By Sandy Hu
With 206,000 square feet of exhibition space spanning the North and South Halls of San Francisco’s Moscone Center and 1,300 exhibitors, you need a plan to walk the Winter Fancy Food Show. If you don’t focus, it’s easy to overindulge, sampling sauces, pickles, cheeses, salumi, oils, vinegars, cookies, crackers, chocolates, frozen desserts, juices, teas, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, chutneys, pickles, honeys…. Your stomach will not thank you for it.
Anything you would find in a specialty food store is here, multiplied many times over, available for tasting. So yesterday, walking the show, I looked for specialty foods I thought would help you make meals easier or more delicious. And I only sampled those things that qualified in my quest (except for the Hudson Valley Foie Gras and a few other indulgent foods too irresistible to pass up).
Some specialty items I liked:
- Yuzu Japanese mayonnaise – Japanese mayonnaise does taste different from the American type. It is usually made with apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar which gives it a rounder flavor than mayo made with distilled vinegar. Yuzu, the Japanese citrus that has gotten so trendy in the States, adds a refreshing, zesty flavor. The company says the eggs they use are super-fresh (three days from hen to production). Use this mayonnaise as a dip for fries, grilled veggies, with seafood or in sandwiches or salads. From WA Imports. www.waimports.com.
- Ketchup plus – Australian Tomato Ketchup for Grownups is a thick tomato ketchup with sriracha heat. From Food Imagineering. http://store.foodimagineering.com/store.cfm?catid=6.
- Bittermens Bitters – Four flavors of small batch bitters, Xocolatl Mole, Hopped Grapefruit, Tiki Elemakule, Boston Bittahs, Burlesque, add distinction to drinks or cooking. Mix into compound butters, French toast, sauces or gravies to punch up the flavor. http://bittermens.com/.
- Wafu Japanese Vinaigrette – Think salad from a Japanese restaurant. The vinaigrette can be used as a salad dressing, dip or marinade. It comes in four varieties: Original with lightly toasted sesame oil, Original Light, Ginger Carrot and Wasabi Edamame. www.wafu.us.com.
- Korean sauces from Bibigo – This South Korean line includes Korean BBQ Sauces, Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) and soy sauce with kelp extract. The line also includes pre-cooked white sticky rice that heats up in 1 minute. http://cjfoods.com/.
- Spray oils in pump sprays mean you use less and avoid a mess. Great for brushless basting and when roasting vegetables. Oil varieties include grapeseed, flax seed, sesame and a seasoned stir-fry oil that incorporates toasted sesame oil, garlic and ginger. From International Collection. http://www.internationalcollection.co.uk/.
- Parchment cooking bags – You can fold parchment to create bags or buy bags readymade from PaperChef for fuss-free en papillote cooking. www.paperchef.com.
- Spiced Sour Cherry Spread – made with whole and pureed Morello cherries, tart dried cherries and Burgundy. This spread is part of a delicious collection of condiments from the Gracious Gourmet that can dress up a simple meal. The cherry spread complements poultry, pork or game, cheese or ice cream. www.thegraciousgourmet.com.
I’ll be at the show tomorrow again and will tweet more finds @specialforksndy.
In the meantime, if you’re getting hungry, try these chocolate truffles made with California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This premium line of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oils from California-grown olives, is pressed within hours of picking, ensuring a fresher taste. The recipe was created by Alice Medrich expressly for the brand.
Chocolate Arbequina Truffles
Makes 36 to 40 small truffles
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (6o to 62 percent cacao), chopped
5 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup California Olive Ranch Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A pinch of fine sea salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably non alkalized)
1 bright-skinned organic or unsprayed orange for zesting (optional), washed
Place chocolate, butter, olive oil and salt in top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least three hours (or up to three days) to harden.
Remove and let mixture stand at room temperature for 15+ minutes to soften slightly.
Spread cocoa in a shallow pie or cake pan. If desired, use a micro plane zester to grate zest from half of the orange directly over the cocoa. Scrape a tiny scoop or melon baller across the surface of the chocolate mixture to form an irregular round truffle, 1 inch or less in diameter. Place truffle into pie pan. Shake pan to roll truffle in cocoa. Repeat until all the truffles are shaped and coated.
Remove truffle from the cocoa to a covered container. Refrigerate to store. Remove truffles from the fridge about 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe from California Olive Ranch, created by Alice Medrich.
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