I have decided on my new career. I want to be a person who visits food shows, eating the samples, taking pictures of cool food, eating the samples, meeting fun food personalities, and you guessed it, eating the samples. Wait, what do you mean such a job doesn't exist?
Such a job totally exists! I'm convinced the vendors who exhibited their food products at the Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco have my dream job. The show was divided into two giant areas with the North side of the Center featuring more organic, natural products and the South side focusing on more traditionally packaged products. Overall, the show featured everything from unique, new food products to old favorites.
Cookies shaped like mushrooms covered in chocolate? What's not to love about that? A giant assortment of veggie and fruit purees designed to make sauce and smoothie making easier. Ingenious. And Tabasco-flavored chocolate. Interesting.
Everything I read about the show beforehand said to pace myself. What did I do as soon as I entered the exhibit hall? Kicked that advice to the curb. Within the first hour, I sampled everything from pizza and pasta to cheese and crackers to chocolate galore. Needless to say, I felt pretty sick for the second and third hour.
I used that time to chat with the millions of vendors who showcased their products, spoke knowledgeably and passionately about them, and um, provided samples. On display were large spreads of antipasta, a giant amount of black truffles, and a huge spread of flavored salt.
I also met not one, but two celebrities. I'm still trying to figure out whether it was cooler meeting Ina Garten (who was gracious and lovely in person) or the giant Jelly Belly Bean (who was cuddly and gave jelly bean samples). Oh, and I ate lots of pasta. See that glazed look in my eyes? That's because I'm holding bowls four and five on my pasta eating spree. Not because I'm physically incapable of turning down pasta but because my journalistic integrity means I have to be thorough in my pasta research.
And when I got tired of sampling (gasp!), there was so much to see and do until I got hungry again (ten minutes later). And yes, that is Van Gogh's Starry Night and Picasso's Mona Lisa made entirely out of jelly beans.
The best part about it all is coming home and sampling treats in the comfort of your home because let's face it, all of the chocolate started tasting the same after the fifteenth chocolate sample. Here are some of the most unique (and delicious!) products I tried (and loved!):
1) Turbano Plantain Chips - Crunchy and tasty without that oily feel of potato chips. I was partial (super partial) to the Chile Lime flavor. Ingredients: fresh plaintain, vegetable oil, salt, and chile lime flavor. Four ingredients?!? How can you not love that?
2) Gold Rush Kettle Corn - I have no idea how they make packaged kettle corn taste like it just came out of well, a kettle, but these people have perfected that art.
3) Krave Beef Jerky - I thought I didn't like beef jerky because I associated it with those tough sticks sold in gas stations but this beef jerky was so tender and flavorful. I was a fan!
4) Materne GoGo Squeez - Applesauce in a squeezable pouch. No sugar added, 100% fruit, no spoon needed. This stuff is so convenient and delicious, I don't even feel bad that I'm an adult eating applesauce out of a squeezie pouch.