Sorry folks, don't really have a ton of pictures - because A) I only had my phone and B) was always walking around with someone who had a big honkin' camera and I didn't want to intrude.
Met Yod Sawa of Chomple very randomly in the press room, who by the way has surprisingly small and delicate hands for a man. Thought I'd share.
There were far too many items for me to talk about all of them - the fancy food show was packed, and huge, and full of stuff. However, I'll take a stab at my top 10 highlights:
1. Smoked Olive Oil
I must have brought everyone I ran into at NASFT to this booth at some point. Sonoma was the favorite - smooth and delightfully smoky without being harsh or overpowering. These guys are going to be huge - expect to see them in lots of food mags this year.
2. Secret Stash Salts
Okay, I'm also a friend of Janna so I may be a bit biased, but really, these salts are super awesome and many people who do not know them also agree. There were plenty of truffle salts at the show, but damn, chorizo salt...bloody mary salt...cardamom almond salt..Secret stash got it goin on.
3. Savory Macarons
Not everyone liked these, but I maintain that they simply didn't get a good one. A few booths were giving out various flavors of savory macarons, which leads me to believe that we'll see this as trend this year. Personal favorite was honey macaron with goat cheese and pepper/cumin dusting on top. Lovely.
4. Happy Goat caramels
I love caramel. I love goats. What could be better?
Seriously though, goat caramel is the bomb. I often have problems with goat milk dairy products, as they usually taste like...well, goat. These don't taste like goat. They taste like yum.
5. uhh...it's all becoming a blur..oh wait! Deb deb rub rub.
Aside from an awesome, awesome T-shirt (think something about rubbing..out? or..on? oh boy.)
DDRR has some tasty spice rubs for various meats and fishes. They also have the best spice packaging ever. Their beef rub for example is called Moo Rub and features a dewy-eyed, slightly nervous looking cartoon cow.
Don't worry, cute Mr. Cow, I will make you taste nice.
6. Black Garlic
Black Garlic is regular garlic that has been submitted to water-boarding, sensory deprivation and isolation until it becomes a quivering mass of jelly.
It takes on a caramel aspect, a bite akin to dried fruit and turns utter black - really unlike anything else I've had.
You can use it for all sorts of things, but the most surprising use at the show was as a very interesting energy drink. I got a head of it as a sample, and will have to figure out something to do with it.
7. Um. Can the rest of these be taken up by cheese? Because there was a whole crap ton of cheese.
Too many for me to remember. But there were some very good ones, including a softer cheese with mustard seeds which would be stellar on a sandwich.
8. Oh. Drinks. Lots of interesting ones.
Kili Gold Ginger Bag (probably to be found in your local asian market) - nice ginger tea, no steeping (its granules that you add to water). Was very nice both hot and iced, and sweetly gingery without being sugary.
HonestTea is coming out with Kombucha, which I'd never had before but liked, despite the fact that SOMETHING swimming around the bottle went down my throat before I could identify it.
Lots of interesting new teas, which I got samples of but haven't tried yet. As long as they are better than Eggnoggnininin I'm sure they'll do fine.
9. A ridiculous amount of chocolate.
In all honesty, I could not tell you about the chocolates, because they all kind of went into one big calorie-heavy blur for me. I will tell you that Vosges had some absolutely delicious stuff, including a curry ice cream, bacon toffee ice-cream which was very nicely not-too-bacon-y,
and some fantastic hot chocolate with lemon verbena in it. Oh yeah, and chocolate bars.
Including mushroom chocolate bars. (Still no badger or snake chocolate bars.)
10. And last but not least...BaconSalt.
And Bacon LipBalm. And Envelopes. I don't remember the last time I used an envelope other than to pay off one of my bills, but I'm sure that my landlord will appreciate his bacon-scented rent check this month.
Apparently they also had bacon ranch dressing powder, but I didn't try that. I did however try the bacon-flavored popcorn which did not in fact taste of bacon, but was lovely otherwise.
BaconSalt also gets brownie points for being one of the few vendors in the whole show that gave a damn about social media, which was very refreshing.
I don't want to get too much into it because honestly it's not my place, but bloggers were treated rather poorly this year - both by many vendors and by those running the fancy food show. Maybe it was because I didn't have my big honkin' camera. Mention what you write for and noses headed skyward.
Like it or not, this is the new face of the press - better get used to it. I'm very sorry that old media is dying, but don't be bitter, please.