We just got back from the Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in NYC. We ate our way through mountains of food to whittle a shortlist of our favorites; both I (Amy Graves) and fellow editor Hannah Crowley had fun compiling the top 10 below. You can also read Hannah’s account of the top 5 trends we spotted at the show.
1. Rogue Blue Cheese Popcorn
Oregon-based Rogue Creamery is known for excellent cheeses, and this year they collaborated with Pop Gourmet to make Rogue Blue Cheese Popcorn. Salty, tangy, buttery and crunchy—there’s a reason it took home Gold this year in the Sofi Award’s Outstanding Snack category. You can buy a bag of the popcorn or simply get the “Blue Heaven” cheese powder to sprinkle on your own popcorn or stir into softened butter, crème fraîche, or mayonnaise.
2. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
You know something is good when you’re googling recipes for it on the way home—that’s how I felt about Jeni’s Goat Cheese with Red Cherries Ice Cream, rich and tangy with a zippy punch from the fruit. Out of this world. Other notable flavors: Brambleberry Crisp, Double-Toasted Coconut, and Brown Butter Almond Brittle.
3. Groix and Nature Lobster Oil (Huile de Homard)
Anyone who’s cooked with lobster stock knows its sweet brininess can elevate risottos, soups, and sauces with an elegant richness. Anyone who’s made it at home knows its pungent aroma will permeate every crevice of your kitchen until even the floorboards reek of low tide. Groix and Nature Lobster Oil has all the flavor with none of the fuss; a few concentrated drops add a dash of sweet lobster flavor.
4. Fever Tree Tonic and Sparkling Waters
Think beyond that dusty yellow bottle of Canada Dry Tonic Water that’s been lurking in your cabinet since 1987. Tonic water, originally used to fight malaria, gets the artisan treatment at Fever Tree, as do seltzers and other classic drinks. Bitter Lemon and Ginger Beer were my favorite—if you’re going to buy a fancy gin, spring for a mixer worthy of it.
5. Belle & The Bees Breakfast Cheese
Spreadable goat cheese with a buttery tang that’s sweetened with a dash of tupelo honey? Yes, please. Great on a piece of toast for breakfast or with crackers, this smooth, creamy cheese took home Sofi Gold in the Diet and Lifestyle category because it has less fat and calories than cream cheese, but more protein—yet when I sampled this, I didn’t realize it was low-calorie. An all-around win.
6. Green Wave Smoothie Pops
These popsicles are made with banana, orange, mango, and kale—they were refreshingly crisp, lightly sweet, and packed with veggies. Because they’re ready-made pops, you don’t have to take out the blender every time you feel like being virtuous. They aren’t available for sale yet, but the two women running the booth said they hoped to get picked up at the show. If green smoothie pops are your thing, contact your local market and ask them about Green Wave Smoothies.
7. Carbon’s Gluten-Free Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour
You really couldn’t walk more than a few steps of the show floor without running into another gluten-free cracker, cake, or cookie. Most of it tastes like it was made with bland sand—which is why we were bowled over by the taste of Carbon’s Gluten-Free Golden Malted Pancake & Waffle Flour. We got a square just warm from the waffle iron, and discovered it had the toasty flavor we crave—even without a healthy pour of hot maple syrup. The secret, we figured, was the malt taste, which filled in for the missing wheat in a way that this mix’s combination of rice, corn, and soy flour likely could not. Carbon’s, out of South Bend, Indiana, has been making its original wheat-based malted waffle mix since 1937; the gluten-free version is new.
8. D’Artagnan Duck Bacon
The famous meat-and-game purveyor D’Artagnan, celebrated for all things duck (foie gras, charcuterie, and the only cassoulet-making kit we aren’t embarrassed to say we’ve purchased), has been smoking duck bacon for years. There it was, hot from the oven at the company’s sprawling booth, so finally we tried it. The taste is unmistakably duck—slightly sweet, faintly gamy, leaner than pork bacon, and laden with ample smoke, like something that spent time over a campfire.
9. Rawstruck Aged Goat Cheese
At lunchtime, the veteran Fancy Food Show attendees tend to congregate around any booth that isn’t selling chocolate, charcuterie, or cheese. That’s why we were surprised to find ourselves going back for second helpings of Rawstruck, a goat cheese we came across on our way to the end of the line for Moroccan tagine. This cheese, made with raw (unpasteurized) milk and aged for 60 days before it is sold, is a first for the cheesemakers from Coach Farm in upstate New York. The first taste is slightly dry and crumbly, but soon melts in the mouth, revealing a depth and creaminess that surpasses any fresh goat cheese we’ve had of late. It’s a remarkable cheese.
10. Heavenly Organics Raw Honey Pattie Chocolate Mint Candy
Though they tasted like supremely indulgent versions of York Peppermint Patties, these treats from Heavenly Organics weren’t just decadent. They’re made with dark chocolate, sweetened with 100% raw, organic honey, and filled with either organic coconut or mint. The honey comes from wild beehives in Kashmir and central India. At 36 calories per patty, they are a chocolate craving problem-solver—if only we could stop at one, or two… or three.
Do any of these sound up your alley? Let us know in the comments below.