Fancy Food Show 2006: Best in Show, Continued

Since the Fancy Food Show was a treasure trove of good products, here is the remaining Best in Show.

Condiments

Molino Real Chocolate CreamMolino Real
Best healthy Nutella: Chocolate Cream

This chocolate spread tastes so good it must be bad, but it’s just cocoa powder, milk, cinnamon and agave nectar. The sweetener is a natural derivation from the blue agave plant, the same plant that gives us tequila. It’s great for diabetics, vegans or people who want to venture beyond white sugar. Agave is similar to honey, except it is runnier and has a more neutral taste.
Photo: Molino Real

Barefoot Contessa lemon curd

Barefoot Contessa
Best lemon curd

I usually do not buy dessert sauces because they are so easy and cheap to make (if you can dissolve sugar in hot liquid, you can make a sweet sauce), but the lemon curd from celebrity chef Ina Garten tastes like the real deal. It contains just sugar, eggs, butter, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt. Other brands were slimy (due to artificial gelling agents) or bitter (due to too much rind).
Photo: Straub’s Fine Grocers

Dalmatia fig spread

Dalmatia
Best fig spread

If you could bottle up the freshest figs, this would be it. The Adriatic figs are hand picked on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia and then sun dried. The spread is not too sweet, not too sticky and not too fermented. The orange version took first place at the Fancy Food Show in 2004, but I like the plain one best.
Photo: FoodMatch Inc.

Elsa's Story Mandarin & Orange Preserved

Elsa’s Story
Best orange preserves

Orange marmalade is often plagued with sour and bitter notes, but Elsa’s Story is delicious. Good preserves like this one taste like fruit, not corn syrup. Elsa’s Story also makes fine cookies.
Photo: Elsa’s Story

School House Kitchen mustard

School House Kitchen
Best mustard

This mustard has remarkable smoothness and body, unlike French’s neon yellow variety. If you like the sweetness of honey mustard and the richness of Grey Poupon, School House Kitchen manages to put them together. They also donate 100% of their profits towards education.
Photo: School House Kitchen

Tasmanian spiced cherries

34 Degrees
Best preserved fruit products

This Australian company has unusual, great tasting fruits. The dried muscats (floral flavored grapes) come still attached to their branches. They also have a selection of fruit pastes to spread on cheese, toast or ice cream. The most unique items are the Tasmanian spiced cherries. They are sweet, slightly acidic from the vinegar marinade, and peppery. Think of them as sweet versions of cured olives.
Photo: 34 Degrees

Miscellaneous

Luxe green tea

Luxe
Best tea: Traditional Japanese genmaicha

Green tea leaves are combined with toasted brown rice in this strong yet refreshing tea. It was so bold and rounded that I could not believe it came from a bag. The silken bags are completely biodegradable: no glue, no staples.
Photo: Luxe

Skotidakis Greek yogurt

Skotidakis Goat Farm
Best yogurt

Their Greek yogurt tastes just like sour cream, but it is healthier because it is only made from milk. Once you try the plain yogurt with a dollop of honey, you may never go back to the watery, grainy commercial brands. They may have distribution problems because they are a small farm from Canada, but do beg your supermarket to carry them.
Photo: Skotidakis Goat Farm

Kind Fruit + Nut bar

KIND Fruit + Nut
Best energy bar that tastes like candy: Sesame & peanuts with chocolate

KIND Fruit + Nut bars satisfy my sweet tooth, but they are healthier and more natural than most other energy bars. Other bars are laboratory engineered (mmm, textured vegetable protein and partially hydrogenated fat!) and taste like it. KIND is a mixture of toasted nuts, fruit and honey. My favorite is the sesame-chocolate bar, which tastes like halvah, but the macadamia-apricot is very good too. KIND lives up to its name, donating 5% of its proceeds to charity.

Keep in mind that these bars are nutrient and calorie dense. Sure there’s plenty of wholesome ingredients, but nuts are high in fat. Still, if you’re going to splurge, it’s much healthier and tastier (in my opinion) than a candy bar. Also, these bars are not meant to be meal replacements; they are low in complex carbohydrates.
Photo: KIND

chocolate Maya bar

Larabar
Best chocolate energy bar: Mayabar

These gooey chocolatey bars are even less processed than the KIND bars. They consist of dates, cocoa powder and chunks of nuts. There is no added sugar! Like the KIND bars, these are high in “good” calories. They are satisfying but will not keep you full for long: they have no grains (complex carbs).
Photo: Larabar

Bubbie's mochi ice cream

Bubbies
Best ice cream novelty: Mochi ice cream

Asians are the pioneers of chewy desserts. The Taiwanese brought bubble tea, a sweet drink accompanied by extra-large tapioca pearls. The Japanese and Chinese brought mochi, a sticky rice cake filled with sweetened beans, peanuts or sesame. In 2001, a genius in California replaced the traditional fillings with ice cream. My goodness! A drink that you eat? An ice cream that you chew? What is the world coming to?

Bubbies is an upscale (read: pricier) competitor to Mikawaya, the company that created this frozen treat. Although Mikawaya is ubiquitous in Chinatown and American supermarkets, Bubbies tastes more natural. You can’t beat their selection of unusual flavors: strawberry chocolate chip, lychee, passion fruit, guava and peanut butter.
Photo: Bubbies

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6 Comments »

  1. Mila said,

    An entrepreneur here makes very good chocolate mochi, she fills it with truffles made of dark chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate. You can read about it on Lori’s Dessert Comes First blog, and I’ve ordered them, lovely things fresh, or keep them up to a week in the refrigerator and just nuke them slightly to melt the chocolate. Yum.

    July 25, 2006 at 10:07 pm

  2. Jessica said,

    Mila, mmm, sounds tasty! How can I get it all the way in the states? One time I filled mochi with Nutella-it was delicious.

    July 25, 2006 at 10:22 pm

  3. shuna fish lydon said,

    I love seeing in advance what is coming our way! Thanks for the highlights. And also for going to the show, I am still burnt out on them from over 5 years ago!

    July 26, 2006 at 12:29 pm

  4. Mila said,

    Mochi with nutella sounds wonderful! I wish I knew how to send some of her stuff over since I told friends about it and they’re now hankering to get their hands on her stuff. I doubt that freezing them would help the texture of the mochi.

    July 26, 2006 at 9:49 pm

  5. Deb said,

    Thanks for the round-up. It was great!

    I do a lot of cooking with Agave because it’s the lowest glycemic natural sweetener available. It’s also good with pancakes and waffles, especially for people with sugar sensitivites. Plus, it’s doesn’t have that nasty aftertaste that comes with synthetic sweeteners.

    Chewy ice cream does sound fun. I’ll have to try making some. ;D

    Thanks again!

    July 27, 2006 at 8:19 am

  6. Jessica said,

    Shuna, Glad you enjoyed the highlights!

    Deb, I agree about snythetic sweeteners. I even don’t like high fructose corn syrup. It dries out my mouth (probably because there’s so much sugar) and is coyingly sweet. I think making mochi ice cream is more trouble than it’s worth. When I did it, the ice cream melted in the dough, so I couldn’t seal it. It was still delicious though! If you must try it, I recommend scooping the ice cream with a melon baller (so it’s uniformly round) and freezing it till it’s very hard. Also, wait for the mochi dough to completely cool. Then fill.

    July 27, 2006 at 9:01 pm

1 Links to this post

  1. Su Good Eats » My Mayabars

    […] Larabar used to make Mayabars (which I dubbed the best chocolate energy bar from the 2006 Fancy Food Show). They were fruit-sweetened chocolate bars with crunchy cacao nibs. Unfortunately, they revamped the line (now called Jocolat) and took out the nibs for a “smoother texture.” Bah, I want my essence of chocolate. The other problem is they’re so expensive at $1 a pop. Since their bars are essentially dried fruit and nuts, it’s not that hard to figure out the recipe. […]

    May 27, 2007 at 12:00 am

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