Monday, January 21, 2008

Fancy Food Show 2008 Notes - Part Two

Here’s the second half of my notes on the Fancy Food Show in San Diego last week.

FFS-46Malie Kai chocolate bars are made from cocoa beans grown on Oahu. Wow, an All American Chocolate Bar!

The cool thing about Malie Kai is that they do more than just plain chocolate, they have some combination bars as well ... and as you might expect they include Hawaiian items like Kona coffee and macadamia nuts as well as citrus and almonds. Lovely two ounce bars and wonderful hospitality at their booth. I’m looking forward to tasting the full bar I picked up.

FFS-49Jeff Shepherd is always a delight when I visit at his booth displaying his goodies from Lillie Belle Farms. I got to try the Smokey Blue Truffle again ... it’s growing on me. I like the crunchy almonds and the smooth creaminess of the chocolate ganache. The bite of the Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue Cheese is pretty interesting, it creates a little buzz on the tongue. It feels more like food than candy, but that’s not a bad thing either.

FFS-48The other fascinating item he had that was brand new was a wild chocolate bar ... that is, chocolate made from cocoa beans harvested in the wild, not from plantation-raised trees. I wish I had a photo of it, it’s not on the website yet. As you can imagine, there can’t be a lot of these since wild cacao is exceptionally rare and hard to harvest. Of course it’s also a very limited edition.

Haribo was also there with a their same booth. I don’t really have anything to report on their product line. I know they have their new Root Beer Gummis and as much as I’m a fan of root beer as a flavor, these just don’t do it for me (they might be too citrusy). I did have a few of their spectacular Pink Grapefruit Slices though. You can just enjoy these close ups of their lightbox display:

 FFS-34   FFS-32   FFS-35   FFS-31   FFS-33   

Jo’s Candies based here on the Los Angeles area will have some new Vanilla Caramels available at all their usual outlets. They were soft and tasty, perhaps a bit more milky than buttery than I’m used to, but super-traditional in plain wax paper and sold in clear bags.

I also enjoy Elegant Gourmet’s booth every year. They have stunning handmade lollipops and hard candies that look like painted ponies on a carousel.

FFS-27

I’ve never pictured their candies as an everyday sort of sweet, but for special occasions like baby showers, weddings and gifts, they’re something to consider.

Acapella Gourmet has an awesome new line of “coffeelatte” called Caffe Acapella ... basically, it’s cocoa butter mixed with coffee solids (coffee beans) instead of cocoa solids. So it’s not coffee flavored, it’s coffee! I have a few samples of those for a full review later.

FFS-42Vosges made their first appearance at a trade show I’ve attended. They had everything in their repertoir out for tasting. I had a little sip of their white chocolate/vanilla/lavender/lemon myrtle drink (even though I’ve had it before) and had a few tastes of some other their items I haven’t tried. (No, they wouldn’t send me home with any samples for later.)

I tried a few of the caramels, being especially careful to stay away from anything with walnuts and was definitely pleased. It’s a stiff caramel, not too chewy but soft and with good buttery notes. I think the next thing of theirs I’m going to plunk down some money for is their Volcano Island Honey Truffle collection.

FFS-39The Fancy Food Show always has a good showing of companies with honey and maple syrup. I picked up a few samples from Canadian company, mopure. They’re just little transparent maple leaves made from maple syrup. (I’m sure their maple syrup is awesome too, but I’m not much of a syrup user ... but if they offered me that bottle as a sample, I’d be all over it.)

Other items I picked up samples of:

  • Colts Bolts - gourmet peanut butter cups
  • Santander Chocolate - three different varieties of dark
  • Domori Cru - single origin tasting squares
  • Lake Champlain - various tasting squares
  • Repubica del Cacao - Ecuadoran chocolate
  • BruCo - olive oil chocolates and salt tasting chocolate
  • Black Opal - chocolate covered licorice stick
  • Bali’s Best Tea Candy (like their coffee candies
  • Honey Mints - chocolate covered creamed honey with a touch of mint
  • For the most part I zoomed through the show this year. I usually take all three days and spend a lot of time with each company. This year I had my priority hit list and made it to most of them. A few I didn’t get to I know I can probably visit with at ExpoWest in March down in Anaheim (like Theo’s new Phinney bars). Of course my speed meant a lot fewer take home samples (usually I have conversations to discuss what I might be interested in taking home for a full review) but the money I saved on not having to get a hotel room in San Diego can now go to buying that candy instead.

    (All above photos by Emanuel Treeson.)

    POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:29 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyFancy Food ShowFeatured News

    Comments
    1. Can’t wait to hear how you liked the MoPure and the Bali’s best! smile

      Comment by Sera on 1/21/08 at 11:02 am #
    2. Haribo’s Pink Grapefruit gummi slices are known variously as “them” and “mind control candy” around this house. I don’t allow myself to buy more than a small bag at a time because I can’t stop eating them if there are more than a few.

      Comment by Stefanie Noble on 1/21/08 at 11:43 am #
    3. So glad to hear someone else so impressed with Elegant Gourmet’s products. For me, it was love at first sight. Talk about eye candy! I carried a lot of their Christmas candy and am looking forward to ordering some more stuff from them for spring. l am not connected with them in any way and don’t mean to sound like an ad for them, but I love it when someone gets it so right. The candy is beautiful, the packaging is well, elegant, and everything I’ve tasted of theirs is delicious. I’ll stop now. I think I’ve had too much sugar.

      Comment by elizabethw on 2/05/08 at 10:03 am #

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