Scenes from the Summer Fancy Food Show: A First-Timer's Take and Tastes
Picture an enormous room filled with a seemingly endless number of products to sample. To your left is a long row of booths with the alluring smell of baked goods. To your right, enthusiastic people are talking about "the next best thing in water consumption." Straight ahead are smiling faces in green shirts handing out samples of freshly brewed matcha tea. Those were my initial impressions as I walked into my first Summer Fancy Food Show, America’s largest specialty food and beverage show, which was held in New York City this week. Of the 2,550 exhibitors representing the next big products, big companies and big trends, these were three of my favorite.
I headed toward some booths offering new substitutions for wheat flour. Bright packages filled with coconut, farro and banana flour began the extended choices of gluten-free and ancient-grain flours. Having never seen banana flour in my local grocery store, I was quickly intrigued. The allure of no longer having to wait for those perfectly ripened bananas before I could bake a delicious bread was a welcomed joy.
Everywhere I turned I was offered unique types of water, such as birch and maple, each giving a new flavor twist to the simple glass of refreshing liquid. I was then handed some watermelon water that tasted just like biting into an actual slice of the fruit at my favorite spot in the park. As I enjoyed the product, the exhibitors boasted about the drink’s one-and-only ingredient: organic watermelon.
Next I found myself drawn to the bright-green shirts and beautiful teapots in an area filled with brewing matcha tea. Drinking as many samples as my stomach could hold, I discovered that each tea has its own unique flavor. Some were very strong, while others were light and mild. In addition to the standard brewed tea was a sparkling matcha drink that surprised my taste buds. The bottled drink was barely sweet and bubbly with a refreshing citrus taste that made it unlike any of the matcha teas I had previously enjoyed.
Overall the Summer Fancy Food Show was an amazing experience filled with several culinary discoveries that I was happy to explore.