake Bites (which are covered in dark chocolate)!
I am always impressed by the Good Hair Day pasta which I have seen on the Neiman Marcus site and in the most posh specialty food stores in Manhattan. It is pricey but they have many unique flavors made with different vegetables including pumpkins and beets. They have a spaghetti with olive oil and hot pepper built in—to a pasta head like me, that is an amazing food invention! They also introduced sauces recently that are called Su Go and you can see most of the varieties above.
Alexandra’s Home Style Blintzes were also a big discovery for me. They had creamy fillings and it was hard to believe that they were originally frozen! These truly taste homemade. This amazing company also makes outrageously good pierogies. I tried not only the classic cheese blintzes but the potato and cheese pierogies and was blown away! They have a total of 32 items for sale on their site alexandrapierogi.com and I cannot wait to try more of them! Some of them are exotic Ukrainian pasta delicacies that I have never heard of before but would love to test out! It’s a good thing that I do not live by their outlet store in Chicago or else I would be in there everyday!
I discovered a great new oil line that has blown my mind! The La Tourangelle booth was a huge hit at the Fancy Food Show and I am impressed at the great variety of items that they carry—they have everything from sunflower oil to EVOO and back again! I am working the pictured three items (Avocado Oil, EVOO and White Truffle Oil) into my cooking at home right now. I added the white truffle oil into last night’s simple lemon pasta recipe made with homemade spinach fettuccine from Borgatti’s in the Little Italy section of the Bronx. It was the bomb and then some! Now here is some of the basic info on this revolutionary oil company: La Tourangelle’s products are crafted in both California and France using 150-year-old traditional oil pressing practices. Known for its distinctive tin cans and flagship product, walnut oil, the family-owned company believes that something as simple as cooking oil, used daily by home cooks, can be an agent of change for the greater good and that food can play a critical role in finding solutions to the environmental crisis. From packaging to small batch production La Tourangelle practices sustainability by upcycling, investing in regenerative farming, feeding its nut cakes to cows instead of trashing them, and starting La Tourangelle Foundation, to support edible gardens within schools, regenerative agriculture, and food banks. For more information visit latourangelle.com. You won’t regret it! The quality is there and prices are very reasonable!