A World of Gastronomy at the 2013 Fancy Food Show New York City

The 2013 Fancy Food Show at New York City's Jacob Javitz center was HUGE!
The 2011 and 2012 east coast versions of this show were not in NYC, and my feeling is that because it is back in New York, more exhibitors responded.
Unfortunately for me, I only allowed one day out of the 3 for the show and I missed a lot of exhibitors I would like to have seen.
The main reason I go to these shows is to find new and different products from around the world, as this is the only food show in the USA where the world attends. One of my goals was to meet exhibitors that we could make part of our upcoming trip to Venice, Italy...and I succeeded in obtaining information about the wonderful city of Verona through the Chamber of Commerce.
It's only because of  Hurricane Sandy that we are tripping to Verona since our flight was cancelled to Italy
November 1st, 2012. Our plans to go back to Tuscany and south had to be changed and here we are a year later for a trip to Venice and Verona..
The representatives at the Italian pavillion introduced me to Ina and  Natalie from the Industry Crafts & Agriculture end of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona.

Ina, Natalie, Bert & Patrizia. Gotta love the Italian Style.The only thing I'm missing is a nice scarf

A smiling Patrizia

They, in turn, introduced me to Patrizia, an exhibitor and owner/proprietor of Corte Moschina Vineyards in Ronca, a province of just under 4,000 people in Verona, Italy.
They produce many of the best wines the hills of the Verona area wine country have to offer.
Meeting Patrizia was enlightening and it also allowed me to taste a relatively new style of wine called Ripasso. It's a red wine that "originates from the second fermentation of the Valpolicella wine (which many of us have tasted in the USA) with the dregs of the Amarone pressed grapes". Amarone is a wonderful full bodied, rich dry red wine produced in the Valpolicella region. With my relatively limited, although not unworthy, knowledge of the vast amount of wine regions in Italy, the only way I can describe the relatively new Ripasso compared to Amarone is to liken it to what Rosso Montalcino wines are to Brunello Montalcino wines.
Basically, they are wines that are similar and less costly...offering similarities, however with less body and depth of flavor. In the end, it's all good.
Before going on my way, Patrizia suggested I find my way to a restaurant in the East Village of NYC named Risotteria Melotti. The only other location for this restaurant happens to be in  Isola della Scala,Verona, Italy.
Grazie Patrizia per la vostra ospitalità.
Now, back to some of the interesting and tasty food finds.
Let's start with Napa Jacks BBQ sauces by Wine Country Kitchens. I don't usually buy these sauces, however these were so good, I bought a case of the Napa Merlot flavor on the spot. Other flavors included Chipotle Cabernet, Sweet & Smoky and Kentucky Bourbon.
JUSTIN'S smooooth peanut butter was brilliantE...with a capital e!

In Thailand, Cheryl Hou of  TCC Imports took me on a tour of their coconut based products, fruits and vegetables including my secret ingredient for cocktail sauce...Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce. I walked away with a renewed faith in the virtue of coconut water and the products produced by THEPPADUNGPORN COCONUT CO, LTD. Yes, the spelling of the company name is accurate. Their website is www.tcc.chaokoh.com.

A quick recipe for my Famous Betsa Cocktail Sauce is as follows:
Mix these in no particular order and I guarantee this will be the best cocktail sauce you have ever tasted.
Recipe is enough for about 40-50 Jumbo Shrimp
-1 cup of Simply Heinz  Ketchup or Heinz Chili Sauce (Regular Heinz Ketchup works fine, however "Simply" has no high fructose corn syrup)
-1/3 cup of white horseradish sauce
-2 tsp. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire
-1 fresh squeezed juice from whole lemon
-1 heaping tbsp Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (readily available in Asian markets)
-pinch of Kosher Salt
-few turns from a fresh pepper mill

At Japan Green Tea company, Minako Ozawa gave me the green tea tour of my life.
I never tasted so many variations of this antioxidant rich beverage. My thinking was if I could find a green tea that was enjoyable to drink because it tasted good vs. drinking it just because it was good for you, then I've accomplished something. My quest for such a product was answered in a tea bag with matcha.  Don't ask why. All I know is I liked at and now I drink it.
Their website is www.jp-greentea.com. Thank you Minako!

Another tasty tidbit in row 5 (22 rows away from row 27*) was yellow fin tuna stuffed cherry peppers by a company named JPI from East Java, Indonesia. Other stuffed peppers included different olive, caper and anchovy combinations. Fabulous, even at 10:30 in the morning.

    Bert & Erik Schnaars of Rao's/ See RAO'S @ www.phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com July 29, 2012

An interesting concept in a bottled spaghetti sauce came from Rao's. This new product chose to make a tomato based sauce with no garlic and with a blend of carrots, onions and celery (commonly known as a mirepoix). Th
is is a recipe usually reserved for a Ragu meat based sauce that I really liked.

I've made a recipe similar that includes carrots, onions and garlic sans the celery. I'll just have to remove the garlic, add the celery...and I'm home!
(See www.phoodographsandfinds.blogspot.com / "Authentic Marinara ?", February 2012)

 

Pasta from Switzerland?
Who shares the northern border with Italy?  Anyway, it was the packaging that caught my eye and I'm glad it did. Samantha Richardson, west coast sales manager for Columbia Cheese who represented this product and seemed quite passionate about the taste. so passionate, she insisted I try it and gave me some to take home. Heck, it could have been Italian. Thank you Samantha!

One of the products represented by Monini North America is "Mutti" bottled & canned tomatoes. Chef Carlo Casoni and Tiffanyrose were good enough to open a can of Mutti Italian Peeled Tomatoes to taste. Even as tasty as they were, Chef Carlo couldn't stop talking about "Perino" tomatoes. These tomatoes, although not canned, get their flavour from the very high flesh to juice ratio, which not only intensifies the flavour, it almost makes the squirt free!
As good as these tomatoes were right out of the can, I have say I'm also very much in love with my Alta Cucina's by Stanislaus..

Chef Carlo Casoni

Chef Bert & Chef Carlo

Getting close to Italy...
Unfortunately I lost my contact card for my next product entry...and even more disappointing is that they are not on the internet. It's very strange that Rosati Extra Virgin Olive Oil is missing. There were some very nice oils in this tasting...thus I'll simply include the pictures and if anyone has information, I'd love to hear from you.

What would the Fancy Food Show be without representation from my favorite cheese in the whole wide world...Parmigiano Reggiano?
It's really tough to start the show on Aisle 100, knowing you have 26 more rows to travel to get to cheese heaven...and tasting everything in front of you along the way.
It was still breakfast time and I knew the Italians were not slicing prosciutto for the American public
at 10:00AM. I wrap the ham around chunks of Reggiano for lunch and that's it for me. My raison d'être!
Fast forward from row 100 to row 2700* and there is Nancy Radke, who for the last 20 or so years has run the U.S. Information Office for the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano from her office in Syracuse, New York.
Unless you swoon from the sound of Parmigiano Reggiano, Queen of Cheese is not that romantic...however that's Radke to me. She always has a fine reception and a smile for me and I look forward to seeing her more than any other person when I come to these shows.

A mutual admiration society

 

Parmigiano Reggiano...with Prosciutto San Danielle
 

 

Everybody say "Parmigiano Reggiano"

 

A Quick Story:

Some time ago I was fortunate enough to put my hands on a virtually empty Parmigiano Reggiano wheel rind from a tasting at a local specialty market. A menu I was doing required fettuccine alfredo...and, I thought, what better way to showcase this dish but to prepare it in a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel rind.
Simply fine scrape the interior of the rind until there is a pile of cheese in the center...the size, of course, will be dependent on how many one is preparing for.
Melt some sweet butter in half and half or cream and cook your pasta (any shape) at the same time, reserving some pasta water for flavour and sauce texture in the final dish.
Add the warmed half and half /butter blend and starched water to the cheese in the rind and stir quickly. Immediately add the pasta, a few scrapes of fresh nutmeg, some kosher salt and mill pepper (I like a peppercorn blend of white, black and pink). Serve and grate more Reggiano over the top of each dish and WOW! It's a show for sure.
You can even make it with less calories and fat by using more starched water and less of the cream/butter mixture.
There are no measurements for this entry, but I think you get the picture. The next time I'm fortunate enough to put my hands on one of those rinds is when you will enjoy the picture...and the complete recipe.

One more thing...Check out www.parmesan.com
Come si dice in Italiano?
Grazie per una tale multa reception Nancy si.
I think it's appropriate to close out this entry with dessert. Although not really dessert, this sweet confection is something I've been looking for since I was a kid. Fruit laced soft nougats.
My mouth waters when I look at pictures of this latest find coming to you from Robert Ferina, the USA Marketing Director for an Italian candy manufacturer by the name of Quaranta (www.ferinagourmetimports.com) and Mike Mostransky of Foodie Imports (www.foodieimports.com).

A sincerely happy Robert Ferina with his Nougats!

Technically, this is Torrone...however when I think of Torrone I think of semi-hard to hard candies...not this soft and chewy confection marketed as "soft nougat". The myriad of flavors and textures include sour cherry, strawberry, exotic fruit (papaya, pineapple, melon), country berries, lemon, amaretto, dark chocolate, almonds and hazelnuts, mascarpone, coffee, and almonds. Nuts! Did I say nuts?
My favorites are lemon and exotic fruit...so far...and none of these have trans fats or HFCS*
Although I can't quite imagine the texture of this confection in the form a cake called Sofficiona, I'm certainly going to figure out a way to solve the mystery.
Next time I'm going to have to allow at least two days to see this show in New York.
It's that big...and I must say, without agenda, più delizioso!

 

Ahhhhh...Farfalle...ie Bow Ties

Mangia Baby,
Bert

Coming up next...The tomato kings of the north fork of Long Island

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