This post’s title, Snack on This! I have totally borrowed from friend and colleague Mark Oltz. Whenever we were looking for new titles to segments on In Wine Country he’d always throw out “snack on this.” Today’s the last day of the three day Fancy Food show in San Francisco. There are hundreds of food vendors, from all over the country and all over the world. You can spend all day there and eat nothing but cheese — some darn good cheese. I managed to pull myself away from the cheese pavilion to sample other things. Here’s my list of favorites.
Everything’s better with bacon. The cured meat was everywhere; lots of jamon Iberico legs being carved up.
Bacon makes its way into chocolate at Vosges, in a dark choc bar and in a fantastic bacon caramel toffee. Also saw dried smoked salmon “bacon bits.”
Porchetta was on display too. Tasted this really delicious petite porchetta from Porchetta Primata in Italy. The good news, it’s available at Costco. For those of us who live in or near Napa Valley, or are visiting the wine country, you’ve got to go to Fatted Calf at Oxbow Market in Napa for their amazing porchetta. I’ve seen it made and it’s full of garlic, lemon and all sorts of herbs…yum!
Next to cheese caramel was everywhere you looked, in all sorts of decadent bars and candies. Poco Dolce’s Burnt Caramel was one favorite, and so were the chewey vanilla caramels from the relatively new Happy Goat. Their caramels are made with goat milk — from goats from small loca farms producing milk that is antibiotic, growth hormone and pesticide-free.
More for the sweet tooth – wine country-based Anette’s Chocolate Factory has always had an exceptional (and addictive) beer brittle. Here at the show they’re introducing triple nut bourbon brittle, a new favorite for me, with pecans, pistachios and almonds. I also tried their Chardonnay wine brittle which is terrific. Follow this link to a story about Anette’s that we did on In Wine Country.
There were lots of beverages too…flavored sodas, zero-calorie flavored waters, tea and more tea. I love the rose nectar called Sence. The packaging is beautiful…the bottles above on the left. It’s not too sweet, and is a great mixer for coctails, like the vodka-spiked drinks they were making. It’s stylish and fun and something different. The teas I really like actually come from a coffee company in Hawaii. The pulp of coffee beans grown on Moloka’i is dried and blended with other herbs and flowers, into a tisane. My favorites are the lemongrass and the lavender tisanes.
To quote Rachel Zoe, some of the foods “I die” for — and will be buying as soon as I find them online or at my local grocer: the coco-passion jam from The French Farm just rocks! Also love the confit of jasmine flowers, confit of violet, both very delicate flavors. Can’t wait to get my hands on a bottle of Lucero‘s peach balsamic vinegar. It’s a white balsamic and the peach is just perfect, not overly sweet. Lucero’s ascolano olive oil is one of the best I tasted. I must also have the new spicy ketchup from Maya Kaimal, a purveyor of Indian food. I love their curry simmer sauces too.
One product related to wine caught my attention. You may have heard of Vinturi, a hand-held device that decants (aerates) one glass of wine at a time. It is similar to a funnel and it makes a sucking sound as the wine passes through it. The Soiree is an alternative for decanting on the go. It’s a glass bulb that fits into the bottle mouth, and you pour right through that. Check it out. I’m going to do a side by side test and will let you know the results.
You know how fashion designers end their shows with a wedding gown walked down the runway? To end my post, here’s the foodie version of a wedding cake — in cheese! This was created by the folks at Cypress Grove Chevre, and is made up of a variety of their cheeses…including the wonderful Truffle Tremor, made with yes, fragrant, earthy truffles. Cowgirl Creamery introduced Devil’s Gulch, a new seasonal cow’s milk cheese topped with spicy dried red pepper flakes (adds a nice kick!)
Rogue Creamery had a great line up of blue cheeses. The cheesemaker also paired up with Oregon beer brewer Rogue, adding a chocolate stout to cheddar.
Were there things I didn’t like? Yes, like the pesto from a vendor who told me it’s the best in the world — but not to me. Also tasted pasta sauces with overcooked noodles (yuch), some overly sweet sodas, green tea ramen noodles.
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