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Gourmet Cooking

Taste the Maple-Bacon Flavors at Stonewall Kitchen #SFFSF14

By Lorrie Baumann

Stonewall Kitchen is showcasing the flavors of maple and bacon in two new products that will put a stamp of excellence on holiday entertaining events. See them in booth #3914 at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Maple Bacon Onion Jam has the sweetness of maple and onions combined with the savory umami of bacon for a flavorful and versatile product. Put it on the cheese tray during the cocktail hour or use it to glaze the dinnertime ham. There’s even a pizza recipe — just use the jam as the base sauce on the crust and then top with cheese. For a super-easy appetizer, pick up some flatbread at the grocery, spread it with this jam and toast it in the oven. That would be fabulous, and there’s no requirement at all that you tell anyone at all how easy that was to pull off.

DSCN0460[1]The other new maple-bacon product is a Maple Bacon Aioli that’s made with canola oil, real bacon bits and pure maple syrup. Try it as a sandwich spread, especially on a BLT, just use a dollop on grilled meats to add some extra flavor, or you could even use it as a dip for fries or vegetable sticks. After tasting it, I can hardly wait to slather it over some chicken pieces, bake that in the oven and serve it to somebody I love.

Stonewall Kitchen is also introducing a second aioli — this one a Cilantro Lime Aioli. Use this one to top fish tacos of other summertime Mexican dishes. Remember that commercial in which the hamster in the plastic ball points out that the dinnertime tacos aren’t going to eat themselves and then the young woman bounces in anticipation? “Oooh, tacos!” Well, that’s the reaction this Cilantro Lime Aioli would get.

The Maple Bacon Onion Jam retails for $7.95, and the aiolis retail for $7.50 for a 10.25-ounce bottle.

Anthony Anderson Discovers America’s Best Food Festivals On New Food Network Series Food Fest Nation

Anthony Anderson is on a mission to discover the most flavorful food festivals in the country on the new primetime series, “Food Fest Nation,” premiering Monday, July 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network. Tasting everything from classic interpretations of regional fare to surprising twists of favorite foods, Anthony uncovers what is truly at the heart of America – one delicious food festival at a time.

“Viewers got a taste of Anthony Anderson’s true passion for food during his appearances as a judge on ‘Iron Chef America’ and ‘Chopped,’” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. “Anthony’s love of food, quick humor, and engaging way with people make him the perfect guide through the quirky and wonderful world of food festivals.”

Over the course of eight half-hour episodes, Anthony visits the most unique food fairs in the nation, sampling local specialties and meeting the characters devoted to the regional cuisine. Along the way, Anthony visits the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in Fernandina Beach, Fla. and highlights delicious classics such as shrimp tacos, shrimp boil and shrimp jambalaya, as well as innovative shrimp ice cream. In one episode, he attends the Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off inMagnolia, Ark., where more than 4,000 different kinds of mouthwatering ribeye steaks compete to be the best of the best and for a $10,000 prize. Anthony also visits the Long Grove Strawberry Festival, where over 20,000 attendees flock to Long Grove, Ill. for three “berry” special days of enjoying all things strawberry, including Strawberry Ricotta Ravioli and Strawberry Balsamic Chicken. In another episode, he stops by Ribfest Chicago for a world-class rib-eating showdown that draws top competitive eaters from around the globe.  Throughout the season, Anthony also gets a taste of the South Carolina Poultry Festival in Batesberg, S.C., the Jambalaya Festival in Gonzalez, La., the Blue Ridge BBQ Festival in Tyron, N.C., as well as the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival in Wilmington, Del.

Fans can visit FoodNetwork.com/FoodFestNation all season long for additional video, blogs and photo galleries from Anthony’s travels, as well as connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FoodFestNation.

Anthony Anderson is no stranger to the Food Network audience, having competed on “Chopped” and appeared as both a judge and competitor on “Iron Chef America,” making his transition to host of “Food Fest Nation” a natural and delicious progression.  He is an accomplished actor with roles on both the big and small screen, including more than 20 films and the Emmy® Award-winning drama “Law & Order,” playing Detective Kevin Bernard. His performance on that series earned him four consecutive NAACP Image Award nominations for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. Anthony also appeared in the DreamWorks’ blockbuster “Transformers,” directed by Michael Bay; as well as in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar® winning feature, “The Departed.” Anthony can also be seen in the upcoming ABC sitcom, “Black-ish,” this fall, in which he will both star and produce.

Food Fest Nation is produced by Magnetic Productions.

Goddess Gourmet to Exhibit Flavor Bombs at Summer Fancy Food Show

Looking for a little drama at this summer’s Fancy Food Show? It seems you’re likely to find plenty at the Goddess Gourmet booth in the “New Brands On The Shelf Pavilion” on level 1, behind the 3400 aisle, where the company is showing off Flavor Bombs, described as, “an arsenal of ingredients making preparation times shorter, cooking more enjoyable, flavorful and affordable.”

Flavor Bombs are a line of all natural, fresh frozen, gluten free, low sodium cooking bases that ignite a G-force of flavors when preparing memorable meals for family or friends. Flavor Bombs come in five explosive flavors that include Basil, Sage, Rosemary, Mirepoix and Soffritto that turn everyday dishes into gourmet meals. Flavor Bombs are the creation of Giovannina Bellino, a long-time ‘foodie” entrepreneur, mother of three and the owner of Goddess Gourmet, a natural foods manufacturing company located on Long Island, New York.

Flavor Bombs provide consumers with an arsenal of ingredients making preparation times shorter, cooking more enjoyable, flavorful and affordable. Flavor Bombs are concentrated blends of caramelized aromatics and fresh herbs in an extra virgin olive oil base that offers consumers an “EXPLOSION” of flavors and aromas that won’t retreat when preparing their favorite recipes. Flavor Bombs are pre-cooked, so consumers have the flexibility of using them to start or finish a dish.

“We are very excited to be exhibiting Flavor Bombs at the summer Fancy Food Show. We want consumers everywhere to learn how to “drop a bomb” into their pots or pans and be bombarded with the explosive taste of Flavor Bombs,” said Gio Bellino, owner of Flavor Bombs.

The fresh frozen, 2-ounce “Bombs” will create a recipe for up to four people and come in the following five delicious cooking blends:

Basil Flavor Bomb – Recipe ready and no chopping necessary. This Flavor Bomb is the perfect complement to an array of dishes from sauces and soups to meatballs and meatloaf.

Sage Flavor Bomb – Recipe ready and no chopping necessary. This Flavor Bomb is perfect for those fall and winter months stews, soups and stuffing’s. Excellent with poultry, pork, veal and a true enhancer for roasted potatoes and vegetables.

Rosemary Flavor Bomb – Recipe ready and no chopping necessary. This Flavor Bomb packs a powerful punch of pungent flavor and aroma that takes fish, chicken or lamb into the next stratosphere. Try it on roasted potatoes or vegetables.

Mirepoix Flavor Bomb – Recipe ready and no chopping necessary. This Flavor Bomb is a kaleidoscope of flavors and aroma that is a perfect mix for rice, orzo pasta, quinoa or any kind of grain in making a memorable side dish. Try it in tuna, chicken or egg salad and on vegetables. We guarantee your side dishes will never taste the same.

Soffritto Flavor Bomb – Recipe ready and no chopping necessary. This Flavor Bomb is so versatile and delicious it can be used in sauces and soups, in quiche, omelets, frittatas or stir fry. You can even use it as a Panini spread or a topping for bruschetta and it’s the authentic base for Marinara sauce.

“Flavor Bombs really hit their target at last year’s Natural Products Expo East Show in Baltimore,” said Gio Bellino, “That’s why we are taking direct aim at this summer’s Fancy Food Show to further introduce a larger audience of food industry professionals to the unique potential of Flavor Bombs.

 

 

Economic Well-Being Propels Interest in Spicy Cuisines

 

 

By Lorrie Baumann

As the world’s economy emerges from economic recession, American foodies are ready to launch out from the safe harbor of Italo-American and traditional American comfort food for deeper culinary waters, and all the indications are that this is going to be a spicy voyage. Demand for seasoning and spice is increasing due to the increasing demand for new flavors and flavor ingredients, growing popularity of ethnic cuisines and increasing health awareness among consumers, according to a 2013 report from Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence company.

This is part of a global phenomenon, according to both Transparency Market Research and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which released a report in 2011 on growing opportunities for small farmers in developing nations to participate in the global spice trade. India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of seasonings and spices, and growth in the Asia-Pacific spice trade is riding on the developing spice markets in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, which have traditionally been net exporters of spices.

FlavorTrends-CS“What’s really changed in the spice business in the past couple of years, Spice 2.0, is that 300 million Indians and 400 million Chinese have entered the middle class and want to eat the food of their cultures. American spice prices have gone through the roof as the Chinese and Indians buy more spice,” said Tim Ziegler, Spice Master for Italco Food Products, Inc. a specialty food distributor in Colorado and the co-author of “Spices and Culinary Herbs” by Tim Ziegler and Brian Keating, a poster presentation designed to aid chefs in creating flavors by pairing spices and herbs from the same culinary family. “India is now a net black pepper importer. It is the most staggering development in the spice business in the past 25 years.”

Spices can be defined as vegetable products used for flavoring, seasoning and importing aroma in foods. Herbs are leafy spices, and some plants, such as dill and coriander, provide both spice seeds and leafy herbs. Around 50 spice and herb plants are of global trade importance, but many other spices and herbs are used in local traditional cooking. There is also an overlap between spices and herbs and plants normally classified as vegetables, as for example some mushrooms that are used as spices in China and Pakistan. Paprika is widely grown by small-scale farmers in Africa, while chiles are widely grown in Central America, Asia and Africa. Cloves are grown in low-lying tropical areas including Indonesia, Madagascar and Zanzibar.

Trade is dominated by dried products. In recent years, fresh herbs have become more popular, and spice- and herb-derived essential oils and oleoresins are sold in large and growing markets.

Pepper, the world’s most most important world spice crop, is grown in areas of South America, Africa and India and some Pacific Ocean countries that have high rainfall and low elevations. Lemongrass is another important herb, and it’s grown widely in the tropics. The leaf is used dried in teas, and the stems are used fresh and dried in Asian cookery. Growing interest in organic food and beverages is also catching up with the market as large amounts of certified organic spices have been introduced to the market over the past few years, according to Transparency Market Research.

This trend is already having its effect in home and restaurant kitchens across the U.S. “If the melting pot is true anywhere in America, it’s true in the kitchen,” Ziegler said. “American cuisine is not roast beef and mashed potatoes and asparagus spears any more.”

Ziegler says that Americans are growing more interested in the flavor profiles that originated in Middle Eastern and southwest Asian cuisines. “I’m a history major and I’m a chef. I sell spices on a daily basis, and increasingly the flavor profiles that even the young chefs are asking me for are increasingly southwest Asian,” he said. “I believe that 3-1/2 million to 5-1/2 million Americans have traveled or lived extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrein and the Middle East, and those flavor profiles have come back to the United States, and I think that’s going to be a burgeoning trend.”

New Dehli-born Chef Suvir Saran, Executive Chef at Devi in New York City and Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America, says that he sees Americans’ growing interest in spices as an indication that Americans are becoming more mindful about how they cook and eat. “My feeling is that we’ve been a nation that’s reactionary and loves fads and diets and trends. With the economic recession ending, people have become less reactionary, and they’re becoming more mindful,” he said. “Taking Mediterranean or whatever comfort food we were already doing and adding more herbs and flavors and spices will be a way that we can cook and eat more mindfully and also save money in the end. Spices and flavoring ingredients are cheap. They’re wallet-friendly and last a lifetime. They give you great joy and great flavor without spending too much…. As there is more availability for aromatics and spices, we can incorporate these into what we already know and create more breadth and depth in our repertoire.”

Chef Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner of Perbacco restaurant in San Francisco, agrees. “I don’t think food ever gets boring. I never think flavors go out of style. I think that people find new things and discover new things for themselves, whether they’re eating or cooking, but I never think that basil and tomato is going to be boring,” he said. “Chefs are exploring other spices and herbs and flavors that might not be familiar to people. Spices had a place that’s been pretty constant for a long time in different foods, but I see that people are exploring things in the spice realm itself. It’s not so much about the heat of spiciness but about different flavor combinations. You’ll see things like cloves and allspice sneaking their way in.”

“I look at how I flavor my own dishes, cooking northern Italian food, and I look at history. Italians were part of the early spice market and adapted things that came from the East and from the New World,” he continued. “You start looking at old European recipes, and you’ll find some very interesting things – the use of cinnamon, the use of ginger – things that came from the Middle East. It’s not just about chile peppers.”

Chef Hosea Rosenberg, owner of Blackbelly Catering in Boulder, Colo. and winner of the fifth season of “Top Chef,” says he’s hearing a lot from his fellow chefs about their interest in the cuisines of Morocco and Latin America. “Everyone’s familiar with Americanized Mexican, but there are so many regional cuisines in Mexico that have not been highlighted, such as Oaxacan,” he said. “I see a few chefs that are starting to get a lot more press attention that are either from Morocco or have Moroccan heritage. It’s an amazing cuisine, and I don’t think there’s enough attention to it as of yet.”

He is exploring both of these cuisines in his own cooking, especially the tagines characteristic of Moroccan cuisine. “I just love the slow cooking, especially in the wintertime. Slow braises of meat. I have a farm and we raise our own lamb, and I’m always looking for creative ways to cook and serve lamb,” he said. “This type of cuisine really lends itself into turning a cheaper cut, if you will, into a remarkable centerpiece-type dish.”

“Now that it’s so easy to access all these spices, I see people really taking regional American cuisine and applying global spices to them as well to enhance those dishes,” said Chef Matt Greco, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in California. “People are using spices that, not long ago, no one had ever heard of.”

“You’re definitely seeing a lot of that cross between American, especially southern American, with Asian flavors,” he continued. “I definitely see a lot more fermented products. Korea uses so many fermented products in their food. I definitely see those types of influences applied to American cuisine. The past five years have seen a rebirth of southern American food, and that whole movement is going to other areas of the United States that have their own food cultures.”

 

“Spices and Culinary Herbs” poster by Tim Ziegler and Brian Keating is available at http://www.chefzieg.com/ or http://www.mondofood.com/spiceposter.html.

 

Emmi Roth Announces Grand Cru Recipe Contest Winners

Emmi Roth USA, an award-winning producer of specialty cheeses, has announced the winner of its Grand Cru® Recipe Contest for Postsecondary Culinary Students. Caroline Ausman of Burlington, Wis., took top honors with her recipe for Manicotti en Croûte with Brandied Fig Sauce.

The contest, presented in conjunction with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), challenged postsecondary culinary students to create a flavorful and creative pasta recipe highlighting Roth Grand Cru, a washed rind Alpine-style cheese crafted in Wisconsin.

Ausman is currently enrolled as a student at the Art Institute of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry. She attributes her culinary and pastry passion to working alongside her mother in the family kitchen while growing up.

“I truly feel at home in the kitchen, working with my hands and creating from scratch. This contest was an amazing opportunity for me to showcase what I love doing,” said Ausman. “Although developing the recipe was a tremendous, and sometimes challenging, process, I really learned a lot!”

The panel of Emmi Roth USA contest judges were impressed with the flavor and versatility of the recipe, remarking that the application “takes pasta in a whole new direction” and could be served as an appetizer or a savory dessert.

“We received so many fantastic recipes and were inspired by the passion and creativity shown by all of the entrants. Ms. Ausman’s recipe impressed us for its flavor, sophistication and elegance,” said Regi Hise, Director of Culinary Development at Emmi Roth USA. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to feature our cheeses in culinary applications, and manicotti wrapped in phyllo is a creative and delicious concept. The sweet flavors of the brandied fig sauce balance wonderfully with the savory Grand Cru manicotti filling, and the phyllo adds great texture – the recipe was a clear winner.”

Ausman’s first place finish, out of more than 35 entries from across the country, earned her $2,000 and registration and lodging accommodations at the upcoming National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, May 17-20, in Chicago. Ausman’s winning recipe will be served at the Emmi Roth USA Cheese 4 Chefs table during the NRA Show.

The winning recipe and photo are available on the Emmi Roth Foodservice website. For additional information about Ausman’s culinary pursuits, visit her blog.

Supermarket Chefs Compete in Annual Showdown

More than 130 supermarket chefs, representing a record 30 different retailers, submitted recipes for the annual Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Supermarket Chef Showdown before the November deadline and now await their selection among the semi-finalists on April 15.

The chef’s recipes varied across five established categories that include: Healthy Meals; Family Meals; Ethnic Meals; Dessert; and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. The recipes must use at least three eligible ingredients and take 20 minutes or less to prepare (not including prep). Collectively, the recipe submissions employed more than 740 sponsor ingredients.

A panel will review the entries and the recipes from 50 finalists will be sent to McCormick and Campbell’s test kitchens this March to further narrow the submissions. The top-25 finalists will compete live in front of celebrity judges in a special kitchen stadium created on the convention floor at FMI Connect on June 11, 2014 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“Each day, retailers prepare exciting signature mealtime solutions that not only delight their customers’ taste buds but also provide shoppers with practical demonstrations of kitchen artistry guaranteed to encourage emulation,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “The FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown helps acknowledge those who inspire the culinary spirit in all of us.”

“The creativity and quality of the recipes surpassed last year and we expect this Showdown to be fun, yet competitive,” says Phil Lempert, a food trends and consumer expert and the Showdown Executive Producer and Master of Ceremony. “Supermarket Chefs are the unsung heroes in grocery stores and it’s their moment to shine.”

Prizes this year include an all-expense paid trip for two to Mardi Gras 2015; an all-expense paid trip to California to participate in the olive harvest; a “Chicago experience;” an all- expense-paid trip to the Country Music Awards in Nashville; cash prizes; food-centric prizes; bragging rights and more. The top-25 finalists will also receive culinary gifts from Showdown sponsors shipped directly to their homes.

Sponsors for this years’ Showdown include the world’s leading companies: McCormick, Campbell’s, Can Manufacturers Institute, ConAgra Foods, Hass Avocado Board, Hershey’s, Hillshire Brands, Mondelez International, Musco Family Olive Co., Pictsweet and Smucker’s.

FoodChannel.com Announces Its 2014 Top Ten Dessert Trends

The Food Channel® (foodchannel.com) has released its “Top Ten Dessert Trends for 2014,” sponsored by Otis Spunkmeyer®. The popular report looks at market trends around sweets and treats. Based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves®, the list identifies the significant behaviors of consumers, foodservice professionals and manufacturers, with original recipes and photographs to illustrate each trend.

The Food Channel Top 10 Dessert Trends for 2014:
Spoon Desserts – Puddings and other soft desserts—called “spoonables”—are big.
Layers – We are layering just about anything.
Hand Pies – The mini dessert has finally extended itself to the pie.
Midwestern Influence – One of the big trends for 2014 is Midwestern foods, and when it comes to desserts that means cobblers, pies, crisps, tarts, upside down cakes, and bar cookies.
Mashups and Muffins – Muffins are the new doughnuts, or what some are calling the duffin.
Pepper, Flavored Salts, and International Spices – New desserts on the menu are heavy on the stronger spices. Cracked pepper is particularly on the rise.
Dessert Butters – These are actually ground up cookies turned into a soft filling that is perfect for rolling into a truffle or adding to a sandwich cookie.
Crepes – People are looking to add adventure to their repertoire, and crepes fit the bill.
Nuts – Nuts are big in desserts right now, particularly as we tally up the health benefits.
Small Batch Desserts – We don’t have to make enough dessert to feed an army to be satisfied; we’ve discovered it’s okay to just make a little.

To view the complete Top Ten Dessert Trends story as well as the recently released Top 10 Valentine’s Dessert article, visit www.foodchannel.com.

Cheesemonger Offers “Perfect Bite” at San Francisco Cheesemonger Invitational

The “Perfect Bite” at the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) at Public Works in San Francisco on January 19 was an unlikely, but delicious combination of flavors and texture that just worked.

Perpetual Goatstopper close upThe Perpetual Goatstopper” was the creation of Cheesemonger Perry Soulos of Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Va., who paired award-winning chèvre from Redwood Hill Farm with grapes, candied ginger and Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles™ breakfast cereal to create his unique, eye-catchingly delicious perfect bite. Soulos was awarded $1,000, immeasurable glory and an all expenses paid trip to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this summer along with top two finalists Zach Berg of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and Nate McElroy of Bedford Cheese Shop in New York.

Perry Soulos CMI headshot“I really wanted to do something different and fun with my perfect bite,” said Soulos. “When we first received the list of cheeses to choose from, I went right for Redwood Hill Farms’ Traditional Plain Chèvre. I knew the product very well from my years behind the cheese counter and thought it would be the perfect choice for a California-inspired cheese bite. Its decadent and rich flavor and clean lemony tang make it very versatile in the kitchen.”  

Redwood Hill Farm Owner Jennifer Bice, said: “We were thrilled to be one of the hometown hosts of the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational. It was wonderful to see how Perry used our fresh chèvre in such a surprisingly delicious way.”

Redwood Hill Farm’s cheeses were featured throughout the competition. Competing mongers enjoyed a vertical tasting of Camellia, Redwood Hill Farm’s Camembert–style cheese at various ages, from three days to eight weeks. It was also served as a delicious dessert course sandwich topped with berry preserves created by Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy of Oakland, Calif. Cheesemonger Max Frederick from The Cellar Cheese Shop in Costa Mesa, featured Redwood Hill’s Raw Milk Feta in his Greek-inspired spoon sweet. 

More than 30 of the best cheesemongers – the folks who sling cheese for a living – competed in an intense day-long series of cheese challenges. Participants from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boulder, San Diego, Florida and even Toronto, Canada were put through a series of tests. From blind cheese tastings and a grueling written exam to sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cutting, the day-long event challenged the mongers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, as evidenced in their Perfect Bite. Following the private daytime competition was an evening party attended by 800 members of the cheese-loving public. 

Attendees were treated to “perfect bite” pairings created by each competing cheesemonger along with award-winning cheeses from CMI hosts: Bay Area cheese pioneers Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery, international importer Columbia Cheese and East Coast luminary Vermont Creamery; four custom grilled cheese sandwiches created just for CMI by The Grilled Cheez Guy; plus fondue, raclette and thousands of pounds of cheese. As esteemed panel of judges, including San Francisco Chronicle Cheese Columnist Janet Fletcher, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine Publisher/Editorial Director Lee Smith and American Cheese Society Board Member and DiBruno Bros. Owner Emilio Mignucci, rated competing mongers based on portioning, presentation, taste, aesthetics, creativity and whether or not the pairing created the elusive third flavor of the blended components.

According to Liz Thorpe, CMI Event Producer and Author of The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table, “San Francisco really caught the ‘cheese for life’ spirit of what the Cheesemonger Invitational is all about: celebrating the passion and challenging the skills of this dedicated tribe of cheese lovers. We’re excited to bring CMI back to the city next year for more mongering competitions, world-class cheese tastings, late night dancing and more.”

Adds Soulos: “It’s thrilling to be named the CMI 2014 champion of cheese after competing in the 2012 and 2011 events in New York City and feeling both times that I could have done better. This time I brought my A-game, spending countless nights reading and studying the craft as mental preparation, and several days designing my perfect bite. The hard work paid off.”

Top 2014 Specialty Food Trends Unveiled at Winter Fancy Food Show

The specialty food industry is once again leading the charge in new trends and flavors, all on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show. A panel of trendspotters named chocolate teas, seaweed chips, and truffle ketchup as just a few of the products that were all part of a larger trend towards thoughtful indulgence.

Sriracha, the fiery Thai chili sauce, was one of the biggest flavor trends – showing up in snacks, chocolates and jams. Mint has made a comeback as a popular flavor in a number of treats, reflecting a turn towards the revival of simple, familiar tastes. Snacks have evolved well past the common potato chip as the specialty food industry continues to seek out and deliver exciting flavors and unexpected ingredients for more mindful snacking choices. In a similar move towards healthful consumption, consumers can also look forward to more low-sugar beverages – a surprising twist given the trend in recent years towards alternative sweeteners.

“These trends capture the creativity of specialty food producers, and the care they put into crafting exciting taste experiences, whether they are reinventing familiar products with unexpected flavors or opening an audience to lesser-known ingredients,” said Denise Purcell, Senior Director of Content for the Specialty Food Association, and one of this year’s trendspotters.

The trends were identified from a careful review of more than 1,350 specialty food producers who took part in the 39th Winter Fancy Food Show held at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Exhibitors showed off the latest in artisanal cheeses, chocolates, vinegars, sauces, healthful foods, and more. This year’s panel of trendspotters, comprised of top food media and personalities, carefully explored the show’s thousands of products to determine the most promising trends of the coming year for this $86 billion industry. Here are the trends:

Sriracha’s Homecoming

  • The Jam Stand, Not Just Peachy, Sriracha Jam
  • Hope Foods, Hope Hummus Organic Sriracha Hummus
  • Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Simply Spicy Sriracha Tortilla Chips
  • The Popcorn Factory, Lite Works Popcorn! Sriracha

 Crunch Time

  • Vintage Italia, Pasta Chips, New Brands on the Shelf
  • Simply 7, Quinoa Chips
  • Simply Sprouted Way Better Snacks, Pitaaah Chips
  • 479˚ Popcorn, Toasted Sesame + Seaweed Popcorn
  • Rhythm Superfoods, Super Food Chips

Low-Sugar Beverages

  • Califia Farms, Pure Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Xumma, Xumma Semi Sweet Cola, New Brands on the Shelf
  • Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale “66”
  • Numi Organic Tea, Indulgent Tea, Chocolate Earl Grey
  • Big Tree Farms, Coco Hydro

Mint

  • Torn Ranch, Dark Chocolate Mint Mélange
  • Silk Road Soda, Cucumber with Mint, New Brands on the Shelf
  • GoodPop All-Natural Frozen Pops, Hibiscus Mint
  • Seely Mint, Mint Patties
  • Victoria’s Kitchen, Mint & Licorice Almond Water

Condiments Dressed Up

  • Victoria Amory, Fine Herbs Mayonnaise
  • Stonewall Kitchen, Truffle Ketchup
  • Fischer & Wieser, Salted Caramel Mustard Sauce
  • Amoretti, Premium Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with Kalamata Olives
  • Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs, Ivory

In addition to Denise Purcell, this year’s panel of trendspotters included Ashley Koff, RD, founder of The AKA List; Nancy Hopkins, Better Homes and Gardens; Kara Nielsen, food and beverage consumer strategist; Joanne Weir, host of PBS’s “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence”; and Jerry James Stone, blogger at Cooking Stoned.

The Specialty Food Association will be hosting a Foodie Chat with some of the trendspotters on January 27 from 8-9:30 PM EST that can be followed along via the #foodiechats hashtag.