Twice a year, every year, the “foodies” of the world converge on both U.S. coasts to celebrate and showcase what’s good, what’s new and what’s just…FANCY!!
It’s the Fancy Food Show, North America’s largest Specialty Food and Beverage Event sponsored by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade, otherwise known as the N.A.S.F.T. It’s also the home of the sofi™ or Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation awards. Given to the most outstanding specialty food products of the year.
These two, 3 day food extravaganza brings together over 40,000 attendees from 80 countries to view and sample some 260,000 innovative specialty food products each year. It’s a place where suppliers and their customers meet to share their mutual passions for what likely will end up on a menu or on your own dinner plate in your very near future.
Entrepreneurs, Chefs, Food Chemists, Writers, Package Experts, Exporters and Importers, Cookbook Publishers and just about anyone who has anything to do with the industry all converge at these events with just one thing on their mind. Food!
And with over 2,600 booths all displaying hundreds of specialty products, at this summer’s event, held at the Jacob Javit’s Center in New York City, it was once again, a time for investigation and exploration. What’s new? What’s “hot”?? And of course, to find all the GREAT deals!
This year, we found all three!
Of course, food shows aren’t always fun and games? Exploration and the road to “food discoveries”, are often paved with “spicy land mines” and “greasy gut bombs”. And, in your travels, you may have to “kiss a lot of frogs” before you find a Prince. In other words….bring along the Pepto Bismol, this is gonna be one “funky” picnic.
The Fancy Food Show road begins innocently enough each morning with a cup of hot coffee but it’s soon followed by White Anchovies which taste incredibly fresh, then further down the same aisle it’s Vintage Bitter Sweet Chocolates, then Aged Cheeses, then Olives, Candies, Cocktail Mixes, Hot Pepper Sauces….ouch….only 1 aisle and I still have a half a cup of cold coffee left!
In the end, probably the one most crucial in determining what we bring to Nino’s is the taste. Sometimes, we’ll overlook packaging and the price if we think that the product’s taste is truly outstanding. We’ve even turned down the National Brands? So, before we bring new products into Nino’s, we taste, and we taste, and then taste again. Is this better than that? And whatever the price, is it worth it? That’s in the front of our minds as we walk each aisle. Heck, we’re shoppers too! Just like you. And we want to continue to earn your trust product by product. In the end, I’m thinking about how great it’s going to be to have these products in the store so I can cook with them too!
And of course, when you’re at a food show, the ever accumulating weight of product literature, catalogues, business cards, the occasional samples and your own note pad begin to add to the increasingly difficult burden of navigating through the crowd as it builds in numbers throughout the day into the early evening. But you have to press on, there’s just too much to see, too much you’d like to sample and too little time to do it all.
Ironically, these bi-yearly events take place in 2 of America’s greatest restaurant towns. New York City and San Francisco, and it’s such a shame that there are days when you can barely make room for a world class dinner in a world class dining town, but such is the case when you’re on a food exploration. It’s an ongoing journey without a destination.
So, what did we find this year? Here are just a few of the MANY unique and delicious finds which you’ll be seeing in our stores soon. I can’t wait!
Crepini Brand Crepes…well, we FINALLY found the delicious, all natural French Crepe we’ve been looking for. And a 2010 sofi™ winner! You’re really going to be crazy about these crepes! I love crepes myself, and I make them at home quite often. But I can’t make them any better than these!!
Wind & Willow Brand has a terrific new line of Cheese Ball, Dip and Cheesebake Mixes. All YOU have to do is add a few simple ingredients; such as cream cheese or mayonnaise to each of these mixes to make an outstanding snack. We tasted them and loved them, you will too!
Marcy’s Crouton’s and Stuffing mixes are new! And what interesting flavors! Including a Cranberry Orange Stuffing mix and a Bread Pudding Mix with Raisins!
Like Nutella?? Wait until you try Fundelina! With flavor combinations like Chocolate & Banana, Chocolate and Strawberry and Chocolate & Vanilla. They’re spread able, snack able and VERY yummy!!
Delmonico Steak Sauces… Want to dress your Nino’s Delmonico Steak with the exact steak sauce that rests on the dining tables of the world famous Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City? Now you can!!
Love meatballs but want a simple recipe to make them for yourself at home? With Porta Mangiara Meatball Mixes, all you’ll have to do is to buy a pound of ground beef at Nino’s and follow the simple instructions on this delicious meatball mix. MANGIA!!
And these are just a few of the many new products you’ll see coming to Nino’s soon from our excursion to this year’s Fancy Food Show. Added to these finds, each week, our buyers meet in our stores with our vendors and distributors to review, taste and evaluate dozens and dozens of new products or “line extensions” from companies whose products we know our customers enjoy. Just to be sure we have just what you’re looking for each time you shop at Nino’s.
And, as always, if YOU’RE looking for a product, we invite you to drop us a note in our in-store suggestion box or visit us on line and give us your feed back. We always look forward to hearing from you.