June is a favorite month for many people — it means the official kickoff to summer, beach days, and the end of school. I add “attending the Summer Fancy Food Show” to that list. The Specialty Food Association’s annual event held at the Javits Center in New York City is a three-day extravaganza featuring gourmet and specialty food exhibitors from all over the U.S. and the world.
Photo by Marie Coussa
From chips and dips of every kind to cookies and gelato of every flavor, you can find any culinary product your foodie heart desires. Visitors include food service companies, distributors (AKA the stores where you can buy the products!) and press people.
The show helps businesses connect with other food companies and, most importantly, helps people like you and me sample incredible food to discover what’s on the rise. This year’s show did not disappoint. Here is a peak at what I saw and what food show finds I loved this time around:
Fancy Olive Oil
Olive oil was HUGE this year. Most of the selections came from the typical Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece, but Tunisian olive oil was an unexpected favorite from a company called Terra Delyssa.
Dipped in a piece of soft absorbent Italian bread, the basil-infused EVOO I sampled was so pure and nutty that I would consider drinking it. The visual packaging made it even more appealing. Who knew Tunisians knew a thing or two about quality olive oil?
Cheese For Days
Photo by Marie Coussa
Cheese is usually a top contender for the most featured food item at the show, but this year’s abundance surpassed any others. When you think about it, every country has its own unique cheeses — some are creamy, some sharp, and some mild. The standouts this time?
Slightly soft and nutty Spanish Manchego (with a side of thinly sliced Spanish ham, obvi) and a sharp blue cheese spread, shown above. Smeared atop a thin and crispy Parmesan cracker and balanced with a tart dried cranberry, the blue cheese bite is totally going to be my next go-to appetizer.
Unique Ice Cream
But the food world does not forget about you lactose-intolerant folks. Enter goat milk to satisfy your ice cream needs. A little tangier, a little creamier, and just as delicious, this ice cream from LaLoo’s comes in flavors like Vanilla Snowflake, Sea Salt Caramel, and Black Mission Fig. A ton of grocery stores in NYC carry their ice cream, so give it a try. Plus, goat milk is way easier to digest than cow milk, making it a more tolerable choice for lactose-intolerants.
Dips, Dips, Dips
There was no shortage of dips this year. Classic hummus — in every possible flavor — seemed to still reign supreme, while up-and-comers included bean dips, sun-dried tomato concoctions, and of course, guacamole. The chickpea tomato dip above was seriously amazing. Served with their chickpea chips, Maya Kaimal knows how to make yummy Indian snack foods really accessible.
If you want to discover the next big thing in food, the Winter Fancy Food Show will be taking place in San Francisco next January.