Winter Fancy Foods Show ~ Speciality Foods show in San Francisco in January 2016
If there is a heaven, I image it to be located at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco, California during the Winter Fancy Foods Show.
However, there must be a few adjustments to this heaven—like the ground. It must be made of clouds; therefore all the walking would be on air. Although, I could deal with simply floating, so no actual touching of the ground, just flittering from booth to booth.
Also, in heaven, we would have no stomach capacity restrictions from either gastric bypass or the normal human capacity.
The three day Specialty Foods event began Sunday, January 17, 2016 until Tuesday, the 19th from 10 am until 4:30 pm. Mere mortals, nee, mere food-centric mortals could visit booths dedicated to every type of food imaginable.This being my first visit to the event, I did make a few faux pas. First, I bothered to eat breakfast on Sunday. This was DUMB. There was no need to even have a cup of coffee before the show since numerous booths offered a full 6 oz. cup of joe (some even offered to give you full strength coffee with the addition of whiskey, Bailey’s or Kahlua). Plus the Press Office had coffee available to me. Can I just take a moment and let that sink in…member of the press…that sounds odd. I am just a gal who cooks in her kitchen and writes about her crazy life right before giving you a recipe (and apparently speaks of herself in 3rd person today).My next faux pas was acting utterly surprised that there was actual whiskey in the Whiskey Sour sample or vodka in the Moscow Mule. Take the girl out of Utah and she has no clue that most other places in the country aren’t as alcoholically-repressed as her current home state-again the 3rd person continues. Both my friend Jessee (who attended the show with me on Sunday and Tuesday) and the lady behind the booth had to be embarrassed for me questioning if there was actual booze in the sample, but then she looked at my badge and saw UT, then did that “Ah”, head tilt thing and said “you’re from Utah!” Ignorance instantly forgiven.My third faux pas was clothing related. I really must find high-end or designer Fat Pants because everyone was smartly dressed but after 500 samples in a day, nothing would be comfortable to wear other than fat pants. Oh, and footwear. Luckily, I wasn’t stupid enough to wear heels or any type of dressy footwear, but by day three my go-to Chucks failed me. My feet cursed loudly at me. Yes, my feet are nothing more than foul-mouthed creatures when they’ve been thusly abused.
The event spanned two great halls on both sides of Howard Street. It took me one day to cover everything in the North hall. However, this left me with only one day to cover the South Hall. I should have reversed this. The South housed the international section, which was a personal favorite of mine, and it had more what I would call ingredients, and less finished products. Oh and that’s where all the cheese was….ah the cheese. Cheese. Cheese. Cheese.There were approximately 1500 booths. Each booth had a sample or at least a piece of candy in a bowl if they weren’t a food product. I visited each booth. And I wonder why my pants don’t fit. But it was worth each and every calorie.
Any type of food or food product you could think of was there. Meat. Condiments. Drinks, Candy and all sorts of confections. I think I mentioned there was cheese.
The fancy buzz words around this show are gourmet, artisanal, specialty, niche, gourmand, epicurean, and connoisseur. Each and every one applies. While there were huge national and international brands that I know (and many that I love) there, the true heart of this show lies with the small companies who have built a name and product for themselves among the masses.Sure, I was giddy at the Walker’s shortbread booth, the Cento booth or the Jelly Belly booth but the real fun was talking to the cheese maker, the baker, the chocolatier who has honed in on their craft. When they talked about their product, it was vastly different than the person sent from corporate. Talking with these smaller businesses, I could see the love and passion they have for what they do. At one maple syrup booth (there were many, I did at least 5 shots of maple syrup) was literally bouncing while he talked to me about his product. A chocolatier talked with passion about her trips to South America to the chocolate farms and the fair trade business she conducts with the growers.
While wandering from booth to booth, up and down each aisle, I came across products made in my current home state. I visited with the fine gentlemen of Beehive cheese. Look for an article about them in the coming weeks. I even spotted my favorite local jam maker Butcher’s Bunches.
The Winter Fancy Food Show was 3 day food fest where I had the privilege to meet many in the food industry and the delicious opportunity to sample products from all over the world. The enthusiasm and energy at this show was palpable. If the stars align, I will attend the summer event in New York, but if I don’t make it there, I will return to San Francisco in 2017.