San Francisco's Fancy Food Show Highlights Local Flavor

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Last weekend, for the first time in years, I attended a fancy food show, held in San Francisco and sponsored by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. The sheer number of booths and exhibitors was mind-boggling. The amount of ground covered took every ounce of my energy. The show was split between two halls. Each had a distinct feeling - the South Hall was "old school," with many countries grouping their products together. The mostly male, mostly older representatives wore suits, their more serious demeanor perhaps supporting their view that food was all about business.

The North Hall, however, was just fun. The vendors happily shared their products and the story of their conceptions, creating an intimacy between exhibitor and attendee. The result was that I wanted these companies to be successful. The energetic atmosphere propelled me from one booth to the next, so I had no choice but to continue up and down the aisles.

There were themes a-plenty - chocolates infused with fruit flavors, teas infused with fruit flavors, a plethora of jams and jellies and barbeque sauces and salts. Only a small number of products or companies, however, stood out as so new or exciting that they broke free of the usual variation of a theme. Just thinking about the two vendors below makes me happy:

Ramar Foods International, "the flavor of the Philippines," is a local company from Pittsburg, California, that is destined to become a power player. This family-run organization has managed to bridge the gap between the Filipino culture and the general population, offering, among many items, frozen foods and ice creams that burst with flavor. The staff at the show were exuberant, confident that anyone tasting their delicious offerings would be happy, and reluctant to leave. These products are sure to attract any consumer who is searching for a delicious meal, clearly made with care and love.

Giusto's Specialty Foods and Flour Mills, also local from South San Francisco, was a fascinating booth to visit. The personable Sales Manager clearly loved his job, happy to describe the ways in which this company not only produced high quality natural and organic baking products, but also had made inroads into the increasingly popular gluten-free market, ensuring safe products with dedicated blending facilities. What impressed me the most, however, was that Giusto's is able to custom-mill flours and custom-blend products, even in small quantities, showing a desire to commit to the needs of each customer. This is a company with a 70-year history that is reinventing itself as it keeps up with the specialty food market.

I was inspired by so many booths at the NASFT exhibition, and I tasted so many incredible foods and confections. I can't wait for next year's show.

EBAC thanks the National Association of the Specialty Food Trade for access to this show.

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barbour stövlar from barbour stövlar on December 3, 2013 1:00 PM

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