POPSUGAR Food

The Best of the Best From the Winter Fancy Food Show

Jan 25 2014 - 11:06am

After spending two mind-boggling days at the Winter Fancy Food Show [1], it's time to dole out our best of awards. Keep reading to learn what chocolates, cheeses, teas, condiments, and more won out over all others.

— Additional reporting by Anna Monette Roberts

Photos: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Salty Snack: Michael Season's Unsalted Boldness Asian Bar-B-Que Potato Chips

Unsalted usually means flavorless, but these Michael Season's Unsalted Boldness Asian Bar-B-Que Potato Chips [2] manage to pack plenty of sweet, umami flavor in every thin, crispy bite due to one key, secret ingredient: soy sauce.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Salty Snack (Runner-Up): Halfpops Aged White Cheddar

Take the crispiness of a chip, the buttery flavor of popcorn, and the cheesiness of Cheetos, and you have Halfpops Aged White Cheddar [3] ($24-$48), a half-popped popcorn coated in a cheddar dust. However, less is more. A small scoop of these dense kernels will fill you up quicker than several handfuls of fluffy, fully popped popcorn.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Chocolate: Clairesquares Caramelized Oat Bar

Imagine combining buttery granola clusters and dark chocolate. That's what Clairesquares Caramelized Oat Bar [4] ($8) does. Now imagine snapping a few squares into your morning yogurt . . . we're not judging.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Chocolate (Runner-Up): Vosges Super Dark Matcha Green Tea

Vosges Super Dark Matcha Green Tea and Spirulina [5] ($8) packs two superfoods into a 72 percent dark chocolate bar. The bar has a grassy aftertaste (in a good way) from the matcha and spirulina and makes you think you're doing your body good.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Seasoning: Flav{o}ur 21 Umami Rush

From the makers of umami paste comes Flavo{u}r 21 Umami Rush [6], a dry seasoning full of umami-filled Mediterranean ingredients like lemon peels, garlic, balsamic vinegar, anchovies, Porcini mushrooms, and tomatoes. Also notable, the brand came out with a Japanese-inspired Umami Pepper with seaweed and sesame seeds.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Sweet Snack: Thinkfruit Cinnamon Apple Slices

We nearly wept when our local Whole Foods stopped stocking its chewy cinnamon-sugar-coated dried apple slices. But now we can rest easy, as we've found a similar product to fill its void: Thinkfruit Cinnamon Apple Slices [7].

Photo: Nicole Perry

Best Sweet Snack (Runner-Up): Stoneridge Orchards Chili Lime Cherries

Taking a cue from Mexican frutas con chile y limón [8], Stoneridge Orchards Chili Lime Cherries [9] coat extra-juicy dried tart cherries in a zesty combo of chili, lime, and sea salt.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Best Condiment: Maruso Ghost Soy

Maruso Ghost Soy [10] ($8) is unlike any soy sauce we've ever tasted. Not only is it a thicker, glaze-ready texture (thanks to the thickening powers of rice and reduction), but it's also made from extraflavorful black soy beans. The kicker: it's spiked with a solid dose of tongue-tingling ghost chili for lingering heat.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Best Condiment (Runner-Up): Olivelle French Lavender Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Olivelle French Lavender Extra Virgin Olive Oil [11] tastes exactly like the essence of lavender. Dip a bit of crusty bread into the oil and feel instantly transported to a lush French field. Try it in a roasted lavender chicken [12] recipe or even in a salad with edible flowers [13].

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Salty-Sweet Snack : Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Caramel and Cheddar Popcorn Mix

Intending to quench cravings for both things sweet and savory, Angie's Boom Chicka Pop Caramel and Cheddar Popcorn Mix [14] ($4) may sound terrifying, but let us assure you, it's worth investigating. We couldn't help but mine for the thick caramel-coated pieces of popcorn, albeit the cheddar-dusted pieces are quite addictive too.

Photos: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Cheese: LaClare Farms Ziege Zacke Blue

This one's a mouthful, so take a deep breath before reading on. LaClare Farms Ziege Zacke Blue [15] ($8 for one-fourth pound) is a cave-aged, cow/goat milk blend made in a dry jack style and inoculated with a blue cheese mold. The cheesemakers say it's a "great introductory blue cheese" for those who sway toward nutty, firm, parmesan-like cheeses rather than funky ones, and (exhale) we can fully back that statement.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Tea: Kombucha Wonder Drink India

The distribution for Kombucha Wonder Drink India [16] is insanely small, but keep your eye out for this darjeeling- and assam-tea-based beverage. Brewed with green cardamom, fresh ginger, Indian rose, and tulsi, it's the best chai kombucha we've tried yet.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Spread: Karoun Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spread Honey

Karoun debuted its Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads [17]. Of the line, Honey is the can't-miss flavor. The subtly sweet, full-fat yogurt has a spreadable, cream-cheese-like consistency but with the probiotic benefits of yogurt. Our bagels have found their new favorite schmear.

Photo: Susannah Chen

Best Dessert: Good Pop Hibiscus Mint

Slightly tannic, tangy hibiscus tea [18] is always stocked on our shelf. So when we spotted Good Pop Hibiscus Mint [19], we made a beeline to the booth to get a taste. Let's just say we know what we'll be stocking in our freezer come the next heat wave.

Photo: Nicole Perry

Best Dessert (Runner-Up): Hot Cakes Pistachio Paprika Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted caramel sauces are everywhere these days, and Hot Cakes Limited-Edition Pistachio Paprika Salted Caramel Sauce [20] takes the cake. The silky texture, roasted butter flavor, crunchy bits of nuts, and a warming paprika finish make this caramel worth traveling to Seattle just to get our hands on a jar. We'd likely eat it straight from a spoon, but for something more civilized, pour it over ice cream or waffles.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Cocktail Mixer: Fever-Tree Handpicked Elderflower Tonic Water

One sip of the British Fever-Tree Handpicked Elderflower Tonic Water [21] ($24 for eight), and you'll be hooked for life. English elderflower essential oil and Eastern Congo quinine from the fever trees come together to form a bitter sparkling beverage with a sweet, floral finish. Drink it solo for a biting refreshment, or try it in a floral-leaning gin like Hendrick's.

Photo: Anna Monette Roberts

Best Cocktail Mixer (Runner-Up): Owl's Brew Pink & Black

Lately, tea cocktails have been popping up on the menus of many of our favorite watering holes. To bring the flavor home, we'll be experimenting with Owl's Brew, a line of concentrated teas designed for mixing 2:1 with liquors like tequila, gin, and whiskey. Our favorite: Owl's Brew Pink & Black [22] ($16) a black tea, strawberry, and hibiscus concoction that adds juicy, elegant sweetness to cocktails.

Photo: Nicole Perry


Source URL
http://www.yumsugar.com/food/Best-Food-Products-2014-Fancy-Food-Show-33719198