Made with milk, sugar, and natural flavors with no eggs or preservatives, kulfi has a creamy texture and intensely fresh flavor. Traditionally from India, it’s a frozen ice cream-like confection on a stick (and supposedly each stick has fewer than 160 calories, too). I tried the pistachio-almond (really good!), but it also comes in mango, coconut, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and a few cool Indian flavors like kheer (rice pudding with cardamom) and chikoo (a fruit that tastes like ripe pear with cinnamon).
Yanni Grilling Cheese
When you eat a golden-crusted slice of warm, buttery, creamy Greek-style grilled cheese, your eyes just roll back in ecstasy. It’s that good. This is a semi-firm cow’s-milk cheese that has a slightly layered texture and develops a golden crust while not melting into a liquid mess. At the Karoun Dairies booth, a guy was using an indoor grill and putting little slabs of this stuff on a toothpick. I made excuses to circle back and try it just one more time.
Maplebrook Fine Cheeses, a Vermont company, hand-makes this traditional Italian stuffed mozzarella filled with stracciatella, shreds of fresh mozzarella in a creamy base. You take a bite into this soft, buttery cheese and there’s a rush of creamy filling and fresh dairy flavor that is just amazing, and worth every calorie.
Traditional in Korea and Japan, yuzu “tea” is not really tea. Rather it’s a delicate, sweet marmalade made from yuzu (also known as citron), which you stir into boiling water—or cold seltzer—to make a fantastic fragrant drink. It’s immensely soothing in winter and refreshing in summer. I sampled some at Kkoh Shaem Food’s booth in the Korean area of the show. They don’t have major distributors yet—but keep an eye out for yuzu tea. It’s good stuff.
Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes
These were probably my all-time favorite thing at the show (I know, I say that about everything, but really. This time I mean it.) They are sweet, nutty, crunchy, chewy, oat-y slabs of golden brown deliciousness. You can nibble them plain or put cheese or whatever you like on them. They’re made in Hyde Park, Mass., with a family recipe that comes from Nova Scotia.
And last but not least, a rousing recap from Amy Graves.
We showed up as soon as the Fancy Food Show opened on that Sunday morning, July 10—on empty stomachs, the best preparation for the onslaught of chocolates, hot sauces, pickles, peppers, crackers, and cheeses galore. The massive show was organized by country, with Italy’s several aisles grouped together next to France, and Canada’s next to Mexico, and so on. Regions and states of the United States were also grouped.
Our fearless leader, senior editor Lisa McManus, booked us for lunch at Hansik, a pop-up restaurant in the Korean pavilion. It was here that we had our first taste of ginseng air. Really, it was ginseng foam, and the flavor made a refreshing contrast to the ssam jang–enrobed free range chicken. (Ssam jang is a thick, red, spicy sauce, usually made of fermented soybeans and hot peppers.)
The show was set up on three floors of the convention center and seemed to stretch for miles. All that walking around was making us hungry again, so by mid-afternoon we were glad to see Siggi Hilmarsson, the 6-foot-plus Icelandic founder of Siggi’s yogurt. (We’re not kidding—he’s really quite tall.)
We’ve been a fan of Siggi’s extra-thick, skyr-style yogurt almost since it started showing up in stores in 2004. It’s a satisfying snack even at an incredible 0% milkfat. Siggi uses a light hand on flavorings, with nothing artificial or intensely sugary. We got into a discussion with him about how eating fatty foods tends to be more filling than eating sugar-loaded ones. Clearly this topic had been on his with the launch of a new line of skyr made with 2% milkfat, in plain, pineapple, and coconut flavors. Also new from Siggi is a Swedish spin on drinkable yogurt with 0 percent fat, called filmjolk. We sampled a pomegranate and passion fruit combination in a 3.7-ounce size. So cute—and refreshing.
Timing is everything in life. Late in the afternoon, you couldn’t get to the front of the line for espresso from Sant’Eustachio, a café in Rome that had a booth set up in the Italian pavilion. Almost everyone in line was speaking Italian. Luckily we had already had our espresso fix from the machine, which was cranking espresso servings in lovely little demitasses.
But the shop’s trade show emissaries wouldn’t let us leave again without taking a lot of espresso candy (coffee beans covered in dark chocolate, and a Soft Kiss, which was a blend of coffee, sweet hazelnuts, and dark chocolate) as well as a few swigs of some of the best coffee liqueur we have had in ages. Not too strong, not too boozy, and not too sweet—it was a reason to love coffee in another form. We learned that Sant’Eustachio il Caffe coffee roasters use a wood fire to give their coffee beans a special flavor. We were hooked.