“you must be in heaven!”

My cell phone rang while I was standing in the middle of the Moscone Center, surrounded by artisan cheeses, chocolate, salumi, coffee, olive oils, vinegars, and just about every specialty food item there is.  I looked at my phone and noticed it was Jim calling from the east coast.  “I’m at the Fancy Food Show eating my weight in cheese and now staring at the Vosges chocolate booth and their chocolate bacon bars!” I exclaimed.  “You must be in heaven!” he quipped back. Yep, that pretty much summed it up.

Hits:

Fernando Pensato – This family run company from Monaco first made their fortune making shoes.  Now, they make high-end olive oils and vinegars and I’ve gotta say, I had the best vinegar I have ever had in my life here.  Their 8 year balsamic was thick and full of flavor.  Their white balsamic was clean and light.  Both had a soft, yet dense consistency that was extremely pleasant.  I can’t imagine having any other brand of vinegar now and be happy.  Their bergamot olive oil was absolutely dreamy.   Unfortunately, you can’t get any of these in the US.  Yet…

Yancey’s Fancy – NY Maple Cheddar.  By far, my favorite cheese from the show.  Sweet maple syrup blended into mild and sharp cheddars.  I see a mac ‘n NY Maple Cheddar cheese in my future.

Beehive Cheese Co. – Seahive.  Last year, Beehive introduced me to their Barely Buzzed which is now one of my favorite cheeses.  This year they are introducing Seahive, a yummy blend of  salt and honey.

Kelly’s Kitchen – Strawberry Cheesecake Cheese Ball.  I am normally not a cheese ball kinda gal but this one was really tasty.  Cream cheese, butter cheese and strawberries rolled in graham crackers was a shot of  melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness.

Ohgave! – Maple Agave Syrup.  If you love the flavor of maple syrup but hate the sugary sweetness, this is a great alternative.

21st Amendment Brewery – Hell or High Watermelon Wheat in a can!  Finally!

J & D’s Bacon products – Their products impart a certain smokiness (but not necessarily bacon-ness) to whatever you’re cooking and will make your mouth water.  Their goods are kosher and vegetarian, too.  And, they gave me a bacon envelope, which when licked, tastes like bacon!

Misses:

Susan Rice Truffled Popcorn – I can’t pinpoint it, but this just didn’t taste right.  And I LOVE truffles.

Jelly Belly’s Barf jelly bean – One of their “Beanbozzled” items, I decided to try the Barf (which was originally called “Vomit”).  I thought,  “How bad could it be?”  After a few chews, it was definitely reminiscent of those times when I’ve had a few too many beers.  Not pleasant.  After seeing my face, the kind sales rep immediately handed me their “Toothpaste” flavored jelly bean, and wouldn’t you know it, it cleared up that Barf taste right away.  Go figure.

Chocolate Cheese – I don’t remember what purveyor had this, but I remembered thinking it tasted too much like chocolate and if you wanted chocolate, why not just eat chocolate?

On The Fence:

Black Garlic – Fermented garlic looks like a fig, tastes like garlicky prune.  Interesting texture, milder in smell than a normal clove of garlic but still has that nice, residual taste of garlic.

Nice Try But I Don’t Think It’ll Ever Fly:

Cupless Joe coffee pills – While the fewer bathroom breaks are an incentive to take these, you need to take four of these horse pills to equal one cup of coffee.  I think I’d miss the warmness of holding a steaming cuppa joe in my hand.

Tomorrow is Day Two of the show.  More manana, I’m sure!

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