I spent Monday and Tuesday of last week walking the aisles of the massive Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. It’s a funny show because you find heavily preserved and unsubtle “gifty” items (aimed at small gourmet retailers) alongside world class cheeses and charcuterie, often next to each other in the same aisle. I walked away with a full belly and a few inspirations which may show up here in future recipes and posts.
I always look for a trend at the FFS, and this year it was easy to spot: Raw. There were several places presenting outright raw chips and snacks (mostly pretty terrible, since they are designed for mass consumption and need to have a long shelf life) and many others selling crackers and cookies in odd shapes that are designed to “look” raw.
The most popular booth was also easy to identify: Hudson Valley Foie Gras, where they were giving out samples of seared FG which is now banned in California. Most interesting concept (to me anyway): Cup4Cup, a gluten-free flour that is designed to be used exactly like regular flour in baking and pizza dough recipes (their bread flour is still in the works). Also of interest: Umami in a Tube, a Nobu Matsuhisa concept; they’re sending me a sample so I can do a taste test against “real” umami.
I am usually gone by Tuesday, but turns out that is the best day to visit because the aisles are less crowded and the samples more generous and the vendors have time to talk with you. I got to spend time with Nicky Giusto from Central Milling and friends from Fra’mani which makes one great sausage after another.
A special shout out to the folks at Atalanta, a purveyor of pickled vegetables which put out plates so you could build your own antipasto tray… a godsend to a traveler who arrived hungry at the show after a long morning spent on the plane. Your anchovies and stuffed peppers are delicious and in future I will seek out your products whenever I shop. Also, ItalFoods which didn’t have plates but did offer giant artichokes on the stem. (But alas, no giant caper berries… whatever happened to them?)