The massive annual Winter Fancy Food Show kicked off today in San Francisco, and I spent the whole day walking the aisles of two exhibition halls at the Moscone Center perusing one fancy product after another, nibbling on cheese, all-sorts-of-flavored crackers and cookies, and coconut cream-based ice cream from across the country along the way.
The trade show is like my Super Bowl. It’s so huge I can’t do it every year (which is why I skipped last year and only decided to come back this year). Nearly 1,400 exhibitors convene to show off more than 80,000 products over three days. The stakes are quite high for many of the exhibitors, who hope to find a distributor or buyer who will get their products into consumers’ mouths.
I say that I took a bite out of the Winter Fancy Food Show, but really I just probably took a very small bite, almost a taste, because I’m sure there are so many interesting things I missed. While some of the same vendors were promoting the same things I saw two years ago, there were several new items. The obvious trend was definitely a boom in gluten-free products from snacks to ready-made-meals.
But despite the overwhelming feeling you get when walking around the countless booths at the show, I always enjoy discovering new products, especially small artisan makers. Ironically, some of the ones I discovered are based in Oakland, where I live, such as Lafaza Foods, which imports Madagascar vanilla beans from farms the owners have personally visited and inspected, or Nona Lim, which makes healthy Asian broths and ramen noodles.
The show runs through Tuesday. Here’s just a snippet of some of what I experienced on this first day.
- Day 1 of 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco
- Weekend Filled With Food Shows: Good Food Awards + Winter Fancy Food
- Tasting Tea at the Boba Guys in Hayes Valley
- Coffee, Juice, Beer, Chocolates + Baked Goods Offered in the Ferry Building’s New Arcade Row
- Salt & Straw Takes Over San Francisco’s Pacific Heights
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