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Foods to Strike Everyone's Fancy

It was an offer that I chose to refuse.

I only had one day to spend at this year’s 57th Summer Fancy Food Show, which was held earlier this week in Washington, D.C., and the organizers estimated that I could try about 180,000 products “including the latest in single-origin chocolate, artisanal cheese, olive oil, salsas, snacks, teas and spice blends.” And don’t forget the wines, beers and boozes.

I chose to be picky.

Of course, as I am a writer, not a buyer, I wasn’t faced with the challenges of trying to spot those special products that would fly off the shelves and into my customers’ shopping baskets or those that would spice up my bone-tired restaurant menu.

But what I could do was browse and graze for a few hours and say hello to a few acquaintances. The rules stipulate that no samples were to leave the convention floor, which was a good idea as most things were laid out already opened and in small portions that could be slurped, sipped or chewed.

After walked up and down aisles for a couple of hours, I agreed with the organizers – the National Association for the Specialty Foods Trade – that there was enough cheeses, chocolates and salsas to feed a nation’s snacking habits for decades.

Fortunately, NASFT had a panel to look through those 180,000 offerings (at least on paper) and come up with these five specialty food product trends:

Booze-Infused Foods

- Chili Lime Tequila Tortilla Brittle, Anette’s Chocolates
- Happy Goat Scotch Caramel Sauce, Happy Goat Caramels
- Roasted Peach Whiskey Sauce, Stonewall Kitchen

Give-It-a-Try Kits

- Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden, Back to the Roots
- Mozzarella Cheese Making Kit, Roaring Brook Dairy
- Warm Belgian Chocolate Soufflé Kit, My Cup of Cake

Popped Foods

- Black Truffle & White Cheddar Popcorn, 479 Degrees Popcorn
- Bourbon Infused All Natural Popcorn, Metropolitan Bakery
- Air-Popped Sorghum Grain, Mini Pops

Japanese-Inspired Eats

- Yuzu Gummy Pandas, Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier
- Tonton Hibachi Japanese Steak and Barbecue Sauce with Sake, Argo Century, Inc.
- Matcha and Sencha Teas, Rishi Tea


- Bada Bing Cherries, Tillen Farms
- Spiced Sour Cherry Spread, The Gracious Gourmet
- CocoNova Cherry Cacao, Honest Tea

In case you want to search for your own trends next time, the Winter Fancy Food Show is January 12-17, 1212 in San Francisco.

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