Fancy Food Show-Looking Back
by Amy Greenuser rating
It’s been almost a week since I hopped a 747 from New York to Dallas, but there hasn’t been a single day that I have not thought back on my experience at the Fancy Food Show.
If I was forced to pick only one food I could try again, it would have to be the Mint Chip Ice Cream from The Raw Ice Cream Company. Not that I haven’t craved Bora Bora’s Organic nutrient-packed bars or a cup of Good Morning, Morning Glory. I’ve been up and down the aisles of my local grocery stores hunting for all of the unique products I tasted.
But the Mint Chip was uber creamy, had just enough mint, and the slight bitterness of the raw cacao nibs offset the sweetness perfectly.
It’s hard to discern what touched me more – the food or the person who created the food.
I watched Mark (pictured above), the creator and owner of The Raw Ice Cream Company, interact with each person that came to his booth. He took great care to answer each and every question and shared his product with complete generosity. When people came back for thirds, fourths, and fifths, he just smiled and kept handing out his product.
The Fancy Food Show Summed Up
That’s really what the show is all about. The show is so big that three full days would still leave you wanting just a few more hours to taste and explore. Yet, there was a sense of intimacy that hung in the air. The food was a way for two strangers to connect, a way for a dialogue to begin to flow. Whether they were talking about coffee, chocolate or tortilla chips didn’t seem to matter.
It didn’t stop with vendors and buyers, though. At the core of it all is the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT). I firmly believe this outstanding organization has set an unprecedented example about valuing specialty food and the people who make it.
NASFT puts on the sofi Awards, which stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation. Nearly 2,000 different food products were submitted for consideration. The NASFT team narrowed that down to about 120 products in 33 categories. On awards night, Monday June 28th, a winner from each category was announced. (See the Gold Award Winners gallery by Clicking Here or browse all of the Silver Finalists by Clicking Here.
This is no run of the mill event. Much like the Oscars for food, there’s a red carpet, spot lights, music, and yes, gold statues for all the winners. Here, even if just for one night, NASFT treats the dedicated souls behind specialty food like celebrities.
The labor that goes into this one and a half hour event is mind boggling but it’s time well spent. The impact of these awards on the industry is massive. Past sofi nominees and winners proudly display their trophies at their booths, a way for them to tell everyone who passes that their food is outstanding without ever having to utter a word.
It’s really no surprise that the Fancy Food Show is one of a kind, that it’s the favorite of nearly everyone in the industry, and that you can’t walk away without developing a deep connection with at least a handful of products and vendors.
This won’t be my last Fancy Food Show. January 2011 is already on my calendar. For me, this was just a small taste of great specialty food, incredible people and the NASFT, the glue that holds it all together.
And, of course, when I taste something good I can’t help but want more.
Amy Green, a culinary arts student, authors Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free where she shares her passion for making food simple and healthy. Amy’s food choices have helped her maintain a 60+ pound weight loss and loves to show that others that eating healthier doesn’t equal deprivation.