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What’s Inside, Out – The Pretty Truth

Monday, January 18, 2016

DAY 2 – FANCY FOOD SHOW WINTER 2016   san francisco, ca

Every ingredient matters. At least in this industry, to these brands it does. We’ve all heard the adage, “you are what you eat” and “you are what you eat eats.” Of the booths we’ve had the pleasure of visiting and talking with at least 90 percent start their story talking about ingredients. The importance of ingredients, the traceable supply chain and transparency to the consumer is more pertinent now more than ever. Consumers of all demographics are taking a huge interest in what goes into the food they eat, how it got there and the benefits of why it is in there in the first place. Laura and Lisa took it to the next level and went full force into the world of high-protein cricket products, tasting away.

On Day 2, the weather was better, the floor more crowded and the noise-level up a notch. Today was the day of very pretty product, with those that stood out boasting color, finish and confident presentation. Recovering from the cheese coma the day before, we headed back in to discover the latest and greatest.

Most delicious item tasted: The beautiful balance and clean taste of Sparrow Lane’s barrel-aged vinegars. The Walnut Champagne Vinegar hosts a seductive blend of acidity and nutty flavor with a light and crisp finish. We couldn’t get enough of it and would have gladly smuggled a case back to Portland.

Prettiest Display: The tiny, yet robust, Whole Spice of Napa Valley has perfected the art of display without even trying. Fresh, with the right amount of white space, the spices shine. Colors of deep yellows, oranges, greens and browns evoke an edible sunset. Less is more and Whole Spice’s product speaks for itself.

Most Random Connection: One of our Watershed team members (ahem, Amy) stumbled into the David Rio Chai booth while simultaneously coughing up an almond and gasping for a drink to wash it down. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but a chance encounter led to one of our most enjoyable conversations of the day. Enormous energy and an unmatched sense of humor is behind the philanthropic, family-owned Chai business. Their dedication to animal welfare is apparent, straightforward and refreshing. And, they have a tiger. Well, sort of. It’s a long story.

One-Liner of the Day: “It’s like being on the Oregon trail. Start ditching stuff when it gets too heavy.”  (re: the weight of our bags halfway through the show)

Best After Hours Party: The Face Rock Creamery cheese & cocktail hour was a huge success. Platters of the award winning Clothbound Cheddar and Vampire Slayer Garlic Cheddar Curds were front and center as the who’s-who of the cheese world mingled and toasted. The word was out and we let in party crashers who turned out to be canned wine enthusiasts out of the midwest. It’s amazing what can be discovered over a platter of cheese.

Most Exciting Discovery: The spooky black garlic with its comforting taste and alluring appearance.

Live vicariously through our Fancy Food Show adventures – Day 1 and Day 3

Vibrant colors make up a simple, effective display at Whole Spice.

Vibrant colors make up a simple, effective display at Whole  Spice.

Sparrow Lane tantalizing vinegars.

Sparrow Lane tantalizing vinegars.

Spooky, yummy black garlic.

Spooky, yummy black garlic.

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