Just imagine what it would be like to be one of the 15,000 professional gourmet food buyers who’s job it is to search out (and taste!) the latest food trends from among the 1,200 exhibits at the 27th Winter NASFT Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. We sent our own Phil Lempert up and down the aisles to search out the latest and greatest among the over 50,000 products that are being displayed at the show. Read his report below.
THIS YEAR THE major trends can be categorized into three basic categories: more indulgent, more flavor, more health.
Take a look at just a few of the favorites we tasted:
IT TASTES SOOOO GOOD!
Elements-of-Spice Heat Wave: I just love this product. It’s easy! It’s fun. And it adds lots of unique flavors to any dish. To maximize their flavor and freshness, this line of spices are packed in recycled glass bottles with a grinder on top that allows you to adjust from chunky to powderfine grind — according to your taste. The newest variety in this unique spice line — Heat Wave (mind-blowing stuff!) — is made with sea salt, green chilies, garlic, coriander leaves, ginger, horseradish, lime peel, ginkgo biloba. It will add heat to anything from salsa to steak, to pizza, seafood dishes and more!
Les Trolis Petits Cochons Vegan Terrine: This new, all-natural paté is made with cauliflower, black olives, spinach, red peppers, tofu and soymilk. It contains no meat, no eggs and no dairy, and it’s available in 6.5-ounce mini terrine or 3.5 pound loaf.
Les Trois Petits Cochons, New York, NY
Cabot’s Horseradish Cheddar and Pizza Cheddar: Cheddar cheese doesn’t have to be boring. Ground horseradish is added to aged cheddar for a sharp cheese with heat from the horseradish. Pizza Cheddar contains pepperoni, tomato, Parmesan and Italian spices that taste like pizza without the crust.
Cabot Creamery Montepelier, VT
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FRUIT Sonoma Mystic Melon Dried Cantaloupe: Ripe cantaloupe chunks are dried and given a light wash of raw sugar. A convenient snack or perfect garnish, this comes in a reusable six-ounce tub.
Timber Crest Farms, Healdsburg, CA
Island Preserves Cream Cheese with Liliko’I: Forget about Philadelphia being the city of cream cheese. Think Pearl City! Straight from Hawaii, this shelf-stable cream cheese spread contains Liliko’I, which is the Hawaiian name for passion fruit. Try it on your next bagel for a taste of Hawaii. A six-ounce jar sells for $6.00.
Made in Hawaii Store, Pearl City, Hawaii
Campagna Spirited Fruit Jams and Wine Jellies: W.C. Fields would have been the perfect spokesman for this. Each all-natural jam blends fruit with liqueur — varieties include: Oregon Berries with Sambuca, Blackberry Guava Daiquiri, Brandied Raspberry Peach and Strawberry Mango Margarita. These will add a little zip to your morning toast. Also in the line are four wine jellies: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Campagna Distinctive Flavors, Lebanon, OR
Clearbrook Farms Drizzle: This line of pourable fruit sauces can be ‘drizzled’ on ice cream, pancakes, waffles, desserts and more. Finally, a topping that’s based on fruit and not colored sugar water. Varieties are raspberry, marionberry, blueberry, and strawberry packaged in eight-ounce twist top jars.
Clearbrook Farms, Sharonville, OH
Cuisine Perel Fruit Sauces: These sauces are designed to be used as finishing sauce for filet mignon or lamb, as well as in traditional uses. Unique flavors include figs with vanilla and pear walnut sauce.
Cuisine Perel, San Rafael, CA
FOR THE EXPERT CHEF HIDING IN YOU Top Coat Gourmet Crusts: Add flavor and texture to meat or seafood with these gourmet crusts that seal in the juices while forming a thick crust when baked or sautéed. They come in six flavors and are packaged in six-ounce stand-up pouches with Zip-loc tops. There’s enough to coat 12 servings. All natural ingredients.
Di Isabella, San Anselmo, CA
Melissa’s Rice Wrappers: These all natural, brown rice wrappers can be used to wrap sushi or sandwiches. They come in red, orange, yellow and natural color and are ready to use right from the package. An 8.5 oz. package contains 20 wrappers.
Melissa’s, Los Angeles, CA
Chinablue sauces, dressings, grilling glazes and oils: For the gourmand, this line of culinary products makes creating regional Chinese dishes a snap. All 100 percent ingredient based, no water or preservatives makes these products unique, more flavorful and easier to control flavor in cooking.
Chinablue, Inc. Sausalito, CA
Gemsugar: GemSugar is sugar that is naturally colored using different herbs. As the trend for ‘colored’ foods increases on the supermarket shelves, expect it to make it to restaurants and your dinner table. Here’s an easy way to garnish and flavor your foods and be noticed. Packaged in
Gemsugar/Satay USA, Austin, TX
Mr. Tony’s Blackened Cooking Kit: Cook Cajun/Creole cuisine at home easily. This kit comes with Original Creole Seasoning, Spice’N Herbs Seasoning, the Basics of Creole Cooking Cookbook and a 13-inch cast iron skillet.
Tony Chachere’s Creole Foods, Opelousas, LA
Lucini Italia Vinegars: More chefs are using vinegars these days and Lucini has imported two of the best. Gran Riserva Balsamico Vinegar is made from hand-harvested Trebbiano grapes and aged for a decade. Lucini’s Pinot Grigio White Wine Vinegar is the first ever produced from Pinot Grigio.
FOR PARTY TIME, OR JUST A GREAT DESSERT
Dave’s Gourmet Fiesta Pack: The Fiesta gift pack is a piòata that looks like a gift box with ribbon and all, filled with Mango Margarita Mix, Insanity Salsa, Painful Pretzels, Insanity Snax, Insanity Popcorn, Insanity Beef Stix and Blazin’ Beans — all for $39.99.
Dave’s Gourmet, San Francisco, CA
Crab House Crunch: Think peanut brittle, think seafood and think kick! This is an old-fashioned peanut square that blends the sweet from the sugar, salty from the nuts and has the added fire of Chesapeake Bay Style Seafood Seasoning. A 12 oz. tin sells for $5.95.
Blue Crab Bay Co., Melfa, VA
Xcell Crème Brulee Kit: Now even I can make my own delicious crème brulee at home. It comes with Crème Brulee Quick Mixx, plus the ramekins and even a torch. Can be made in less than 10 minutes.
Xcell International Corp, Burr Ridge, IL
Juan’s Kitchen Flavored Microwave Popcorn: This is not your run of the mill caramel or cheese flavored popcorn. Known as the Sultans of Sizzle, these flavors do just that: Batch #218 Hott, Batch #114 Jamaican Jerk and Batch #37 Jalapeno.
Specialty Foods, Inc., Kansas City, KS
Tumaro’s Krispy Crunchy Puffs: This is said to be the first all-natural puff chip made from non-GMO organic corn. They contain 50 percent less fat than regular potato chips. They are baked, not fried and contain no hydrogenated oils. Varieties include: Tangy BBQ, Ranch & Herb, Natural Corn and Cheddar and are packed in 3.35 oz. bags.
Tumaro’s Gourmet Tortillas & Snacks, Los Angeles, CA 90029
Karen’s Fabulous Cookie Thins: These are light, crisp, wafer-like cookies with no artificial colors or preservatives. Varieties are: Dutch Chocolate Chip, Luscious Lemon, Sugar Cinnamon Snap and Triple Viennese Chocolate. It’s the winner of two national awards for Best Chocolate Chip Cookie (Dutch Chocolate Chip) and Best All-Natural Cookie (Luscious Lemon).
Karen’s Fabulous Biscotti, White Plains, NY
Royal Caviar Soy Kaviar: This caviar alternative is made with vegetable and soy protein and has the same look, texture and taste as high quality beluga or osetra sturgeon caviar. Contains no preservatives or GMOs and has all the health benefits of soy. Sells for about $16 for 4 oz.
Royal Caviar, Glendale, CA
For more information about these products you can visit Phil Lempert’s Web site at: www.SupermarketGuru.com
Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru®, analyzes the food marketing industry to keep consumers up-to-date about cutting-edge marketing trends. He is a regular “Today” show contributor, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, and host of Shopping Smart of the WOR Radio Network. For more food and health information, you can check out Phil’s Web site at: Supermarketguru.com.