It sounds like fun, but attending the Fancy Food Show is a test of endurance and a real challenge to the palate. It's worth it when you discover something you just can't get out of your mind.
Each January Randy and I take Jet Blue to San Francisco so we can attend the Fancy Food Show--three big convention halls full of suppliers offering chips, dips, hummus, pickles, cheeses, cured meats, patés, frozen appetizers, bratwurst, bacon, cookies, nuts, seeds, craft butters, nut butters, pizzas, pastas, pasta sauces, olives, tapenades, candies and, of course, ice creams.
It sounds like fun, and in many ways it is. But it's also exhausting, physically and mentally. Every time we sample something and it pleases us, we have to ask ourselves whether our wine store gourmet alcove is the right place for it, whether the price is right, and whether any of our customers would buy it.
Most years I get cranky after about four aisles, especially knowing there are about 96 more to go.
It's a sacrifice our bodies are willing to go through for the happiness of our customers!
Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
Going through Randy's old notes, he was thunderstruck at the Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream booth at least a dozen years ago. At that time we didn't have a display freezer for ice cream, and Randy kept telling the Jeni's people as soon as we did, Jeni's ice cream would be our first order. And it was.
Today we order directly from Jeni's headquarters so we can carry a lot more flavors than the big food distributors offer to supermarket chains. These are premium ice creams from organic Ohio milk ($12.99 per pint) in some pretty fun flavors, like Gooey Butter Cake, Brambleberry Crisp, Milkiest Chocolate, Darkest Chocolate, Peppermint Stick White Chocolate, Boozy Eggnog, Churro, Middle West Whiskey and Pecans, Pistachio Honey, Salty Caramel, Savannah Buttermint and more. The taste is balanced and clean, something wine lovers with sweet tooths will readily appreciate.
Most Haunting New Discovery This Year:
One new discovery we can't get out of our minds is a relatively new product made in Portland called "Swiss Rösti." Offered in our freezer department in three flavors, Melty Swiss Raclette, Zesty Chili Cheese and Stuffed Baked Potato, just imagine the flavor of a tater tot stuffed with each of these things piping hot off your cookie sheet. We were blown away. We are in talks with Portland right now to see if they will ship direct to us.
Nueske's Smoked Meats of Wisconsin
We also had a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the great products of Nueske's, with their smoked liver paté, chedder Bratwurst and applewood smoked bacon that is so good we're making any excuse to craft BLTs at home.
Nueske's will be offered at our BACON, BRATWURST & BEAUJOLAIS TASTING on March 7 from 1-4 p.m. $30. Put that down on your calendar today. This tasting will change you.