For 58 years running, the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) has transported industry professionals and serious foodies to culinary heaven at the Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS). From June 17-19, over 2,250 companies from around the world gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. for three days of exhibiting, learning, business and of course, food. As the largest marketplace event for specialty foods and beverages in North America, this Show sets the stage for upcoming industry trends. What attendees see on the show floor is what they can expect to see on store shelves.
Popular ingredients from the Winter Show such as ginger, lemon and honey made another grand appearance at the Summer Show, but in new manifestations. This year, the main focus was upon improving classics rather than creating entirely novel products. The sweets category in particular received a major flavor facelift across all categories. Tried and true classics like chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream were featured, but definitely outdone by different ingredient varieties. Among the tamer combinations were root beer mochi ice cream by Bubbies Homemade or bombay chai mints bySencha Naturals. For those with a more fearless palette, there also was a potato chip chocolate bar by Chuao Chocolatier or sweet potato pie ice pops by Veggie Mama. With the Summer Show, NASFT demonstrated that no flavor combination will be left unexplored in 2012. And our list of sweet highlights has something for every level of taste, daring and adventure.
Highlight: Maple Dusted Cardamom cookies by Black and Blanco
Bakers extraordinaire Steve Blanco and Heidi Karlsen update the Moroccan “sandie” with healthier, non-traditional ingredients such as rye, extra virgin coconut oil and a crushed pumpkin seed topping. As the name suggests, this cookie also takes more standard flavors like maple and cardamom to create a unique blend of Eastern and Western tastes.
And Don’t Overlook: Vanilla Black Sesame cookies
Highlight: Ube (purple yam) ice cream by Magnolia Tropical Ice Cream
Although exotic flavors like passion fruit or lychee have steadily made their way into frozen desserts, Ube is definitely a first. This purple delight has already found popularity in the Philippines and now Western palettes are about to be introduced to this light, slightly sweet ice cream.
And Don’t Overlook: Avocado ice cream
Highlight: Beef Jerky chocolate bar by Wild Ophelia
As the sister company to chocolate revolutionaries Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Wild Ophelia upholds the expectation of strange and quirky flavor combinations with this new bar. Beef jerky and chocolate, two ingredients which typically do not belong in the same recipe, are brought together in one irresistible treat that adds a whole new dimension to sweet and savory.
And Don’t Overlook: Smoked Banana Caramel chocolate bar
Next year, the Summer Fancy Food Show will return to the Javits Center, NY. With items like Ube ice cream entering the scene, who knows what will come next.
National Association for the Specialty Food Trade
136 Madison Avenue # 12
New York, NY