The Fancy Food Show through the Eyes of a Pastry Chef

January 19, 2011

The other day I went to the Fancy Food Show at Moscone Center. Held every January in California, they also have a summer show on the east coast. It’s the place to find specialty food producers.

Individuals are there promoting their secret family recipes as well as large corporations. Countries even have booths to promote the foods they import. Not surprisingly The Italian booth had lots of pasta and olive oil and The French cheese, jams and terrines. South Africa was even represented by a family owned company, Fry Group Foods, which makes vegetarian meat alternatives.

It’s a bit crazy to see row after row of booths representing about 1,300 food companies. They are set up in a grid and you can easily get lost as you walk around. After 10 aisles, they all look the same. It’s best to do a quick walking tour of the entire show and stop at the places that look interesting.

Sweet things are everywhere. There were at least 175 companies that sold chocolates of one kind or another. This doesn’t even count the companies like Guittard, TCHO and Ghirardelli who sell baking chocolate. If they are all making money it’s no wonder there is a cacao shortage. There were also over 90 cookie companies. Who knew that many high end packaged cookie companies could exist in one country.

Biscoff, the delicious spiced biscuits known by most people as the cookies served along with peanuts on Delta Airlines, was there. They have recently come out with a spread, kind of like Nutella, based on the cookie. It does taste like the cookie without the crunch. That being said, I’m not sure what I would do with it.

It’s interesting to see the trends at the show. A couple of years ago pomegranate products were everywhere. Before that it was salsa and mustards. This year biscuits for cheese and sweet potato products had a strong showing. One company makes a water that is to be used as a palate cleanser between courses. It will be interesting to see what reappears or disappears for the 2012 show.

All conventions are good for San Francisco and local restaurants appreciate their business. But it’s especially fun when food people come to town.

One comment

  1. Sweet potato products- This will be interesting. Since Pantone is for color trends, who decides on the food trend? Thanks for the info. xo

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