Hello, my friends! Phewww, this month is going to be BUSY! After the hustle and bustle of the Fancy Food Show, I’ve got a couple of opera performances lined up, so I’m super excited about those! All the work my incredible voice teacher has guided me through, and endless hours of practicing in my apartment building’s storage closet, is starting to pay off. ^_^ I’ve just applied for an early music summer program I have dreamed of getting into for years. Chances being accepted in are slim, but the journey is the reward.
In any case, foodwise, there’s a lot to look out for in your specialty stores this year, judging from my visit to the Fancy Food Show! Here are my favorite non-cheese finds! You can find my favorite cheesy finds in last week’s post.
Don Bugito Spicy Bugitos
Edible bugs. I knew they were out there, but had never come across them to give them a try. Happily, I found the SF-based Don Bugito table. Founder Monica Martinez said she likes to start people off with the chocolate-covered crickets, which pretty much is like eating chocolate covered cocoa nibs. From there, I tasted the chile-lime crickets, which was delicious and so full of flavor!!! After that, I tried the spicy bugitos, or mealworms, with cancha corn. Once I got past the idea of eating all the little feet, I took a bite, and was so absolutely delighted by the spicy, zesty flavor of these little guys. Please try them!
Pinkleton’s Curious Caramel Corn
My uncle has turned me onto popcorn more in the past year than before. While he likes to keep his popcorn plain, I’m open to other flavors sometimes. Pinkleton’s variety of flavors and high-quality ingredients make for a flavorful, crunchy snack. You can choose from salted vanilla, orange cardamom, spicy Mexican cocoa, and others. Yummm. Order them here.
Rick’s Chips Puffed Potato Chips
I first saw Rick’s Boo Chips at Cheese Plus, and have been looking for more ever since! There are seasonal trees, hearts, shamrocks, and other shapes. It’s an easy way to make parties more festive! Find them in your local specialty food shop, or contact them if you’d like to carry them.
Matiz Catalan Fiery Garlic All I Oli
Isn’t it wonderful to find easy ways to enhance the flavor of your food? As a major garlic lover, I can see so many uses for this fiery, zippy garlic spread. You can get them through Culinary Collective.
Blake Hill Gooseberry and Elderflower Preserve
This Vermont-based preserve company churns out refined, not-too-sweet marmalades and preserves that go great with cheese. This particular preserve won a Good Food award this year, so I wanted to highlight it! I’ve been on an elderflower kick lately (ok, for the past like 2 years), and love that they are now featured in preserve form! BONUS: they’re even working on creating specific pairings for Jasper Hill Cellars cheeses like Winnemere and Harbison! Get yours here.
L’Epicurien Confit of Red Poppy Flowers & Blood Orange Jam
I came across these goodies at my partner The French Farm’s booth. In case you can’t tell I love flowers in jam or beverage form, I’m telling you I do, and I am always searching for new flowers to consume. Red Poppy has such French connotations in my mind—you see fields of poppy flowers in the spring in M. Cheesemonger’s hometown, and cocquelicot-colored clothing is a staple in the French closet. Now, we francophiles have a way of eating them in confit form! As for blood oranges—who doesn’t love blood oranges? I love L’Epicurien’s delicate, understated flavors, and they treat blood oranges with such finesse. Get some at The French Farm [affiliate link].
Lady Edison Country Ham
You had me at “country ham!” But when I saw the whole bone-in ham on the stand at this table, I knew I had to try it. One bite of this melt-in-your-mouth, fatty, savory cured delight won me over. The 18-month cured momma Ham on display, similar to the famed Spanish Iberico ham, had food show attendees flocking like little ducklings around the table. When you see this many professional food folks getting this excited about a ham, take note! Find them at your local specialty food store, or visit their website for more info.
Red Table Meat Co. Speck
Continuing in the meat vein, I tasted a life-changing speck from Red Table Meat Co. Made with heritage breeds of pig in Minnesota, this cured meat is seasoned with bay leaf, rosemary, allspice, juniper, and coriander, and is then aged for 6 months. Its supple, chiffon texture wraps around the tongue, covering it in a sumptuous meat veil. Just try it. Find a store near you.
Olympia Provisions Landrauchschinken
Olympia Provisions’ take on Landrauchschinken, Swiss Country Ham, is soaked in burned sugar, then seasoned with rosemary and juniper, cured for 18 days, and smoked over apple and hickory wood. YUM, you guys. Get yours here.
Sugar Bob’s Smoked Maple Syrup
Sugar Bob himself likes to lure people in by suggesting this cold-smoked Vermont maple syrup can be served with barbecue, but if you’d rather serve them on pancakes, by all means, go ahead. This was one of the most memorable discoveries of the whole show. Maybe it’s because of my pancake habit. Maybe because it’s because this smoky take on a classic food is the innovation we didn’t know we needed. Get yours here.
Red Hen Cannery Heirloom Tomato & Spice Jam
Owner Maureen Foley and her award-winning Heirloom Tomato and Spice Jam will charm the socks off of you! Maureen is not only a talented preserve maker, she is a writer, and manages to keep both businesses going at the same time. That takes so much organization and dedication! Her heirloom tomato and spice jam was tastes of summer—both sweet and savory. Get yours here.
Seersucker Candy Company Muzzle Loaders
After tasting one of these, I had to run to tell my friend Lemonbird Jams about them so she could taste them, too! They’re chocolate spheres filled with liquid salted bourbon caramel. Need I say more? Now I want more . . . get them here.
Black Pig Bacon “Rodeo Jax” Bacon Caramel Popcorn
I have been a fan of Black Pig Bacon for a long time now, and this year, I finally got to meet Dusky Estes, who, with her husband John, owns this whole tasty operation. Not only do they own the Michelin-recommended restaurant Zazu, they have built a wholesale and retail business selling their exceptional bacon and now, bacon caramel popcorn. The salty-sweet combo is easy to keep popping until that bag is all gone . . . you might want to get 3 to be safe. Buy them here.
This all-purpose kitchen cooking base and finishing sauce is so, so, so versatile. I am giving it the unofficial “Most Versatile Fancy Food Prize” of the year. You can drizzle it on anything—eggs, meat, soups, stews—as a finishing sauce, or marinate meat with it before cooking. It has a deep umami and slight smoke flavor that will complement meats and vegetables. Get yours here.
Blackberry Farm Ramp Kraut
Last week, I wrote about Blackberry Farm’s delicious cheeses. This week, I am talking about pickled ramps. Ramps, that elusive early spring vegetable, immortalized in kraut form for enjoyment year-round. Ahhhhh!!! Blackberry Farm is actually a resort in Tennessee, with a strong focus on fine food and farming. Get yours here.
Tonewood Maple Cube
I actually discovered this product several years ago at a Fancy Food Show, but love the new application the owners have developed for serving grated maple cube with cheese! Get yours here.
Savannah Bee Company Honeys
I’ve loved this company’s honeys for years, when I first started working in cheese over 7 years ago. Their Winter White Honey (now Whipped Honey Original) is one of the most delicate honeys I know! Their Tupelo honey is also wonderful, resembling honey butter. They also make honey-based beauty products. I took one of their face masks to try at the show, and I’ll let you know how it goes! Get your honeys here.
Lemonbird Lilac Jelly
Owner Amy Deaver has come to be a friend of mine, so maybe I am a bit biased, but I am so in love with her talents as a preserve and jam maker! Continuing with my floral theme, she offers up a jelly made with lilacs, which should set all our hearts quivering. She also makes a delicious kumquat marmalade! Buy your preserves here.
Let me know if you tried any of these in a comment!
It’s my work to create great content for you. Do you love you see? Here is how you can support me:
PHOTOGRAPHY! Let me bring your food projects, business, and products to life. Let’s create something beautiful together! See my food photography portfolio. Or see my portrait portfolio for portrait work. Contact me to start brainstorming!
BUY through my affiliate account links at Amazon.com (where you can get nearly anything under the sun), the French Farm (where you can find delicious and beautiful French products for the kitchen, and get free shipping for orders over $75), and Taza Chocolate (maker of some of my favorite Mexican-style chocolates). Bookmark these links for later! You can purchase anything through them, not just what I recommend to you, and I will receive a small percentage of those sales at no extra cost to you! Everybody wins!