One of the great celebrations of summer in NYC is the Fancy Food Show, where if the weather is fine the attendees are well dressed and an upbeat party mood prevails as for example this year when 180,000 special concoctions of tasty food and drinks were offered by more than 2,550 exhibitors from 55 countries, thus quite beyond any one human’s ability to sample more than a fraction, but we stepped up to the mark nonetheless and using serendipity as a guide found some very notable choices, none of them winners of one of the many show awards but in our opinion including many newcomers deserving of gold medals for their inspired achievement in creativity and flavor and ones which we hope will be taken up by distributors who are increasingly clogged by sheer numbers but still feel they have a real duty to introduce the best to the huge American market:
Navitas Organics’ Brooke Golden
At Navitas Organics
Brooke Golden from Novato Ca. offered various powders from their range of ‘essential superfoods’ which to make smoothies possibly including every plant phytochemical, protein, probiotic, enzyme and vitamin under the sun either in their Vanilla and Greens blend or in individual packets such as their Peruvian organic cacao powder to pure goji berries from China, with her card bearing the motto “Live Life Positive”, who seemed to benefit from the company herself having been with Navitas for three years but admitted she had an unfair start by being obviously in the pink of health from the start so couldn’t say if the powders had made any actual difference to the way she felt, but she had found it very useful to have a smoothie after a heavy night in the morning before going in to work, and if you want to join her the powders are on the shelves of Whole Foods.
Natalie Morse, marketing manager of Chosen Foods
of San Diego presented a magnificent lineup of five or six jars of Mayo made from their own supplies of 100 pure avocado oil from Mexico of which they are the world’s biggest supplier and supply 85% of the avocado used in the US by other brands that simply use it as an ingredient under their own label and charge double the price, but their own is available at retail at $7.99 TO $9.99 FOR 12 fluid ounces though not yet at Whole Foods, so you can buy it direct and thus not only pay less but also be sure that it hasn’t been adulterated with lower quality seed oil in an industry which is as much liable to fraud as the more famous case of olive oil, and using avocado oil will have the further advantages of a smoke or burn level of 500 degrees compared to extra virgin olive oil of 320 degrees and thirdly of not masking the taste of what is being fried, as became clear when we tried the jar of Wasabi Mayo, which clearly would be perfect on a nice steak, and as Peggy Fyffi and later Natali Morse of Chosen Food marketing recounted, made it understandable how the company started seven years ago at first struggling until it won a place in Costco and became the biggest in the industry and one in 2016 that used 15 million avocados including sending 30 to 40 truckloads of oil to retail serving for example Spectrum in Whole Foods here in NY which charges double for the same oil, none of it GMO by the way, avocados are not at risk for GMO but dressings with other ingredients of course are, Natalie assuring us that Chosen Foods is very careful to avoid such adulteration, maintaining that quality partly through her assiduous use of PubMed to check scientific publications all as part of Chosen Foods commitment to ethical values of such as transparency and personal respect.
Spyros Nastopoulos of Greek Family Farm of Magnisia,
Spyros Nastopoulos of Greek Family Farm of Magnisia
, central Greece, offered the Greek ‘Great Flavors’ Campaign feta from his 3000 sheep either pure or mixed in as one fifth of sheep/cow cheese (Naxos Graviera with its superior taste award in 2015 from the Brussels International Taste and Quality Institute produced by the Naxos Union of Agricultural Cooperatives) together with straight cow, and after a conversation outlining its PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) labeling produced a pure feta package from his cabinet without any label at all covered with real herbs, perhaps oregano, tarragon, and thyme, all of which cheeses without exception had that special feel of purity and access to inherent taste that marks a cheese unprocessed by anything but Nature herself, suggesting that there is nothing better in feta from Greece or anywhere else if that is your criterion, and making it fit that in contributing this achievement to human welfare, including with any luck the land on this side of the Atlantic, if deserved distribution is achieved here, the energetically entrepreneurial Spyros went on to bemoan the state of Greece where the present government is failing to lead the nation out of its excess of welfare unproductivity because in his view it shares the same unwillingness to risk loss of its own sinecures and now he employs 65 people in his expanding export operation yet finds young Greeks often refusing his offer of 800 Euros a month to join in because they prefer to live off their grandpa’s pension and go drinking at night, even though he agrees that this state should actually be the end point of civilization sooner or later if we are ever going to get the burden of excessive growth off the shoulders of the planet, although one admits that the language barrier may have prevented him from realizing that his production of Feta perfection leads to that conclusion if it becomes generalized, and his success in starting his farm with his two cousins in 2000 when they were all in their twenties benefited from hard work and luck, just as the Greek New York mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis said, and he believes in that as the key to success plus choose a job you love and have a vision, and it is such a pity that the young of Greece don’t realise this, although other problems of Greece he mentions are the tendency for the well educated to leave for other lands, and the bad philosophy which leads people to shortchange tourists so they never come back.
Coconut Collaborative with James Averdieck
Arriving at the surprisingly short British row of booths we found the Coconut Collaborative
with James Averdieck and Katherine Tyler
showing off a novel replacement for yogurt with his Indonesian coconut oil based ultra smooooth little desserts mixing his mild coconut cream combining juice and flesh with flavors in chocolate or lemon or (best) mango and passion fruit that completely dominate the result which therefore has none of the imagined drawbacks of dairy, though Averdieck one of the brains behind the start up and its principle of substituting the health virtues of coconut oil over dairy seemed somewhat winded by the previous week’s American Heart Association meta review of 100 scientific papers since the 1950’s advising that getting rid of saturated fats for mono and polyunsatured fats can reduce heart risk by nearly a third, as much as statin drugs, and since coconut oil contains 82% saturated fat and it can raise bad LDL cholesterol as much as butter, the popular press is now headlining reports with “Forget coconut oil” and similar, rather overlooking the fact that butter and other animal fat long supposed to be heart threats have now been largely redeemed of late with the new-old view of labeling too much sugar as the universal diet villain, not to mention with saturated fat recognized as one the basic building blocks of the nervous system and coconut oil a star performer in building immunity by directly knocking out viruses, such as even the supposedly harmful HIV.
Along the way Olivia Hope-Hawkins of the The Buttermilk Kitchen proffered Crumbly Salted Caramel Fudge and other ways of living dangerously for those who may be aware that English fudge is over 3/4 sugar but are unable to resist its siren call because its lack of restraint in that particular allows it to achieve a peak of perfection not otherwise available to rivals for the top prize such as Polish fudge, even though a hit may be comparable to risking cocaine addiction and at the very least should be followed assiduous toothbrush use including the top surface of the tongue, but if this is done there is certainly nothing like it.
Across from both these standouts in the Brit gallery Alexandra Chamberlain and Julian Dyer of Pots and Co purveyed high quality desserts for the start up desk jockey or time short homebody or stressed air traveler who can have delivered a four star restaurant kitchen crafted dessert in a small but beautiful ceramic ‘pot’ useful around the house for baking or nuts later, and meeting the very highest standards in taste and ingredients for chocolate mavens.
Perdinci from Tuscany now in Florida for the finest possible Tuscany salami, period. Incomparable.
Bradburys Cheese and Chris Chisnall for their White Stilton which those with a liking for soft cheese will rate perfection, pure and simple.
Rebel Kitchen with Rachel Curley and its Coconut drinks, pure or flavored, pink with antioxidants, said to be $2.99 at Fairway, not too bad at all.
Nutribug cricket protein from David Binns, where one kilo of powder is the yield from 10,000 roasted crickets (with oil removed the taste is minimal, he assured us, but we are glad that circumstances so far have not forced us to confirm this).
A major advance on popcorn, Rooted’s popped lotus flower seeds, where popcorn meets quinoa, served by Arun Shroff, who proved that novelty in snacks can still be a long leap forward into fun and satisfaction.
The supreme Polish Wedel chocolate from Warsaw, unchanged by the Korean investors who have taken over the company who at least use the original factory to make it preserved in its original form in the capital, via Christopher Kolodko, Brooklyn Imports, whose sample bars and boxes showed us that nothing can taste as good for you as Wedel milk chocolate with walnuts.
Enrique de Chelminski of Gourmet Fields and chocolate from Costa Rican cacao turned out so good that even 100% pure cacao is perfectly palatable, without a trace of bitterness.