This is my first Fancy Food Show ; I see now why there’s so much excitement surrounding it. Imagine a convention center, the biggest one you’ve ever been to, filled with food vendors from around the world.
Talk about foodgasm.
I only did a morning stint today. It was so overwhelming, even though I have a very specific focus: natural, organic, and allergen-free or allergen-friendly, of course. [If say my focus were ham, I would have been overwhelmed too. Tons of ham!]
To that end I hit the natural and organic pavilion [yes, they had their own pavilion] first and made lots of new foodie friends:
-I met Chris, quite a jolly fellow, who proudly showed off his line of organic spirits [organic grains used to make the stuff]. I didn’t have a taste as it was only 10am; a bit early for this Allergic Girl.
-I had a long chat with the sales rep, the guy in the hat, from the Republica del Cacao, an Ecuadorian confection manufacturer. Forty years in the hard candy and cheap chocolate biz, this high-end premium chocolate has been two years in the making. Regarding nuts [chocolate and nuts are a common marriage and thus not tops on my list of goodies], this chocolate [which comes in three different percentages of cacao from three different regions] is processed in a facility that also processes peanuts. In the same building that is, but on different machines, separate lines; just in the same building. Peanuts are the only nuts used. The sales rep pointed out that other nuts aren’t native to Ecuador and thus aren’t around.
-Speaking of chocolate I also met Debra from Theo Chocolate , a Seattle chocolate company. They process their own beans, from roasting to product and they produce vegan and soy free choco bars-Yippee! In terms of other allergens, they make one product with gluten [a bread chocolate bar] and one chocolate filled confection with peanut butter. But those are it. So again depending on your level of sensitivity and comfort, they assured me that their vegan and soy-free products are made on essentially GF and nut-free lines.
-I had a nice chat with Rich from my favorite ginger beer company, Reeds. Have you ever had their soda? It simply excellent ginger-y soda goodness [without corn syrup and other bad stuff]. I’m told, next time you’re at a Marriott and you order a dark and stormy, you’ll be drinking Reed’s ginger beer.