The Summer Fancy Food Show – Definitely Hot!
by Lisbeth Echeandia
And we’re not talking about the weather here. It was hot in New York in July — to be expected, of course — but most of the heat inside the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City was being generated by the great products, innovative exhibitors and entrepreneurs and visitors in buying mode. With more than 2,000 exhibitors from 72 countries, there was a lot to excite and interest the palate and the eye. An estimated 25,000 visitors filled the aisles at the 53rd Summer Fancy Food Show, which was the biggest yet. Every show has a ‘mood,’ and this one was high-energy and upbeat. According to the NASFT statistics, nearly 90 percent of people walking the show floor are leading decision-makers in their companies.
In tune with the times, there was the new Natural & Organic Pavilion which attracted a lot of attention and interest and clearly indicated the importance of this segment to the food industry as a whole.
Confectionery was front and center with so many offerings of delicious products it was hard to sample everything — although I did my best! From Kookaburra Liquorice from Australia and seriously gourmet chocolates from CFC Chocolatier based in Tulsa, Okla., with their unique, cutting-edge flavors like blood orange and honey and red wine ganache, to major manufacturers like Jelly Belly and Ghirardelli — there was something for everyone.
It was fun to spend time with familiar companies like Charles Chocolates, Wolfgang Candies, Theo Chocolate and Dagoba (see photo below with Frederick Schilling administering the new Cacao Elixir to a willing visitor).
There was chocolate, chocolate everywhere, and congratulations go to Theo Chocolate for being awarded the gold statuette for Outstanding Chocolate and to Fran’s Chocolates for their recognition for Outstanding Hot Beverage — chocolate, of course! Non-chocolates were also widely represented, and the difference here is that many are made in nontraditional flavors such as green tea or passion fruit, adding artisanal brilliance to even simple confections. That is what the show is all about.