2013 Summer FFS: Our Top 18 Picks!
Gourmet chocolates, delicious cheese, smoked meat and sweet jam–the list of delicious foods at the Summer Fancy Food Show was endless! We visited countless booths at the country’s largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event, which took place at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York from June 30-July 2. Approximately 180,000 products were featured around the show, and although our feet were tired and our stomachs a little too full, we loved the chance to make our way through the show and visit favorite brands–old and new! Before we could really get down to business, we did a zigzag around the show to make sure we got a taste of some of our previous picks, including the creamy, flavorful blue cheese made with all-natural raw milk at Point Reyes Cheese Company. Also, we stopped by Hi I’m Skinny, as we can’t get enough of their sweet potato sticks. And of course we had to visit John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks, and munch on our favorite cheese crisps, yum!
After getting a taste for what we already knew we loved, we were on a mission to find new and delicious finds to report back on. We kept track of our new top favorites, (18 to be exact!) of yummy organic and natural products to share with our wonderful readers:
Manitou Trading Co. – It is no secret that Ancient Grains are a hot commodity these days. We certainly love them, so we were excited to see such a wide variety of grains from Manitou Trading Co. This is in addition to their rice, pasta and legumes. Manitou Trading Co. is dedicated to finding the finest ingredients, sourced from around the globe. They work directly with the farmers to bring non-GMO food without additives or artificial ingredients.
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale – There is ginger ale…and then there is GINGER ALE! Previously not really a fan of the former mentioned ginger ale that is out of a can and has little flavor, we were super excited to try the unfiltered Bruce Cost Ginger Ale—or Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale, if you will. This beverage, made with 100% fresh ginger, is absolutely delicious. It comes in a few different flavors: Original Ginger, Pomegranate with Hibiscus, Jasmine Tea and Passion Fruit with Yellow Ginger. It’s great on it’s own, or we would suspect a splash of vodka would also be pretty tasty. You can find recipes for mocktails and cocktails on their site.
Chebe Bread Mix – Gluten free is all the rage right now—and we get it, as some of us here in the office have wheat allergies. But what is cool about Chebe compared to other GF breads on the market is it was originated before the GF concept went mainstream and just happens to be gluten free, as it is a delicious Brazilian bread, pao de queijo, which is a cheese bread made with manioc (a tuber type root). You can buy in premade frozen form or in dry mixes. The site offers a great resource for recipes from pizza to quiche.
The Tea Room Chocolate Fusion Bars – That’s right, organic chocolate bars from a tea company! That means each of these organic,non-GMObars are combined with tea, offering a unique flavor that will no doubt satisfy that sweet tooth. They have a variety of milk and dark chocolate bars infused with everything from jasmine to mayan pepper chai.
Purity Coconut Water – Talk about refreshing! Purity Coconut Water was by far the best coconut water we’ve tried, and is certified organic. A very smooth coconut water that contains five essential electrolytes, and isn’t overbearing in coconut like some other coconut water brands. This is fantastic way to hydrate, and also tastes great! Purity Organic also featured their many flavors of fruit juices, including strawberry paradise, pomegranate blueberry plus and a classic lemonade.
Harvest Song Jam– Once we had a bite of the Tea-Rose Petal Jam from Harvest Song, we were sold! This all-natural delicious jam comes fromnutrient rich valleys all the way from Armenia—no added preservatives, and has a sweet natural aroma to it. Have this succulent jam with cheese for a perfect pairing.
Helios Greek Yogurt Drink – For a nutritional powerhouse in a creamy delicious drink, Helios Greek Yogurt stood out to us amongst the other top yogurt drinks! We had a few yummy samples of their different flavors including Raspberry, Pomegranate/Blueberry, and Pear & Honey. For those who don’t enjoy the thick texture of nonfat Greek yogurt, this drinkable yogurt doesn’t have that undesired consistency, but is creamy treat that is 100% organic. Support healthy digestion with this fibrous yogurt!
Farmhouse Kitchens Butter – Trust us when we say you’ve never had butter like this before. We at Eco18 tried samples of Farmhouse Kitchens hand-rolled butter that just melted on our taste buds! This delicious butter was crafted from Wisconsin Grade A milk, with a light-weight and airy quality to it. Many of us have tried an array of low-calorie butters, however, those Franken foods contain genetically modified vegetable oils and synthetic ingredients that claim to be vitamins. These kinds of butters are created to make you want more and more! Farm House Kitchens butter is a whole-nutritional butter that you’ll enjoy so much more, and with moderation you won’t regret trying it! Farmhouse Kitchen also had a delicious cashew butter brunch made with their gourmet butter- a nutty and delightful snack.
Sir Kensington Ketchup – The way ketchup should be! Throw out your Heinz ketchup that contains an overload of sugar, salt, and high-fructose corn syrup for this organic ketchup. We sampled Sir Kensington’s Ketchup that contains whole tomatoes that are not from concentrate, contains 50% less sugar and sodium. This is the first non-GMO ketchup, and we love it! We also tried their mind-blowing chipotle mayonnaise that packs a blend of spices that is also non-GMO.
Mama Pearls Hot Sauce – The ladies at the Mama Pearl’s booth did warn us that the sauces were hot and they were right! With a base of habaneros, all three sauces packed a punch, but they were very different in flavor and heat. The Mild Flavor was our favorite and it won 1st Place Habanero Hot Sauce at the 2013 Hot Sauce Festival. The Original Flavor green sauce and the newest Fresa Flavor with a hint of sweet strawberries had some interesting flavors and a lot of heat. These all-natural hot sauces tasted fresh and homemade, great for spicing up your favorite dishes and dips. www.mamapearlshotsauce.com
My Brother’s Salsa – One of founder Helen Lampkin’s four brothers shared a salsa recipe with her. After adding her signature style to it, it immediately became a hit with family and friends and a decade later My Brother’s Salsa has seven varieties: Original, Fire Roasted, House, Garden, Tomatillo, Cranberry Orange and our personal favorite Black Bean and Corn was one of the best we have ever tasted. Crunchy corn with smooth black beans and fresh diced tomatoes, great flavor. Lots of great recipe ideas using their salsas can be found on their site.
Vinki Apple Cider Vinegar – We love vinegar, so much so that some of us can drink it from the bottle, so Apple Cider Vinegar paired with all natural fruit juice sounded good to us. Two flavors are available right now, Pomegranate and Blueberry—both were equally delicious. Naturally tangy, with all the digestive benefits of vinegar and the antioxidant properties of the “superfruits” Vinki was a really refreshing twist on juice. It’s great chilled and is a perfect mixer for your favorite cocktails.
Phin & Phebes Ice Cream – Born in Brooklyn, these all-natural ice creams feature hand-crafted unique flavors and everything is made by them from scratch including the hand-baked goods in some of the ice creams. And it tastes like it too! The Vietnamese Iced Coffee was awesome, so was the Vanilla Cinnamon—only six ingredients in this heavenly concoction. We kick ourselves that we didn’t try Ginger Cookie Snap—Ginger Ice Cream with Ginger Cookies and Lemon Icing Filling! And the Banana Whama—well it’s their best seller.
Pukka Organic Teas – These certified organic teas from England certainly live up to their name. Pukka, translated for Hindi means “top-quality”. The brand’s authenticity shines through together with the excellent flavor of signature blends. Every tea is specially blended with the best quality herbs—by their herbalist Sebastian Pole— to deliver fresh flavors and therapeutic benefits. All the herbs used in Pukka Teas are grown in sustainably managed certified organic projects. We loved the brand and the story so much that we plan to feature co-founders Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell in our 18 questions, so look out for that. They have indeed created the perfect “Pukka Cuppa”. www.pukkaherbs.com
Iliada Extra Virgin Olive Oils – One thing there was no shortage of at this show was olive oil. The standout in our minds was Iliada. Not only the amazing Greek olive oils themselves, but the packaging was equally as impressive. They were featuring three flavored oils, Orange, Basil and Truffle…each one was better then the first. The fusion of the finest virgin olive oil with these different flavors gave each of the oils unique characteristics that were both discernable yet subtle. Their award winning gold label Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive was the Gold Medalist at the 2013 Los Angeles Olive Oil Competition. www.agrovim.agrovim.gr
Kozlik’s Mustard – Did you know that 90% of the world’s mustard seed is grown in Canada? Neither did we. But now we both know. Kozlik’s Mustard has honored the age old mustard traditions since 1948 based just outside of Toronto. The products range from sweet mustards that pair wonderfully with sausages and cheeses to a mouth wateringly hot mustard that is much hotter than the American palette is used to. Each variety tastes REAL and is the height of deliciousness.
Rewined Candles – We’ve shown you in the past what to do wine corks and we’ve found a company that reuses the bottles in a marvelous way. Rewined cuts the bottle in half and fills them with candles scented with the aromas of classic wine styles. Our pick – the Pinot Noir with notes of fig, cranberry, leather and earth. Ok, we know you can’t eat this pick, but we love the concept.
Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee – Of all the (abundance of) coffee at the show, Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee takes the prize for one simple reason – it tastes the best! Grown on the highest peak of Jamaica, it’s both rich and sweet with great complexity and subtle undertones. We first saw Blue Mountain at Eataly, but it’s starting to pop up more and more at coffee shops around the country. Find it.