Article By Jazmin Justo
The Jacob Javits Center of NYC held a three day Summer Fancy Food Show 2015. From June 28th to June 30th, attendees explored a plethora of flavors at all three floors while learning about different countries specialty dishes. The Specialty Food is one of the largest specialty food trade shows in the nation. With over 180,000 products featured and 2,500 exhibitors, it is the number one place for retailers, chefs, food enthusiasts and vendors to find the newest products in the international food market.
At the food show, Specialty Food hosts its annual sofi Award ceremony, granting the award to the most outstanding specialty foods. A panel of specialty food retailers, foodservice professionals, and journalists selects winners. In the exhibition tables, we met one of the winners of the sofi Award winners from last year, Mr. Dave Hirschkop, the creative founder of Dave’s Gourmet. He started his company when he discovered his talent to create spicy fiery sauces when thousands of customers would visit his workplace for the hot sauce and was inducted to the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame. Since then, he decided to use his talent for savory sauces and create organic pasta sauce with authentic flavor. His sauces don’t use artificial coloring or flavors but organically grown vegetables. He seasons the puree with spices to create a fresh and nutritious sauce that enhances the nutritional value of the meal. Depending on the vegetable, Dave’s Gourmet provides a different kind of sauce flavor and texture to suit everyone’s taste buds. His personal favorite is the 2014 sofi award winner butternut squash. It is light, smooth, creamy and has a beautiful shade of orange. His dedication to creating flavorful sauces has made him a seventeenth time winner of the sofi Award since 1994.
This year’s theme was healthy eating and organic products such as the Hua Qing Quinoa. Hua Qing is a Chinese company from Shanxi Province. The company is well known for growing organic millet, quinoa, black and green organic grains. In recent years, he company’s quinoa has won the award of the best selling product in the 3rd China agricultural expo and gained popularity in the 16th China International Food and Beverage Exhibition. The company’s goal is to be able to promote the consumption of organic nutritious grains to the world with their diligent research, processing, and development sales of the green products. Quinoa is rich in quality protein, amino acids, and minerals, without any gluten and cholesterol, and a kind of alkaline food with low fat, sugar, and calorie. Quinoa has been deemed as a “super grain” and is known for preventing obesity, diabetes, and cardio-cerebrovascular disease with its low sugar, no cholesterol and low fat. It also makes a nutritious supplement for young children and athletes.
Another nutritional grain in exhibition was from the Well Luck Co. Although everyone is familiar with white and brown rice, Well Luck Co. displayed an assortment of rice varieties that exist and the nutritional value of each kind of grain. Well Luck Co. is a distributor of name brand products from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, China and other Asian countries. At the exhibition, they displayed jasmine rice, bamboo rice, sweet rice, red rice, brown rice and the long, medium, short grain white rice. Black rice despite its color is high in anthocyanins that helps the body monitor its cholesterol levels and prevents plaque buildup in the arteries. Red rice is also high in anthocyanins but it’s generally unhulled so its thick husk gives it the red color. Both taste a bit nutty and are similar to the white rice. Jasmine rice is grown primarily in Laos, Cambodia and southern Vietnam. The rice is moist and soft in texture with a sweet aroma. Bamboo rice is short-grained white rice that has been treated with bamboo juice during the milling process, making it high in vitamin B and a taste like jasmine green tea. Well Luck Co. also specializes in distributing beans and nut varieties.
For noodles, Thai Rice Product Co. gave samples of their all-organic Thai Rice Noodles with their original ginger sauce. Naturally, gluten free, fat free with no artificial coloring or flavor, rice noodles are a healthy alternative to the most commonly known pasta made from wheat. The company sells an assortment of rice noodles black jasmine rice noodle, red jasmine rice noodle, chili rice noodle, mulberry leaf rice noodle, and in different thicknesses. Straight rice stick, rice flake, row rice stick, and rice vermicelli. Depending on the rice noodle variety, it can be cooked in soup, salads, sauces, and fried meals without losing the nutritional benefit.
For desert, there is a new healthy lactose free alternative for ice cream lovers. DF Maven’s is a New York frozen desert company that makes organic original artisan ice cream. All of its ice cream flavors contains all natural ingredients and are made using soymilk, coconut milk, or almond milk. I personally tasted the alphonso mango that was made using organic mangos and coconut milk. It’s soft, creamy, sweet and you can taste the actual fruit. DF Mavens ice cream is recommended for people with lactose intolerance, vegetarians, or people who love healthy nutritious deserts. Their store is located in 37 St. Marks Place in New York City. They also have a website for online orders.
Vermont: Smoke and Cure is a Vermont company bringing 50 years of organic smoked meat from the western states. Their meats have no added hormones, no antibiotic, no nitrite or nitrates and are only fed with vegetarian feeds. Their new product Uncured Hot Dogs with Bacon combines the all classic hot dog sausage with the savory taste of bacon. It’s soft and crunchy with a sweet tinge of maple from the smoked bacon. They also gave samples of their Real Sticks made from beef, pork or turkey jerky in a variety of smoked flavors; cracked pepper, honey mustard, chipotle, uncured pepperoni and ancho stick. I tasted the uncured pepperoni and it indeed taste like the classic pepperoni, soft with a tinge of spiciness.
Chinese Southern Belle is a Georgian company bringing the best from the East, West, and Deep South. Chinese Southern Belle creates handcrafted sauces from all natural ingredients with no MSG, high fructose corn syrup. Chinese Southern Belle is no ordinary company, founded by Harvard graduate Natalie Keng and her mother, the duo work with local Georgian farms to use local Georgian sweet peaches, Georgian Vidalia Sweet Onion, ginger, chili and honey to produce their trio of savory sauces including My Sweet Hottie, a Flavor of Georgia winner.
For a refreshment there was fresh coconut milk from Thailand. Produced in mango, banana, durian, strawberry banana, coffee, chocolate, and green melon flavors, the Thai Coco makes it its mission to deliver its customers the best of the versatile coconut milk. Thai Coco also produces coconut juice and water with or without pulp for either preference. They also
make organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil and coconut cream. Plus a coconut roasted bar to enjoy with a sweet coconut drink. I personally tasted the green melon coconut milk. It’s sweet, creamy with no bitter aftertaste. All of its products are made with no trans fat, no cholesterol, no preservatives, no soy or dairy, and is an excellent rehydration source to beat the summer heat.
For cooking needs and beauty care, RISH produces all organic virgin coconut products. The summertime as we all know is a time to relax at the beach and skincare becomes very important to combat the UV rays. Organic creamed coconut and virgin coconut oil can help keep the skin moisturized and smooth while giving the skin the essential vitamins it needs to repair from skin damage. With no added chemicals or preservatives, RISH is a Sri Lankan company that produces all natural products and lets the coconut do its natural wonders. The coconut oil can also be used for cooking and the organic coconut milk can be used to make refreshing milkshakes or sauces. Hence the versatile nature of the coconut.
Another refreshing drink is fresh mango juice from Frutos de Vida: Mexican Goodness. The company uses cactus juice from Bajio region in Mexico, guava juice from Campeche, ripe mangoes from Sinaloa with a mix of organic berries and vegetables to produce a unique blend of all natural Mexican juices. It is not only sweet and refreshing but it is also a high source of vitamin C, magnesium, fiber and amino acids making it an excellent nutritious source for everybody.
The expo was exhilarating full of a variety of flavors from all over the world. Apart from all the delicious samples, I’ve met interesting people and learned the versatile nature of cuisines in the culinary world.