fancy feast

My dad’s been trying to get me back into the food biz, my mom is pushing me to write more so I decided to kill two birds in attending the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade convention at the Moscone yesterday and write about it. It has probably been at least 30 years since my last NASFT show. 2500 exhibitors, encompassing the north and south wing of the convention center, it is humongous.  The minute you step onto the convention center floor, your senses are attacked.  Every imaginable artisanal type of cheese, olive oil, meat, coffee, tea, water, bbq sauce, mustard, chocolate, cookie, herbs and spices, and yes, even my Bacon Salt.

I sampled way too many cheese cubes, salami slices, and chocolate nibs to write about all of them so here are just a few of the exhibitor highlights of what I thought were noteworthy:

Cypress Grove : I’ve spoken of my love for their Humboldt Fog, and recently I discovered their Midnight Moon. Yesterday I got to sample most all of their other cheeses and I fell in love each time. Every one was just as buttery as the last, but their herb chevre was a standout.

Rogue Creamery : I have had and loved Rogue Ale for more than a few years now, but I had no idea there was a Rogue Creamery, as well. Naturally, my two favorites here were the Chocolate Stout Cheddar (the flavors  start with the chocolate stout, end with the cheddar) and Morimoto’s Soba Ale Cheddar made from Buckwheat.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras : I have only had foie gras a few times in my life and both times have been slightly underwhelming with visions of Mother Goose squawking while living in a tiny cage and being force fed through a long tube shoved down her throat. That all changed when I stopped by the HV booth and listened about Anthony Bourdain’s endorsement so I took a slice of toast and spread onto it the most buttery, delectable duck liver I could ever dream of. And I can dream pretty big.  Trust in The Bone.

Stubb’s BBQ Sauce : Okay, it wasn’t the actual sauce that made this so memorable. It was what was done with the sauce. Jason Baalman is an artist who paints using a basting brush and BBQ sauce, namely Stubb’s Honey Pecan and Mesquite sauces.

Chef Paul : Paul Prudhomme. Shaking hands with this icon truly made my day and for a while, at least, let me forget how much my feet were hurting and tired at this point. He’s in a wheelchair now, but he’s looking good.

Mochi Krunch : When I walked up to this booth, I had no idea the connection my family has shared with the Hayakawa family who run Impressions Fine Foods in Los Angeles.  Not only did a couple of the sisters used to work for my dad, but their father used to play golf with my father.

Beehive Cheese Co. :  Barely Buzzed is a wonderful buttery white cheddar with a hint of lavender, and rubbed with ground coffee.  Yes, this works.  Believe me.

Observations: Of all the tea purveyors there, there weren’t any Chinese companies represented.  British, Indian, Japanese and American, but no Chinese.  I never knew that Patti Labelle, and John Wayne were food entrepeneurs.

2 Comments on “fancy feast”

  1. Banjo Bandolas January 20, 2009 at 13:47 #

    While Rogue Creamery and Rogue Ales have a great relationship and make great products, they are 2 seperate companies.

    • gfork January 20, 2009 at 15:54 #

      thanks for clarifying that. I stand corrected!

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