Foods That Tickled My Fancy

Fancy Food Show San Francisco

Come January the Fancy Food Show takes over San Fran as 1,000s of brands set up shop to tout their wares and push their free samples. Some products are brand new, others are old favorites, some just jumping on the trend bandwagon, and still others are downright absurd. It’s tons to sift through but after tasting the good, the gross, and the scary, I settled on a few worthy products. Keep an eye out for these foods as they become increasingly popular in the year ahead:

Joseph Banks Cassava Chips

They market their chips as being nutritiously superior to a potato chip, and, while that’s great, I like them because they’ve got good flavor. Made with cassava root (aka yuca) and from New Zealand, these chips also have a more exotic background than any potato I know. The chilli and kaffir lime flavor is my top choice but you can order a 4-pack here and decide for yourself.

Not as scary an ingredient list as most commercial sodas and naturally fermented (much like beer), Bionade is a gentlemen’s soda if there ever was one. Subtle in its flavor, and not too sweet, all flavors I tried are solid but the Lychee and Elderberry are my picks. Stay ahead of the curve and order them online.

Ito En Mate Sencha Shot

Ito En is my commercial tea of choice as it’s consistently brewed, unsweetened, and actually healthy. At this year’s show they unveiled an addition to their Sencha Shot line in Maté flavor; it’s got a great clean flavor with a hint of smokiness — perfect for people like me who are already into genmaicha tea.

Artisan Biscuits Sweets

I’m a sucker for good packaging but I won’t look twice if what’s inside isn’t worth it — Artisan Biscuits win on both accounts. Their savory, crisp, thin crackers are a must on a cheese plate, but I hadn’t come across their cookies. True to English tradition, the cookies are fabulously refined and not too sweet; lemon curd is the new flavor but I find their straightforward vanilla simply delicious.

Tasmanian Honey Company Leatherwood Honey

More than any other honey I’ve ever had, this stuff’s got major terroir and it’s backed up by a rich, sweet, slightly herbal flavor that shows just how complex honey can be. It’s made from the all-but-extinct leatherwood trees of western Tasmania and has already created a buzz amongst honey makers for its unique taste. As with most obscure foodstuffs, you can buy it at Amazon.

Mother In Law’s Kimchi

Any Southern Californian will tell you that Garden Grove is the place for legit Asian food. I’ve never made it to Jang Mo Gip, but the Korean restaurant became so well-known for their kimchi that they started bottling it. And this kimchi’s got a lot going for it – fermented food are all the rage, the flavors are really nicely balanced, and the toungue-in-cheek name is memorable. Personally, I was taken by the adorable elderly women behind the Fancy Food show booth who insisted I try the best bottled kimchi I’d ever had. They were right.