It’s back! The largest specialty food show in the country makes its winter stop in San Francisco.
Today I spent hours walking the aisles of the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center, among the crowds of an expected 33,000 attendees over three days browsing more than 1,400 exhibitors. It’s like the Super Bowl for people in the specialty food industry.
I saw the typical snack foods and so much cheese, but a few trends seem to emerge just looking at the number of booths dedicated to coconut water and superfoods. Tea also seems to be on the upswing with several tea booths, and tea wasn’t just served alone. One vendor, The Owl’s Brew, has a line of tea-infused beer (the tea seems to soften and rounds off the sometimes harshness of beer).
The show also introduces new products, some that make sense and others that boggle the mind a bit. Coffee Blocks, for example, was serving up a coffee paste that’s blended with coconut and butter in an attempt to make a ready brew without the typical sugar and cream. The smell of butter whiffs before you even smell the coffee, which I found a bit off-putting. Also, one cheese maker created a peppermint flavored cheese (no thank you).
But some products I welcomed, like Milkadamia, an Australian company (U.S. outpost in Illinois) who were the original creators of the milk substitute made out of macadamia nuts. It has a sweeter and more milky texture compared to almond milk, and I enjoyed how it foamed up in a latte the crew was serving at the show. Also in the small business area, I was surprised that salsa made from beets could satisfy, but it did.
The Winter Fancy Food Show goes into full swing Monday and continues until Tuesday. There are so many booths to check out you may need to go all three days. For now, you can check out my gallery below of sights from the first day.
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