Day 2 of the Fancy Food Show was more for exploring the products, and meeting company reps, than Day 1. Here’s a run down of what I saw:
I was instantly drawn to the playful design on the Fearless Chocolate bars. According to the website, that adorable elephant is a symbol of moving forward, of triumphing over adversity–and not taking any of it too seriously. Not only is this little guy adorable, but the Oakland-based company works hard to be socially and environmentally responsible. It donates 1% of its profits to people working to inspire society–at the suggestion of its customers; it also uses only biodegradable packaging. Its products are certified organic, and are quite yummy. I tried their Sweet and Hot Hibiscus Ginger chocolate, and liked how it wasn’t too sweet.
This was my favorite truffle product booth, P.A.Q. New York . I managed to snag them at the end of the first day, when they had run out of bread or napkins or anything. My first taste of their Truffle Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Dressing was divine nonetheless. The sweetness of the vinegar and the truffle essence were perfectly balanced, and the texture was wonderfully smooth and as velvety as balsamic vinegar can get. :)
I’ve loved Harvest Song‘s products since I discovered them at the cheese shop. Everything I’ve tasted, from their rose petal confiture to their young, whole walnuts in syrup, to the apricot jam I tasted at the show, is delightfully fruity, not too sweet, and just feels so wholesome! They come from the Ararat Valley in Armenia, I believe where the great flood of Biblical stories is supposed to have taken place. The packaging comes with tops wrapped in handmade paper tied with handmade twine. The company website has so many great recipe and pairing ideas. If you ever do come across their products, don’t hesitate! You have my word, they are excellent.
I was familiar with MarieBelle’s chocolates already, since my family had received a box of their delectable and beautiful signature ganache collection chocolates. It was exciting to have the chance to taste more of their products! They were sampling one of their dark chocolate and fruit (banana, this time) bars. Slightly crunchy from the banana, rich, full . . . love! I almost turned down a taste of their spicy hot chocolate because it was early on the second day, but I was won over by a glimpse of the frothy, thick chocolate. Good thing, too, because it was divine. The hot chocolate was thick, like drinking velvet dark chocolate with chipotle and ancho chile. No Swiss Miss stuff here, this was decadence, like drinking champagne at breakfast.
The customers of the old cheese shop just ADORED the double crème cheese from Guilloteau Fromagerie. We’d go through something like 5 or 6 wheels a week, easily. My former boss said I had to try their new triple crème, St. Angel, so I did, as well as their sheep’s milk double crème. In the St. Angel, there was only the slightest tang that is characteristic of many triple crème cheeses, and the milky softness present in all of the Guilloteau cheeses. Their brebis was heavy on the milky and light on the brebis taste. I know they’re popular, but I do admit they’re not very exciting! But then again, they are like the bread and butter of my former cheese shop.
Early in the day, I strolled on over to the American Cheese Society-sponsored pavilion, ready for the sensory overload. Among the first I tried were from Grafton Village Cheese in Vermont. This is an interesting company, since it is owned by a non-profit organization, and also seems quite involved with educational initiatives in rural Vermont. The cheese shop sometimes carries their cheddar. Their 4-year cheddar was of a pale yellow paste, with “mid-year” milk from mainly Jersey and some Holstein cows. It was sharp, with a supple paste. Perfectly dignified cheddar! The 3-year cheddar had a slightly yellower paste than the 4-year, with a slightly milder taste. Unlike the 4-year, this one didn’t linger very much on the tongue at all.
Off I go to dinner now. I’ll share the following soon!