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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Food, Glorious Food: One Man's Fancy Food Show Experience

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 4:43 PM

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The Fancy Food Show returned to Moscone Center last week, and as usual the task of shuffling from one free sample to another was more challenging than might be expected.

The Center, as you probably know, covers several acres of sprawling subterranean SOMA real estate, and last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday a hefty percentage of its floorspace was carpeted with 1,250 booths offering nibbles from here, there and around the globe. As a professional food writer with an obsessive-compulsive streak, I really wanted to visit each and every one of those fancy-food purveyors, but after only an hour or so of blue cheese and olive oil and shortbread, I have to admit I started to weaken. During the second hour I got more choosy about what I was stuffing down my gullet, and after the third hour I simply avoided anything that looked like it was going to kill me.

Overindulgence notwithstanding, there were some exceptionally tasty sips and noshes among the 80,000 onsite chocolates, mustards, preserves, pates, cheeses, caviar, seafood, ice cream, salsas, chips and sodas from Morocco, Tahiti, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Belgium, Costa
Rica, Egypt and points north, south, east and west.

I was especially fond of Nita Bee's sweet potato pie, Alaska Pure Berry's tart, terrific salmonberry preserves, Lykovouno's buttery Greek olive oil, Bionade's all-natural ginger ale, sweetriot's dairy-free chocolate-covered cacao nibs, Fleuron d'Anjou's shallot confit with orange peel and cointreau, Magic Morsels' incredibly rich brownies, John Wayne's organic Bar-B-Que beef jerky, Tommy's bracing margarita mix (a delectable known quantity hereabouts), Meyenberg's silky, seductive goat butter, Heritage's crisp and airy popcorn, San Gennaro's lush precooked grits, Sence's rose nectar (an excellent cocktail-mixer option), Great Spirits' moist and boozy bundt cakes, Sweet Ella's fragrant organic peanut butter, Valerie's incredible sea salt truffles, Yarra Valley Dairy's fluffy, garlicky handcrafted feta, Fabrique Delices' lusty French salami, Marieke's fenugreek-powered Wisconsin gouda, Mrs. McGarrigle'sinvigorating wasabi lime mustard, Dr. Bob's vanilla ice cream out of L.A., Sevilio's slow-roasted yellow tomatoes and Browniepops' luscious, decadent brownies on a stick.

Just a nice balanced meal when you get right down to it.

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Matthew Stafford


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