Special Feature: Products Sally Recommends
2008 Fancy Food Show: Linda Gassenheimer’s Favorite Finds
The specialty, gourmet food industry is exploding. It’s a bright light in this period of a stressed economy. The industry has enjoyed 23 percent sales growth over the past 2 years. It seems that people are buying more specialty and natural food products to enjoy at home and at work. And major retailers like Costco are selling specialty foods.
Each summer, the Fancy Food Show, held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City, plays host to purveyors of specialty foods. Thousands of foodies attend - this year some 25,000. If you want to know what will be filling our gourmet shelves, this is the show to attend.
I noted several major trends this year:
Organic foods were popular last year, but this year the category has mushroomed. There was an entire floor devoted to natural and organic foods.
Beverages are another major growth item. A wide variety of drinks with no added sugar, healthful ingredients, varied flavors, lower calories and energy additives were displayed.
Green and environmentally-friendly products are becoming more widely available through new specialty offerings.
Candy and snacks are the biggest growth products.
Cheese is the dominant product in the specialty category and new products include dry mixes to blend and spreads to put on top of cheese to turn it into a more interesting appetizer.
Here are some of my favorite finds:
Looking for a refreshing drink? Here are a few:
Organic, no sugar added sparkling water is refreshing with a true fruit flavor.
My favorite flavors are the sparkling blackberry and peach.
Suggested Retail Price $1.39 to1.69 for 12 ounce bottle, www.izze.com
These are 100 percent organic sparkling drinks with no added sugar. My pick is the yumberry. The yumberry (real name: yang-mei) has been grown in China for over 2,000 years and is packed with antioxidants. Last year’s mega healthful fruit was acai and the year before pomegranates. This year those two are still prevalent, but the newbie is the yumberry. The flavor is something like a sour cherry, but sweeter.
It’s pricey at Suggested Retail Price $3.59 for a 12 ounce bottle., www.frutzzo.com
Teas by Republic of Tea
Red Cherry White Tea is delicious and low in caffeine. Lady Apple tea is tasty and charitable. The Company has launched a sip and make a difference campaign. It will donate $1.00 from each sale of the Lady Apple Tea to the Susan B. Komen breast cancer foundation. Suggested Retail Price Lady Apple tea package (50 bags) $10.50; Red Cherry White Tea (50 bags) $11.00, www.repuclicoftea.com
Sauces help to spice up any dish.
Do you like curry but don’t have the time or patience to blend and prepare spices? Ready-to-eat Cashew Curry Sauce from Sable & Rosenfeld can be spooned over meat, fish or vegetables to make a delectable Indian-style dish.
Suggested Retail Price $4.99 for 12 ounce bottle, www.sableandrosenfeld.com
Onion Comfit with Fennel from Caley and Cobb
Whole pieces of onion and fennel have a sweetly, sharp flavor that, used from the jar, will complement meats and vegetables. It is unusual to find fennel in a sauce and this one shows the labor of love it took to produce it.
Suggested Retail Price $7.99 for 9 ounce jar, www.caleyandcobb.com,
Sweet Sunshine Sweet Chili Sauce
This mild ancho pepper sauce is flavor without fire. It will add spice to your chicken or any other meat. This is an unusual combination that is not a hot sauce per se, but rather a secret blend of spices that create a pleasant, sweet-hot addition to your dish.
Suggested Retail Price $7.99 or 10.7 oz bottle, www.sweetshunshine.com
Unsalted chicken stock by Kitchen Basics
A good stock can serve as a base for many sauces. This one is not just lower in sodium, it has no added salt. This is stock without all the time and effort to prepare it. It really tastes homemade with a true chicken flavor.
Suggested Retail Price $2.99 for 32 ounces, www.kitchenbasics.net
Comfort Food in Minutes
Twin Hens Beef Pot Pie with a cheesy polenta topping is gluten-free and ready to heat and eat.When you want to take your taste buds up market from the typical deli or frozen prepared meal offerings, here’s a product to consider.
Suggested Retail Price $7.95 for a 9 ounce serving, www.twinhens.com
Lobster Mac and Cheese from the Hancock Gourmet Lobster Company
This is a variation on the ultimate comfort food dressed up with flavorful, whole pieces of lobster. Here is a new product from a wonderful purveyor of lobster. It’s a great idea for a dinner that can be ready in a jiffy combining the ordinary with the spiffy. It’s pricy but tasty.
Suggested Retail Price $32.00 per package for 2, 9-ounce servings, www.HancoockGourmetLobster.com
SNACKS AND SWEETS
Mary’ s Gone Crackers
These crisp, crunchy crackers have a rich, nutty flavor. They’re whole-grain and gluten free. The product comes in multiple flavors. The original had great taste and makes a tasty addition to any appetizer needing a cracker.
Suggested Retail Price $4.50 for 6.5 ounce box, www.marysgonecrackers.com
Tanka Bar from Native American Natural Foods
Made on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, this delicious snack bar is made with buffalo and cranberries. It’s a gourmet beef jerky with only 70 calories and only 1.5 grams of fat.
Suggested Retail Price $2.79 for 1 ounce bar, www.tankabar.com
Banana Chocolate Cherry Granola from Gaby’s Gourmet Granola
Breakfast won’t be the same again. This granola makes a delicious cereal, and it can also be a great snack. This product is organic and wheat free. I love the taste and crunch.
Suggested Retail Price $6.99 for 10 ounce bag, www.gabysgourmetgranola.com
Scharffen Berger’s 10th anniversary chocolate bar.
This limited edition from one of America’s best chocolate makers celebrates their 10 successful years in the sweet business. The 72 percent cocoa bar is called Finisterra and has a smooth, chocolate flavor that’s not bitter. The bar is meant to be special and it is.
Suggested Retail Price $6.50 for a 3 ounce bar, www.scharffenberger.com
Coldstone Creamery Ice Cream Flavors by Jelly Belly
Enjoy your favorite ice cream flavors in a small jelly bean. Partnering with the Coldstone ice cream company, they have produced 5 of the top Coldstone flavors (Chocolate Devotion, Strawberry Blond, Apple Pie a la Mode, Birthday Cake and Mint Chocolate Chip) in jelly beans.
Suggested Retail Price $2.25 for 3.1 ounce package, $25 Gift Package with 2 ice cream dishes filled with Coldstone jelly belly beans, www.coldstonecreamery.com
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products are earth-friendly, biodegradable cleaners. They have an entire range of cleaning products.
Suggested Retail Price $4.99 16 fluid ounce Dish Washing liquid and $11.99 for 16 fluid ounce Counter Top cleaner, www.mrsmeyers.com
Visit Linda at www.DinnerInMinutes.com
Linda Gassenheimer’s latest books:
The Portion Plan: How to Eat the Foods You Love and Still Lose Weight
Prevention's Fit and Fast Meals in Minutes
Mix 'n Match Meals in Minutes for People with Diabetes
published by the American Diabetes Association