Quinoa, potato chips, olive oil, ice cream, beer, chocolate followed by pickles and washed down with a nice Cabernet. That’s not a progression that most chefs would recommend, but that is often par for the course while walking the aisles at the Fancy Food Show. Several times a year nearly 1500 purveyors from over 35 countries gather to share their latest wares with the industry’s top buyers, food service professionals and journalists. It’s a chance to get a first glimpse at the new products and the flavors that are going to be flourishing over the next year. Some trends spotted at the recent Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco:
Cardamom: The spice popped up in some unexpected places including in teas from The Republic of Tea and Numi teas. It also took a sweet turn in hand-crafted caramels from Helliemae’s.
Pickles: The urge to preserve has gone beyond the traditional dills and bread-and-butters with pickled okra, peas and carrots, and beets showing strong. Also interesting were the array of pickled fruits, like the tarragon and vanilla brined cherries from Unbound Pickling and the apple cider and curry tinged apricots from Boat Street Pickles.
Ancient Grains: Chia, amaranth, quinoa and flax were in full-force at the show in breakfast cereals, pastas and on their own.
Liquid Nuts and Oats: Alteratives to traditional milk and shakes were strong with beverages like Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Milk and the vegan Simpli OatShakes.
Gluten-free: The ever expanding gluten-free market shows no sign of slowing down and this year’s show featured gluten-free products in every category, including Cup4Cup Multi-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend which is the creation of Chef Thomas Keller who developed the product in response to request from gluten-free guests at the French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon Bakery.