Move over Stirrings, there's a new cocktail mixer on the market and it's made with 100 percent organic fruit juice. Meet Modmix ($9.99), the mixer for the luxury spirit. I was lucky enough to speak with one of the founders, Tricia McCracken, at the Fancy Foods Show. She explained that the mixers pair well with all types of liquor, including bubbly. For a non-alcoholic drink, she suggests diluting the mixer with sparkling water. Modmix comes in six flavors: citrus margarita, French martini, lavender lemon drop, mojito, pomegranate cosmopolitan, and wasabi bloody Mary. Unlike most mixers, Modmix is neither too artificial or too sweet — they taste surprisingly like fresh juice. I loved the French martini, a subtle blend of pineapple juice with a vibrant raspberry color, and the wasabi bloody Mary, a thick tomato juice that packs a spicy punch. The best thing about Modmix is that they have a very pure, intense, authentic fruit flavor. Have you tried Modmix? Did you think it was a step above other cocktail mixers?
When Oprah declared that she would stop eating organic blue corn tortilla chips in favor of sweet potato chips, little did she know that the food industry was one step ahead of her. Healthier, alternative snack chips were a huge trend at last weekend's Fancy Foods Show. With names like Corazonas and Yuka, these chips have South American roots. Corazonas the only chip made with potatoes, stood out because they actually help lower cholesterol. The rest of the chips, feature an up and coming tuber, known as the cassava. To find out more about this interesting starch, read more
Yesterday, I offered some tips for tasting and serving caviar, courtesy of Michael Kupfer and Ali Bolourchi of Pacific Plaza Imports, a California-based caviar importer. I caught up with them while enjoying some Siberian sturgeon roe, and got some pointers on how to keep caviar in its best condition. To learn more about storing sturgeon roe, read more
While YumSugar was busy learning about caviar at the Fancy Foods Show, I was searching the Italian section for exciting new drinks. With its smooth, easy-drinking liquid, and clear anise-y taste, Izzi Sambuca caught my eye.
Sambuca is a popular Italian liqueur that's great for sipping on a cold afternoon. The distinctive flavor of licorice is prominent, but not overpowering. Izzi makes two kinds: premium original and Sumbuca al Caffé, a variation on theme with subtle undertones of coffee beans and a rich caramel color. Both are warming, but not too strong, full bodied yet not syrupy, and slightly sweet.
Sambuca was popular at the show and Izzi's offerings were my favorite. I definitely plan on adding a bottle to my liquor collection. How about you? Have you tried Sambuca?
Last weekend, PartySugar and I spent most of our time eating and drinking at the Winter Fancy Foods Show, the largest food show in North America. With more than 250,000 food and beverage products on display, one could say that perhaps I bit off a little more than I could chew.
We tasted wine, cheese, meat, and everything else you can think of (more on that later!), but one of the biggest highlights had to be learning more about caviar from the pros. I turned to Ali Bolourchi and Michael Kupfer of Pacific Plaza Imports, a California-based caviar importer, to get some tips. To find out how to serve, taste, and enjoy caviar, read more
Since I know most of you are outside of the SF Bay Area, I try to keep my posts region free, but this news is too interesting to keep to myself. You know how I went on and on about the Fancy Food Show and how delicious and amazing everything was? Turns out when the show is over, the goods and samples that vendors haven't given away are donated to charity. In this case they were donated to Under One Roof (a non-profit dedicated to AIDS/HIV education and support) and (here's the interesting part) they're going to be on sale. The event lasts four days and begins on Thursday, Feb 15. I don't know about you guys, but I'm definitely going to check it out. To get the details, read more
It has only been two weeks, but I feel like I've been talking about the Winter Fancy Food Show for months now. If you're bored of it, don't worry, this is the last one and if you're afraid you've missed some of the coverage, then fear no more. I've got one final recap that rolls all the other recaps into one.
The Winter Fancy Food Show was a "gorge yourself silly, check out our new products and taste our old ones too" sort of an event. With over 1,000 vendors and 80,000 things to eat, it was a bit overwhelming, by day three I was tired of walking the aisles and needed to take a long nap (that happens after a sugar crash).
While there we ran into a few celebrity chefs:
- Paula Deen
- Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa) - be sure to see our video interview
- Martin Yan - he was also kind enough to do a video interview
We also identified some major food trends:
- Teas - blooming teas, organic teas, fair trade teas - be sure to check out our video interview with Ineeka's Shashank Goel
- Superfruits - who doesn't love anti-oxidants?
- Infused Waters and Sodas - apparently if your water doesn't give you something else, it's just not good enough
- Infused Alcohols and Mixers - a drink is no longer just a drink - be sure to check out our video with TMD's enthusiastic Michael Ward
- Goat Dairy Products - Move over cows, goats are taking over!
- Real wasabi - okay, this one isn't a food trend, but I forgot to mention it anywhere else and wanted to share this picture with you
If all of that is overwhelming, then check out this video clip to get the complete idea:
To check out a LARGE gallery of images, read more
The last trend from the Fancy Food Show that I want to talk about is tea. Ice tea, hot tea, blooming tea, organic tea, chai tea, flavored teas, tea infused chocolate. Tea. Tea. Tea. Tea.
There were at least a billion and a half tea booths (that is not a completely accurate statement, I lost count at around 22 and just rounded up) and most of them had some pretty pleasant teas on hand. The big show crowd pleaser was the new "blooming" teas. These teas are made by hand-tying edible flowers (like roses, carnations, jasmine, etc.) into a ball that "blooms" when placed into hot water. It's pretty gimmicky, but definitely elegant. The only catch is, you'll now have to invest in a clear teapot as well. The one pictured here is either the Jasmine & Chrysanthemum or Jasmine & Marigold from Tzuni (just one of several companies promoting blooming teas). A box of 12 tea "pearls" will set you back $19.20.
Even though there were many normal teas to try, one of my favorites came from Ineeka. Their award winning teas are grown and shipped directly from founder Shashank Goel's family plantations in India. They only use whole leaves with no added flavorings or oils. The teas are treated with love much like a fine wine and their packaging even shows it. It's like loose leaf tea inside of an ingenious tea bag that opens up and allows the tea to unfurl completely. Founder Shashank Goel was kind enough to talk to us about their start, and show us how to brew the perfect cup of delicious tea. Check out the video below to see:
To see more tea coverage, read more
Looks like 2007 is the year of the superfruits. Over the last few years, the solid pomegranate and his pals blueberry and cranberry have done a lot of the groundwork (now almost everyone knows what antioxidants are). With their help, the world is ready for more. While I was at the Fancy Food Show, I noticed that everyone who didn't have a pomegranate flavor, now has one, and those that already did, now have something new. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the superfruits. read more