Could there be anything more fun than strolling through a convention hall filled with room after room of tantalizing food and drink from over 1,300 exhibitors offering 80,000 products to taste from all over the world?
That was the scene at the Winter Fancy Food Show, put on each year by the Specialty Food Association. Two of Santa Barbara Public Market’s very own food producers were there, and gave us a re-cap of the event. Hear what Jim Kirkley of il Fustino Oils & Vinegars and Rossell Studer of Crazy Good Bread thought of this year’s Show, which was held in San Francisco.
What were some highlights of this year’s Fancy Food Show?
JIM: Tasting 100 year balsamic vinegar [from artisan Giuseppe Giusti] was definitely one highlight. We discovered a new kafir lime vinegar we will be carrying soon. Possible sources for cherry seed oil, pumpkin, tomato, hazelnut, chili seed oils. Talked with “Best Ice Cream” award winner McConnells of Santa Barbara! Found sources for many, many new products we will be bringing in over the next few months.
ROSSELL: We always love to see new products and meet new vendors.
What were some food trends you saw?
JIM: Too much barbeque sauce! too many products made with kale! Lots of bacon based products (bacon candy!). Lots of products based on ancient grains like quinoa and amaranth; there was a quinoa based breakfast item like instant oatmeal.
ROSSELL: Gluten-free has taken over. The bacon spreads were interesting and [specialty] waters were plentiful.
Why does the Fancy Food Show matter for you and your business?
ROSSELL: We are always on the look-out for products that complement bread. I always leave inspired!
JIM: The Fancy Food Show is how we stay on top of the newest and most interesting products. We bring them into our store way ahead of the larger chains … because, as a small vendor, we can move much faster. Part of the il Fustino experience is our customers always like coming in because we have new and interesting products to try, in addition to our mainstay oils and vinegars.