Tag Archives: Javis Center

Day One Hundred and Forty-One: Visiting the NYC Fancy Food Show June 23rd & 24th, 2019

Every year the Fancy Food Industry holds one of the most innovative events in New York City, the Annual Fancy Food Show at the Javis Center every June. This amazing show shows the industry the newest and latest products that are coming onto the market, old favorites that get new packaging or new flavors, the latest in food trends, cooking classes that introduce a product in a whole new way and products from abroad that are looking for distribution in the States. I found the most interesting products at the show and it was nice to see some of the old standbys that I have been sampling since my first show back in 2004.

Fancy Food Show 2019

I have learned over the years that this is NOT the place to over eat and is not lunch. It can be extremely over-whelming if you sample everything in the first row and then realize that you have about 100 more rows to visit. Don’t overdo it on the cheese and chocolate the first day of the show or you will feel it by 5:00pm. I have learned to pace myself and take notes about what I saw. I also like to see what the products are in the foreign pavilions because they have the most interesting packaging and the representatives are usually bored.

I have also learned that you will get pushed out of the way for a vendor to talk to a Whole Foods buyer even if you are having a nice conversation about their product. Business is business and many of these people are looking for someone to distribute a product that probably is already represented in the food market in the States by a dozen other vendors. It took two days of walking, sampling and talking but there were many standouts at the show that I would like to share with everyone.

I got to the show on Sunday by 10:00am and the Javis Center was just starting to get crowded so people were more willing to talk. Some representatives and sales people looked so bored that no one went to visit them if their product looked interesting I would walk over and talk to them. I had some really nice conversations at the show and learned a lot of the new developments in the fancy food industry.

My first day at the show I covered most of the first level where it seemed that the most popular vendors were placed and got the most traffic. It is also where most of the County Pavilions were placed so I got a chance to visit them with some peace and quiet. Most of the visitors and buyers ran through the foreign pavilions but I had fun checking out all the new products and talking to all their salespeople.

Most of the foreign pavilions were manned by one or two people and it looked to me that unless they already had connections in this country many were sitting at their booths checking their computers or emails. This went on with pretty much all the foreign pavilions with the exception of the Canadian where everyone was out sampling their products and stopping passers by. It is tough for a lot of these manufacturers as they are looking for distribution.

My first stop was at the Japanese Pavilion where I stopped at various booths to look at the packaging of products and sample items that I had not seen before. A few unique things popped out at me.

The Meiji America Inc. featured a whole line of desserts and snacks including a product call Chocorooms which are butter cookie in the shape of mushroom covered with chocolate where the top of the mushroom would be.  They also carried a crunchy chocolate snack called ‘Hello Panda’ which is a crisp butter cookie filled with chocolate with a playful panda printed on the top of it. Perfect for those little kids that like something catered to them.

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Chocorooms Cookies

The Ginbis Company of Japan was showing a line of snacks that I thought was quite interesting. One product that was delicious the Shimi Choco Corn which was star shaped corn snacks in both vanilla and chocolate. Another was rather odd but really worked was the Black Sesame Biscuits which were mini asparagus shaped snacks that were studded with sesame seeds.

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Ginbis Cookie snacks

Another product that I think will be popular is their Dream Animal cookies which are a Japanese version of animal crackers. These delightful little butter flavored biscuits are in the shape of animals with the names of the animals printed on the cookies in English. Very cleaver for the child who is learning their ABC’s. Their snacks were sweet and savory.

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Ginbis Animal Crackers

The EIWA America Inc. headquartered in Japan has the license for Sanrio Company’s Hello Kitty line of marshmellows including one that was filled with chocolate which are called smores mellows. They also come flavored in strawberry, mango, pineapple and matcha.

In the South Korea Pavilion, there were a couple of standouts that were featured. Plado Company  featured a children’s drink that I thought was nicely packaged but a little on the sweet side. It was a strawberry juice fruit drink for kids called Poro Aazz that featured a cartoon duck on the outside. The bottle was playful and I could see children loving it. The flavors come in milky, apple, tropical, green grape and mango. They also have a line of seaweed snacks and noodle cup soups.

Paldo Company drinks

These unique drinks will be popular with little children

A product that stood out at the South Korean Pavilion was by Bibigo with their Gochujang Hot Sauce that had many layers of spiciness. This sauce really lasts with you.

The Pureplus Company featured a line of kids yogurt/coco drinks that had many Japanese cartoon characters on the outside. These types of drinks were really on the sweet side catering to a child with a developing taste bud. These drinks were also quite rich.

The next Asian Pavilion I visited was the Thailand  Pavilion and they had more  food lines to cater to all age groups. The Sun Yang Food Company were showing several food items that I thought were interesting. They created a line called Ten Jang which are a line of seasoned fish snacks that I am not sure would appeal to a mass audience but the snacks in barbecue and chili would find their way to kids who like a spicy snack, They also offer the line in Chicken and Squid. Their line of rice crackers called “Mochi Max” has some interesting flavors such as pizza, satay and wasabi.

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The Srinanaporn Marketing Public Company Limited also offered a few noteworthy beverage lines that I thought might appeal to the child who has a sweet tooth. They had a refreshing line of drinks named ‘Uzu’, which is a white grape juice drink flavored with strawberry, Lychee and Orange. The lychee was thirst quenching and just the right amount of sweetness.

Leaving the Asian booths I walked next to the Egyptian Pavilion to see what food products they were showing at the show. One standout was the Shanawany Group’s line called ‘Delta Sweets” which carried an assortment of candies and crackers. One of the standouts was the Caramel bites, another being a mildly sweet line of Strawberry Wafers and a delicious Chocolate Wafer line called “Chocolatoo”.

Another vendor that stood out amongst the rest was the Elvan Company who carried a line of snack cakes. They offered an interesting sponge cake line that almost looked like a ‘Twinkie’  but not as sweet. The line called ‘CakeTime’ came in both a chocolate and vanilla flavor and had a very nice taste to them. The ‘CakeTime’ Donut line looked really good as well but unfortunately they did not have the samples with them. Their snack cakes were just a step below in sweetness than a traditional Hostess snack cake.

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Elvan Company Snack Cakes

When touring the United Kingdom Pavilion I came across an interesting product in the Great Britain booths by  Flower & White Ltd. They have a line of Meringue Bars in various flavors that were light and crunchy and at 96 calories were a decadent little treat. I was able to sample the flavors in Lemon and Raspberry and they were sweet and melted in your mouth. Perfect for that afternoon coffee or tea break.

In the Pavilion for the Country of Greece, there was a lot of olive, nuts and oil companies to choose from. One that carried a line of interesting sweet and savory pastries was from the Ioniki Sfoliata S.A. company in Athens. Their line of cheese and spinach pies, sweet and savory croissants and meat Peinirli (a type of Italian meat pastry) were standouts at the booth. Each was generous filled with cheese and meats and when warmed up had a delicious buttery taste to the dough and the fillings were well spiced.

The Canadian Pavilion offered many choices in maple syrup products and there were a few standouts beside just maple syrup. Jakeman’s Maple Products that was founded in 1876 in Ontario produces an interesting group of products that are flavorful and make good use of their maple syrup background. Their standard maple syrup selections are wonderful but their use of the product in their maple chocolates, maple popcorn (a spin on caramel corn) and their Maple Cream Cookies were just amazing. Their Maple Cream Cookies are extremely addictive and just crunching on them at the show you can easily eat a whole bag at one sitting. They are sweet but not in the sweetness you would in a sugar product.

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Jackman’s Maple Products

Another sugary product that stood out was the Double Dutch cookie by Schep’s Bakery Ltd. out of Norwich, Ontario called a Stroopwafels. These sweet little waffle cakes are two light waffle like cookies filled with caramel and are Holland’s favorite cookie.  These rich little cookies taste like a portable breakfast and are perfect with coffee.

The French Pavilion always bring such elegant and high quality products. I always love their packaging and I love the way the French do business. Everyone is so nicely dressed and mannered and not one is pushy about selling you something. There is so much pride in the quality in their food products that it shows when they describe and sample them. United Biscuits of France has the lightest and buttery cookies with a happy face where the chocolate filling smiles at you.

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BN Pockets Cookies

The French quality in their jellies show too and not just in the traditional Bon Mama. One of the representatives from La Fruitiere Jams and Toppings let me sample a few of their jellies which are some of the best I ever tasted. You could really taste the fresh fruit in every bite. There were chunks of strawberry and cherry in each bite of the samples.

The was one candy that stood above the others from the Spanish Pavilion was Wonkandy marshmellows in bright colors. These colorful treats were sweet marshmellows covered with colorful sugar topping. These little confections come in a rainbow of colors in a large plastic container.

Wonkandy

Wonkandy Marshmellows

Leaving the foreign pavilions behind, I started to concentrate on the domestic vendors and found amongst all the cheese, chocolate and popcorn vendors many interesting standouts that I could see becoming popular on the wide market.

One vendor that was garnering long lines was the Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company who was featured in the State of Maine section of the show. Their lobster products were not only fresh tasting like the lobster had just been caught but decadently rich, creamy and buttery. They sampled their ‘Lobster Grilled Cheese’ appetizers which were so decadent and delicious I had to keep returning to their booth to try them again. I had had a taste of the their Lobster Bisque at a different show a few years earlier and that was also rich and silky to taste. Their products were top quality when serving lobster.

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These Lobster Grilled Cheese were one of the best products at the show

Another rich tasting standout in the State of Florida section of the show was their ‘Stuffed Garlic Bread’ that is stuffed with cheese, garlic and spices. The flavors are in Original with garlic and cheese and the mild spice variety with a garlic, pepper and cheese filling. When baked it is almost like an open face Stromboli. The combination of garlic and cheese with the soft caramelized bread you could eat on its own with just a little sauce.

There were a few standouts in the Asian-American market as well. The Green Spirit Food Inc. offered a line of vegan food products where you would not have known it wasn’t chicken. Their Vegan Chicken Cake and their Veggie Corn Koroke Cakes were the highlight of their food lines at the show. The chicken variety tasted so much like chicken that I was fooled by it. The corn cakes were filled with buttery corn kernels and fried to golden crisp with a light breading. Both were well spiced and would be perfect at any dinner party.

In the State of Hawaiian section of the show the Noh Foods of Hawaii had a line of ‘Hawaiian Ice Teas’ that I enjoyed very much. Their ice tea line was light, refreshing and the best part was made with Hawaiian cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. It was light and sweet and chilled could be drunk right out of the can. They also had an interesting line of spices and rubs.

Another beverage that stood out at the show was manufactured in Minnesota by Maud Borup Inc. It was a line of Fizzy Drink Bombs which are a fruit flavored ball in blueberry and cherry that you drop into a glass of water and watch it fizz. These lively treats are perfect for a child’s birthday party where the children could make the drinks themselves and watch the water pop, fizzle and show the edible glitter.

In the Candy area there were so many choices that I was on sugar high for most of the show. The one standout that I love and it has been mentioned in a few of my food blogs is the Butterfield Candies founded in 1924. The Butterfield Fruit Hard Candies are delicious and you can taste the infused flavors of the fruits. My favorites have been their peach and cherry flavors that I have tasted at the show. Just crunching on them is a real treat.

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Butterfield Candies

Back in the State of New York section of the show, one delicious standout was Bantam Bagels which had started out as a small shop on Bleecher Street down in the Village in Manhattan. The couple had been making their stuffed bagels in their kitchen and they were so popular with their friends that they opened a shop and the rest was history. The best part of their bagel bites is that they are already stuffed with cream cheese so you don’t need it on top. At the show they were featuring their Classic with just cream cheese and the Onion which had a nice pronounced flavor to it. No wonder the line was so popular that the line was long. Also the people working there were really nice and let you taste a few of them.

Another standout product  was from DuFour Pastry Kitchens out of the Bronx were their Smoked Cheddar and Bacon Cocktail Straws (a type of pastry cheese stick) that had a nice smoky savory taste that were light and crispy and had a bite of a mixture of cheeses. Another great cheese snack that I tried are an oven baked cheese bite by Granarolo. The crisp is made with Italian milk and grated cheese and then it is baked. It has a rich sharp taste to it.

A cracker that stood out was by La Panzanella who make a wonderful GMO product. These crisps are made in flavors in Italian Herb, Sundried Tomato Basil and spicy olive and have a nice bite to them.

Haldiram’s, a company that specializes in Indian food had a interesting and spicy line of naan bread,  stews and delicious samosa’s and shami kebabs which are a type of patty. All the foods that we were able to sample were full of spices and hot dipping sauces. Everything was delicious.

There were many wonderful desserts that were featured at the show and too many to mention but there many that I enjoyed eating. The Well Luck Company Inc. sampled a line of Mille Crepe Cakes in flavors Strawberry and Mango which were layers of French pastry and ice cream and were sweet and creamy in each bite.

Dewey’s Bakery out of North Carolina offers a delicious line of Doughnut cookies which I thought were unique. These soft batch cookies were a cross between a doughnut and cookie that came in Old Fashioned Glazed, Cinnamon Bun and Apple Fritter that were soft and rich with every bite.

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Don’t miss these soft rich cookies especially the glazed

Another line of delicious cookies were from Goodie Girl out of Ridgefield, New Jersey which were packaged and almost looked like Girl Scout Cookies. Their Double Chocolate Chip and Birthday Cake cookies were wonderful and they let me take samples home.

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Goodie Girl Cookies which are crisp and sweet

Two snack foods that were a real treat were the Sweet Lemon Sweet Crisps by the 34 Degrees Company. These light and sweet crisps will melt in your mouth. These can be paired with a entree or a dessert or just served with coffee or tea.

The one standout popcorn of the many popcorn merchants was by Fisher’s Popcorn of Delaware Inc.. They made a Maple Popcorn with Old Bay Seasoning. It was a delicious twist to a sweet and savory snack.

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Fisher’s Old Bay Popcorn

Of all the computer software companies that I talked with in those two days, one innovative company that grabbed my attention was I-Whiz. This company works with smaller vendors, restaurants and suppliers and farmers to match up products to sell and buy. The software is rather cutting edge for the restaurant industry.

I-Whiz

I-Whiz Computer Software

On my trip day excursion in the world of food, these companies were just a small samples of the people I met. I mentioned more in my blog in July of 2015 and went into more detail of the American companies.

The New York Fancy Food Show is an eye opener in the food and snack industry. Walking the several miles of the show is a glimpse of what we will see on shelves all over the country and all over the world. The products that I pointed out were the ones I thought were different from the rest. I look forward to the long walk of the show next year.

Happy Eating!

 

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Day Thirty-Nine: Walking the New York Restaurant Show March 6, 2016

I am finding more and more that the professional shows are getting smaller and quicker to walk through. As part of my job as a college professor, I attend the shows to keep up with the latest trends in the industry. The New York Restaurant Show is one of the three shows I like to attend for professional reasons. The show is a showcase of all the new trends in the restaurant industry and all the new technology that is coming out. There has been a vast improvement in the purchasing, ordering and managing of a restaurant and the technology today is marrying all three systems from the waiter, to the cook, to the manager and purchasing director. Even with all this new technology and innovations in furniture and decorations, the show keeps getting smaller every year and like the Hotel Show later in the year is a fraction of the size it was pre-2008. The good news is that they are slowly introducing the food vendors back in the show and that has made a difference in the number of people that I saw in that part of the show.

Technology keeps changing in the field. Everything is going based on the ‘cloud’, which can be a little scary because what do you do if the power goes off and the lights go out. One company that really stood was a company named “Toast”, which is Restaurant POS & Management System.

Their technology is interesting that you can marry both the waiter’s ordering system through tablets set up to the main system as well as being to able to not just able to adjust inventory through the dining room ordering but through how much food is cooked and then it lets you know what to order from your supplier as well as it lets you know what your best sellers on the menu. This is the trend right now in restaurants. I remember when we had to know it by POS sheets and past history as well as we had to do it all by hand. (www.Toasttab.com).

Passing by all the furniture and hardware vendors I made my way towards the end of the show where the new suppliers booths were located. There were some new products that were worth noting.

Pure Genius Foodservice had an interesting tasting product for health conscious customers, brownies and blondies made with a secret ingredient, beans. These desserts are gluten-free and vegan, under 200 guilt free calories with no nuts, no soy and no GMO’s. There are also made in a kosher, allergen-free facility. These come fully baked and frozen. All you have to do is thaw and they are ready to cut and sell. They come in Deep Chocolate and Chocolate Chunk Blondie. They are a very tasty dessert. (sales@puregeniusprovisons.com).

Another product that stood out was Grown-Up Soda (Gus) that is made with real juice and natural extracts, cane sugar, no preservatives, are kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO and can be easily used for cocktail mixers. Some of the flavors that stood out were the Dry Valencia Orange, the Dry Meyer Lemon and the Dry Cranberry Lime. These beverages delightful flavor to them and a wonderful fizziness to them. They might be refreshing on a hot day. (info@drinkgus.com)

Another beverage that stood out at the show was Bruce Cost Ginger Ale. Bruce Cost is a well known Asian themed chef who opened Big Bowl and Wow Bao in Chicago and brought the recipe of the fresh ginger ale with him. In 2014, he opened his own factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Twitter @BCostGingerAle)

Some of the stand out flavors were that I tasted were the Passion Fruit and the Pomegranate. I found them fruity and flavorful and have a nice fizziness to them as well. They would be nice paired with both Asian and spicy Mexican.

I was impressed with Natural Cabana drinks. These were truly refreshing and would be perfect to drink on a hot day. These are made with 100% natural fruit flavored juices and natural lemon juice. They are sweetened with a combination of pure cane sugar and the pure sweetness of the Stevia leaf. The Stevia plant is a herb that produces a natural sweetness without the calories or carbohydrates. The flavors I tried were the raspberry, blueberry and the mango. They even let me sneak out a blueberry to enjoy on the way home that did not last one block once leaving the show. (Pulse Beverage Corp. 720-382-5476).

One of the snacks that stood out were Kitchen Table Bakers Parmesan Crisps. These pure cheese little crisps had a sharpness and snap to them. They would be great on a salad or just munching out of the package. There is a distinct zing to them when you bite into these crisp little snacks. (KTB@KitchenTableBakers.com)

Desserts stood out at the show as well. Allie’s GF (Gluten Free) Goodies were delicious and it was interesting talking to Allie herself. She is a AllerTrain certified baker who whips up cakes, cookies, brownies and tarts. She can make soy-free, low glycemic and Fod-map options upon request. Her facility is nut free as well. Allison Luckman created the business due to her and some family members having health issues to lactose intolerance and allergies to eggs and gluten. These tasty desserts satisfy any sweet tooth. Some of her standouts included her chocolate chip and banana buddies. (www.Alliesgfg.com)

Jersey Cookie Girl is a tasty and whimsical product in which the cookies are beautifully decorated cookies in various shapes, sizes and colors. Her face cookies and animal shaped cookies will be a hit at any child’s or adult’s party as well. They are almost to good to eat as each one is its own piece of art.(www.jerseycookiegirl.com).

Another beautifully decorated dessert that stood out was 2 Chicks with Chocolate chocolates that looked to good to eat. These colorful chocolates each had a unique hand-painting on them and were not just candies but each bite was a piece of art. These would make a great gift to any artist at heart and the perfect host gift. (2chickswithchocolate.com).

The show was not a total loss as there were many standout innovators but the show has gotten so small in comparison to previous years that I am beginning to wonder if they should just merge it with the Hotel/Motel Show and show all the products at one show and bring back a bigger food presence to compliment the items being shown to run a proper hotel or restaurant. It is just a thought.

Places to Visit:

The New York Restaurant Show is every March

Day Twenty-Three: November 8, 2015 Walking the Hotel/Motel Show

I took time from my walk today to go to the HX 2015 Expo, formerly the International Hotel/Motel Show at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. I visit the show every year for my profession in the Hospitality field. Even though the organizers of the show said that it has changed its focus, I thought the show was smaller than it was last year and is about the third of the size it once was back in 2004 and 2005. Things have changed so much in our field since 9/11 and the financial meltdown in 2008 and are slowly picking up in our field. I spent the afternoon walking the aisles of bedding, equipment, furniture, inventory data and latest computer programs for the Hospitality field. The show has become a lot smaller when they no longer had food vendors come to the show, which at this show were the busiest vendors. I was able to see the whole show and talk to various vendors in two hours.

Two vendors that stood out to me were Sagra Specialty Equipment & Foods and Sparkling Ice Mountain Spring water drinks. Sagra had the most interesting display of a custom made chocolate fountain that looked like tiers of gravy boats descending down the flow of melted chocolate. The product was called the Cascade Fountain and the presentation was unusual and beautiful at the same time. It was also very easy to clean as all the parts come off and you put them through a wash rather than clean a whole machine in the traditional chocolate fountains.

The Cascade Fountain glittered against the lights and its presentation with the layers of gravy boats created a conversation piece to all the patrons attending the show. Everyone agreed it was an unusual product. The taste of the chocolate was excellent as well as they have their own line of flavors in dark, milk and white chocolate and a caramel sauce as well. The product is designed to work in all chocolate fountains, no oil needed, have a microwave bag and pour in or melt in the fountain basin. The product is gluten free and made in the Belgian-style with imported cocoa beans.

Two other products that Sagra was displaying was their Lollywaffle maker, which looked like a long waffle on a stick. It made a widely talked about impression on the patrons at the booth and make a great presentation to future customers. The demo person was sampling from another machine, the Lollywaffle bites, which were waffle ‘doughnut holes’. Small little round bites placed on sticks that were dipped in the chocolate and handed to us cause some pushing by the people at the stand. It really was the power of their product. Their waffle flavors come in Belgium, red velvet, chocolate, cinnamon bun, pizza on a stick and waffle dog. If the waffle dog had been sampled, there would have been a bigger line at their booth.

The other vendor that stood out was Sparking ICE, a naturally flavored sparking Mountain Spring Water. Their product was delicious. Sparkling ICE combines mountain spring water, natural flavors, fruit juice, vitamins and antioxidants to create a great tasting, zero calorie to make a refreshing sparkling beverage. The two flavors that I sampled were the Orange Mango and the Pink Grapefruit, which were both refreshing and flavorful. The product is currently only available in supermarkets but the company wants to expand into the hotel industry. It is a drink worth trying.

I still think that the show should bring back more food related merchants that are trying to crack into the hotel industry. It might bring a bigger crowd back to the show.

Day Three-Five: Walking the Fancy Food Show at the Javis Center June 28-30, 2015

I had to take some time out from my walk to attend the Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in mid-town Manhattan and walking the show for three days was not enough. It was three days of talking with vendors, sampling products and seeing what new developments were happening in the industry. As a college professor in a hotel school, there are three shows I have to attend for work every year, the New York Hotel/Motel Show, the New York Restaurant Show and the New York Fancy Food Show and of the three of them, this is my favorite. You get to sample food products from all over the world and get to see what new and innovative food items are being created. It is also nice to be able to support small cottage businesses starting out. Some of the best items from the show come from them.

I broke the show down in three parts, walking the show upstairs in the domestic and foreign pavilions and then downstairs where the new products area is located along with the wines and spirits and some of the foreign vendors who they did not have space for upstairs. There are a lot of exciting products that will be coming on the market soon at your local gourmet or supermarket. These are some of the samplings of the vendors to look out for. I have to say too many people are chasing after the gourmet soda, candy bar and popcorn businesses and too many are getting lost  with so-so products, bad packaging and snotty owners who will push you out of the way so that they can talk only to Whole Foods and Fresh Direct buyers. I know that they hold a lot of clout in the industry, you have to look at everyone who comes to your booth as a potential customer who can recommend your product. These were my favorite picks from the food show.

In the frozen dessert category, there are independent ice cream makers out there making small batch ice cream that would put any national brand to shame. Most of these vendors use fresh cream, sugar and fresh ingredients such as fresh fruit, tea, homemade cake mixes and chocolate. One ice cream maker that really impressed me was Tea-rrific Ice Cream who uses a an infused tea in all their flavors. The flavor that impressed me the most was their Lavender’s Blueberry, which had a richly sweet flavor of fresh cream and fresh blueberry. Made with fresh cream, organic cane sugar, a black tea infusion and a blueberry puree, this makes a delightful dessert that convert any Ben & Jerry’s lover.

Another vendor who creates unusual flavors is Phin & Phebes, whose vision towards ice cream making is to make exciting flavors that are true to taste and made with real ingredients that make the best ice cream. Their flavors with names like Coconut Key Lime and Ginger Cookie Snap were impressive. My favorite was the Vanilla Cinnamon, which combined the creaminess of the vanilla infused flavor with the richness of the fresh cinnamon. The flavor combination is like eating a frozen cinnamon bun. My hands done choice as the best ice cream at the show was Grateter’s Ice Cream, which was my personal favorite last year. Made in small batches by a gentleman who has been working for the family for years. Graeter’s still uses the French Pot concept of slowly spinning the cream into ice cream without adding air which results in a dense creamy ice cream. Their ice cream is used with only the freshest ingredients and the taste can transform your mood it is that good. I think their peach ice cream is the best which they told me is only made certain times of the year when the peaches are at the peak of the season. There is a distinct difference in the flavor of fresh peach and a flavoring. This has an intense sweetness to it. I also give an honorable mention to Mereer’s Wine Ice Cream for a good concept for adults but any kid would love a sneak a scoop from their parents.

Of the novelty frozen desserts, three really stood out to me. Enlightened Ice Cream bars were rich and dense and I had to fight with other patrons for a taste. I was able to get one of their new flavors, the Sea Salt Caramel, which was delicious. This seems to be the ‘In’ flavor right now in ice cream making. One novelty I really enjoyed and went back for seconds was JC’s Pie Pops. These delightful treats were a cross between a cake and an ice cream pop. Different from most ice cream coatings these have a crunch to them when you bit into them and their taste is the best. I had the Caramel Apple Crumble and it tasted like a frozen apple crisp a la mode on a stick. Their distinct flavors such as S’mores, Banana Cream and Caramel Turtle are a real improvement to the standard Chocolate Éclair and Strawberry Shortcake offered by the commercial companies.

The most unique product that is my hands down choice as best in the show the Smooze Fruit Ice in an unusual push up packaging. These delightful treats are packed in the companies farm on the Equator in East Sumatra, Indonesia. I found these in the Indonesia Pavilion while walking around. These are the perfect dessert for children who don’t like their fresh fruit. I was able to try all the combinations, the coconut and pineapple, the coconut and pink guava and the coconut and mango. It tasted like an intense frozen fruit puree and the packaging is whimsical and childlike that would attract the child in any adult. The best was the coconut and pink guava with the sweetness of the guava really standing out. The rep was nice enough to give me a sample of each and I was sample all of them later. One nice thing about them is that they do travel well.

The snack food market continues to grow in leaps and bounds at the food show and in the industry in general. The problem is that too many vendors are doing the same thing. There is only so many ways to make cheese popcorn. Yet there were many standouts at the show that were packed with flavor and crunch.

Jody’s Gourmet Popcorn was one standout in the popcorn category. I tried their caramel corn and it had the sweetest flavor as it had a proper coat of caramel on it. They do not skip on the syrup. Their Cinnamon Toast had rich flavor of French Toast and will have you grabbing a bag at breakfast. Pretzel Pete has delicious pretzel bites in Cheddar Ale and Honey Mustard that are terrific and have a great crunch to them. The Sweetery came up with a unique product with Wine Sticks as they market as ‘the biscotti for wine’. Their chocolate sticks give a distinct flavor to wine. I don’t think these will go over with purists but they can give a complexity to certain wines. 34 Sesame Crisps have a good snap and crunch to them and go good with any spreads or just on their own.

Rick’s Chips is a small company that specializes in holiday chips with creative shapes that cater to holidays like Halloween, Forth of July, Easter and Christmas. The product has a sameness in flavor to the standard chip but the shapes and packaging make it the perfect present for a host or just to open and entertain your guests at a party. G..H. Cretors has the most delicious organic popcorn. Their Simply Salted was plain and simple and perfectly popped and their Just the Cheese Corn was the cheesiest and one of the best cheese popcorns in the show. Geraldine’s came up with a unique product as their potato sticks in Cheddar and Sweet Potato. Packed with flavor and a great crunch they make a great snack. State Street Snacks had hands down the best Caramel Corn at the show. With a thick coating of caramel on each kernel, it can be considered both a candy and a snack. If you like a sweet caramel corn, then State Street is for you. Sweet Corn Tortilla Chips have a great crunch and are low in sodium and GMO free.

Two stand outs from aboard that can compete with any company in the states are Sunshine Snacks from Trinidad in the West Indies. Their Cornados (which look like Bugles) and their Crispy Mix pack some serious crunch and have great flavor. Their Chipsters are very good as well. Superior Products out of Ecuador has some cookies, such as the Deli Chook and the Krispiz that have a crunchy chocolatey taste. Their Integral Salticas have a nice flavor and go good on their own or with cheese and spreads.

The two best products that I found at the food show were The Breaking Craves Lentil chips. These had the richest flavors and the best crunch to them. The aged white cheddar had me eating the whole bag in one sitting with its deep, flavorful cheddar flavor. Their Tomato basil was excellent too. This is not your standard snack as these are made with Lentil beans but you would never know it. The other stand out product was Mr. Cheese O’s, whose cheese rings have the tangiest cheese flavor and a snap to their crunch. It is like biting into a piece of crispy cheese. Made by the Sonoma Creamery Company, this cheese manufacturer found an extension to their cheese lines. Both of these companies had the stand out snacks of the show.

Beverages at the show come in all flavors, colors and packaging. There are so many artisan sodas and teas on the market that have no flavor. It has gotten to the point where many of these small cottage manufactures, in a race to be GMO and sugar free, have forgotten that customers want taste as well. I sampled so many tasteless products during the show I could not even count them in the end and had to keep a smiling face as their makers bragged that they didn’t have this or that in them. There is a reason why Coke is number one in the market.

Some of the stand outs that I sampled were MOO, Mrs. O’Leary’s Organic Chocolate Milk, which had the rich consistency of a chocolate shake. A product of New York State, this creamy product contains cane sugar and natural cocoa and would be an asset to any lunch box. IQ Juice had some interesting flavors with  Memory that features pressed apple cider and passion fruit juice and Immunity with passion fruit and organic blueberry juice. Both claim to have healthy properties to help with memory and fight infections. Sipp has a refreshing and interesting beverage made with ginger blossom that has a sweet gingery flavor and I thought would be perfect with a spicy Chinese meal. Joe Tea has some interesting tea flavors in raspberry and peach and their raspberry lemonade is terrific. La Gloria products shines with their three sodas in clementine orange, Mediterranean cola and Sicilian Lemon. These sodas are packed with flavor and the packaging in a wooden container is very clever.

The foreign pavilions offered several interesting products as well. Fresh Start concentrates from Trinidad, that have a tangy and fruity flavor that when mixed with water offers a refreshing summer drink. Two standouts from the Chinese Pavilion were Amazonia beverages in orange and grape. One of the best products I tried along with MOO and La Gloria was the Honey Sun Groups Honey Sun wild Blueberry juice. The company specializes in all things blueberry and this flavorful naturally sweet drink is a real standout. Over ice or mixed with club soda this is another great summer drink.

In the prepared foods area, I tried many sauces, pastas and soups but the ones that really stood out were Stuffed Foods ravioli like the Chicken Confit filled with roasted chicken, broccoli rabe and romano cheese and their Ricotta impasata ravioli with mozzarella and pecorino cheeses. Chinese Southern Belle, a standout from last years show, offers sauces such as Wild West East, an Asian barbecue and Teriyaki sauce and You Spicy Thing, a stir-fry sauce and marinade. Blake Hill offers a line of delicious jellies in peach and ginger and raspberry and hibiscus. La Maison Gourmet Gravies were just excellent full of deep rich flavors and a great addition to any meat dish. Their Burgundy Peppercorn was the real standout.

The two entrees products that really shined were the Stratta Lorraine from Giorgio Foods Inc. with their flaky crust and dense flavorful fillings. It is a meal in itself. My top pick from the show was from the Van Cleve Seafood Company. Their Chesapeake Blue Crab Pie was the most delicious seafood product I have tasted at the show. A combination of fresh seafood, cheeses and spices in a flaky crust, the pie reminded my of our own fishing history and how it is a truly American product.  The flavor of the cheeses and spices and the sweetness of the seafood make a delicious combination. These two knockouts would be perfect at any holiday gathering.

Like beverages, the show was loaded with new products in the candy and dessert area. Some items really stood out in this category as well. Hammond’s Candies featured brittle crisps and hard candy canes that were sweet without being overwhelming and their canes were fruity and colorful. Torie & Howard Chewie Fruities in blood orange & honey were really good, sweet and tangy at the same time. I really enjoyed Annie B’s caramels and her popcorn was delicious. With Love Chocolates were another standout. Their Choc-Aid was very unique. You could taste the real fruit in Pure Gummy jelly gummie products. The juicy peach was a sugary treat. Anette’s Chocolates of Napa Valley has a line of Chocolate Wine and Liqueur sauces that are very good. These can turn an ordinary ice cream dessert into a showpiece. Deep and rich in flavor, the liqueur brings out the best of the chocolate. Le Belge, also out of Napa Valley were a standout with their rich and decadent chocolates, which were beautifully packaged for the perfect gift. Butternut Mountain Farms of Vermont has a tasty maple leaf that makes a nice treat in the fall.

Two standout from abroad were  Charles Chocolates of Trinidad with their layered candy bars and  Fruity Poppers from Thailand which has their little fruit poppers known as a molecular food that you can see in many Asian drinks and desserts.

The top two standouts in the show were Sanders products of Michigan with their delicious and rich chocolate sauces and their chocolate bumpy cake with a cream topping is so dense and chocolatey and the creamy ‘bump’ topping really brings out the flavor of the chocolate. It tastes like a gourmet ‘devil-dog’. The best candy I tried at the show was Butterfields fruit hard candies. These candies, made with fresh fruit juices, were a knockout. One bite and you could taste the sugary, fruit flavors really burst of flavor as they claim. You can really taste the peach flavor in every crunchy bite. This is a candy you should seek out.

The last category of tasting I did at the show was the cookie and cracker area. There were many to choose from but the ones that I thought stood out for flavors and packaging varied by product. The Vienna Cookie Company offered delicious butter cookies with varied flavors but what made this product standout was their beautiful packaging. The boxed packaging is almost as beautiful as the cookies themselves. Wow Baking Company offers large chewy cookies that when wrapped individually offers a generous, sweet dessert. Their chocolate chip and Snickerdoodles were real standouts. Bella Lucia features pizzelle cookies that have a crisp, anise flavor to them and are a perfect light dessert after a large Italian meal. Aunt Butchie’s has cheesecake cones which are a cheesecake filled cone that are rich, sweet and crispy at the same time.

The Belgian Kitchen offers a Liege Waffle made with real butter and vanilla extract that make a real breakfast treat. The dough is premade and ready to ship to make these richly sweet waffles. Rustic Bakery has a line of beautifully crafted and sweetly crunch star sprinkle cookies. Dimitria Delights baked goods offer a delicious butter stollen for the holidays accented the tastes of cinnamon and raisins. The Zesty Cookie Company has a lemon zinger cookie that is chewy and takes like a sugary lemon. Dolectini tea cookies have a delicious powdery Meyer lemon cookie that you can pop into your mouth.

The two standouts in the cookie category though were MK Patisserie’s Choux pastries and mini pound cakes baked to perfection and tasted as fresh as when they were first baked. Their rich flavors and beautiful appearance make the perfect ending to a fine meal. Biovanta Cookies from Greece has the hands down winner with their chocolate pinwheel full 45 cookies. It takes like a little lava cake when you bite into it and has a dense chocolatey flavor.

After three days of sampling and snacking through the whole show, I didn’t get back to some of my favorites and barely had the chance to finish the show. These are just some of the items featured at the New York Fancy Food Show but because of their taste, unique packing and rich flavors are items to add to your household kitchen in the future. They all make entertaining so much easier. Look for them on your next shopping trip.