Where does one go when they want to sample various foods from all over the world?  Better yet, where does one go when they want to sample all those foods under one roof?  They go to the Fancy Food Show, of course!  This particular show is held at the Javits Center every year, which due to the space’s massive size, allows hundreds of vendors to display the latest foods they have been busy creating.  This show is great for those of us who enjoy food from all over.  It also provides a great opportunity to try some foods you may have never tried elsewhere.  It’s healthy to branch out sometimes and explore the culinary world….Without ever leaving the United States.

One of the many reasons I was in absolute Heaven at this show was due to the large amount of cheese offerings.  Who doesn’t love cheese?  One particular vendor I enjoyed was Holland’s Family Cheese.  This brand hails from Wisconsin and they offered various cheeses for us to sample and also to buy.  To confuse my palate a bit before moving onto more cheese, I stopped by the TCHO booth.  These folks offer wonderful chocolate bars.  I’m not typically a huge fan of chocolate, however, these bars were fantastic and didn’t leave any sort of bitter aftertaste.

While I continued to explore this massive show, I came across the Oliso booth.  Oliso is a brand that specializes in culinary tools that make everyone’s lives a little easier.  At their booth they were demonstrating one of their newest creations, the vacuum sealer.  These devices are great if you ship food or if you freeze it and want all the air sucked out prior to sending or storing.  Perfect vendor to have at a food show  I quickly returned to eating because that’s what I was there to do and came across Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese.  This vendor specializes in bandage wrapped cheddar, which appears to have been voted the best cheddar in the world.  Yes, it was delicious.  After all that cheese and chocolate, I needed a beverage to wash it all down.  I stumbled upon Madeira Trading.  This lovely lady (Erika) allowed me to sample her frozen purees which ranged in flavor from acai to cashew.  Every single one of them was both delicious and refreshing.

Of course, cheese came calling my name again and I ended up at Marin French Cheese Company.  This company has been around since 1865!  They have definitely perfected their cheese over the years because every single one I tried was amazing.  Another fun booth to visit was Karoun Cheese.  David was on hand to discuss the various food samples they were offering.  All of their cheeses were delicious.  Now you must be thinking, what if you want something relatively healthy instead?  That’s when NuGo comes in.  NuGo stands for Nutrition to Go.  They pride themselves on offering healthy yet tasty protein bars.  I tried the chocolate/peanut butter bar and was not disappointed.  It was hard to believe I was eating something packed with protein.  Rao’s was on hand to offer not only pasta with their fantastic sauces, but also pizza!  They were launching their brand new pizza sauce and I just had to try.  It was quite good and if I had the patience to make pizza at home, I would purchase it.

There are always one or two brands that you hope are at a food show when you attend.  One of those brands for me was Tortuga.  Tortuga is a brand that has specialized in rum cake and rum balls for several years.  I discovered them a long time ago and was pleased to see them here.  Their coconut rum cake will make you question every other cake you’ve ever tasted.  The second brand that was here, which I was also very excited about, was Fage.  Fage is the number one selling Greek yogurt in Greece, itself!  They had an entire cafe setup and were offering full-size yogurt in flavors I had never seen before.  I ended up going with the coffee blend and it was the best Greek yogurt I have ever tasted.

Sometimes you need something salty to breakup the sweet.  This is where Santa Barbara Olive Co. comes in.  They had various types of olives to sample and enjoy and they really hit the spot.  One of the perks of this show is how certain countries had rows all to themselves.  One row I visited was India.  This is where I discovered Tops.  They were offering two types of custard: standard and pistachio.  I loved the latter and want to buy it right now!  Another aisle I ended up visiting offered food from Jordan.  Here is where I found Today Chocolate.  This was some of the tastiest chocolate I have ever had.  Being that I’m Greek, it was only fitting I found a brand that makes pita chips.  Now I know pita chips have become a big thing in recent years but these are different, they are better.  Who am I referring to?  Toufayan.  Steven was more than helpful with discussing the chips with me.  These chips actually resemble tiny pita bread, which means the center is bit hollow and is great for scooping up hummus!  I cannot wait till these hit the shelves so I can sit and eat them and be proud of my heritage.

One food I tried that I was surprised I enjoyed was cabbage topped with pork and Otafuku Okonomi Sauce.  This sauce is something else, and I mean that in a good way.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good the cabbage tasted with this unique sauce on top.  Needing another beverage, I ended up at Tumeric.  These folks specialize in drinks that contain vitamins so not only are they tasty, but they also keep you healthy!  Once I realized I had not yet had any coffee, I decided to change that and wound up at Uliv Java, which is actually part of the Martha Stewart brand.  Their iced mocha coffee was amazing!  It wasn’t bitter, wasn’t overly sweet, and didn’t leave any sort of coffee aftertaste.  I cannot wait to be able to purchase this.  Another thing I am a fan of is honey.  This is why I was so happy to discover Cloister Honey.  This brand offers honey that ranges from bourbon (my favorite) to cinnamon.  Even their traditional honey was perfect.  Another beverage booth I discovered was Uludag.  When they say their drinks offer an exquisite taste, they are not lying.  These beverages looked like one thing and tasted like something else, but were delicious!  When I was winding down, I found Manhattan Special which specializes in espresso soda.  Since I had just finished an iced coffee, I decided to try their root beer.  They were very generous and gave me an entire cup, rather than a sample.  This was the best root beer I have ever tasted.  I was tempted to return for a second one since it was that good.

I can honestly say there wasn’t a single item at the Fancy Food Show that I didn’t enjoy.  This was truly a foodie’s Heaven.  Trust me when I say it’s a lot of food and a lot of fun.  I cannot wait to return next year and sample even more new foods.

Article by: Kristy Rody (www.quinngoldie.wordpress.com)