I just came back from San Francisco, where I have attended The Fancy Food Show’s Winter Event at the Moscone Center. It is a three-day affair and you better be prepared to get callouses on your feet and rumbling in your digestive system if you want to see and taste the most products. I also had some fun at the Summer Event in New York City, so I was attempting to compare the two events.
Some obvious difference hit me nearly immediately following entering the Exhibit Halls:
- Exhibitors in this event (SF) appeared to be more generous
- The tasting pieces were larger as compared to the bites in the Summer Event
- More companies offered to taste their products.
- More “boozy” products were presented, so you could get drunk if you so desired.
Talking about alcohol, I must admit I tasted a few things myself, but mainly because of their uniqueness and health promoting qualities (believe that and believe in Santa Clause). My first visit took me to a company named “The Gingerpeople”; I truly like ginger and where else could I find so many products with the main ingredient being ginger. Aside from that I saw that they won the coveted Sofi Award for some of their sauces; not to mention all the other awards they collected over a 10-year period while presenting their innovative products in these events. I was curious to taste these winners. While I have enjoyed myself at their counter, they informed me that at 3 pm they will be conducting a “happy ginger hour”, using their Ginger GizerR and Ginger SootherR as the base. I immediately setup my cell phone to buzz me at 2:45 pm.
Upon arriving to their booth, they started to serve us nearly immediately, despite the fact that there were no other customers. First I tasted the “Gingerita”, which, as its name implies contained Tequila, but based on the taste, not more than a few droplets; then I moved to “Gingerini” (supposedly with Vodka) that had a very similar feel and flavor. To be fair, both drinks were refreshing and quite tasty, not to mention healthy, but I could drive safely following pouring down a couple of these.
They provide all kind of recipes in their handouts, as well as on their website, so I thought to present here a sample mix (a slight variation from the “Gingerpeople’s”)
Meyer GingeritaR (copyright by CAF.com)
3 oz Ginger GizerR (contains: 3 distinctive ginger ingredients)
1 1/2 oz Tequila (preferably Marquez de Valencia Tequila Reposado)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz Freshly squeezed Meyer Lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice (about nearly 1 lime)
1/2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger mixed with the zest of one Meyer Lemon (1/2 oz fresh ginger)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Meyer Lemon wedge for garnish
CAF’s Mixing Method
In a cocktail shaker, add ice, Tequila, freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed lime juice, and Grand Marnier. Shake vigorously for a full 2 minutes. On a separate plate mix the freshly ground ginger, the zest of the Meyer lemon and 1/4 teaspoons salt. Moisten the rim of he margarita glass with the Ginger GizerR and dip the rim of the glass into the ginger/lemon/salt mixture. Pour the Ginger GizerR into the cocktail shaker and stir it (DO NOT SHAKE IT AT THIS TIME). Fill the glass with the drink, garnish it with a Meyer lemon wedge and CHEERS to your health! (Note: you can serve it on ice or straight up, depending on your personal preference).
I was looking forward to tasting as many things as possible during the 2-days I planned to stay, but even with the extension of my stay to 3 days, it was an impossible task. In addition, I made a most unfortunate error by not preparing my press ID and as a result I could not enter with my camera. I will try to be very descriptive in these posts that cover this fabulous event, even dough I know that no writing can replace the “pictures worth a 1000 words”.
Another ginger place I liked, called Fever-Tree, from London. They create refreshing carbonated drinks without any artificial sweeteners; I tasted the Ginger Beer and the Ginger Ale. Both were absolutely delightful and tasted nothing like the Ginger Ale I know from Canada Dry. I think we should all look for them at WholeFoods or the Food Emporium.
The largest crowd was seen at around the booth of the Charm City Cakes (Ace of Cakes show on FoodNetwork), particularly, when Duff Goldman, the owner of the place arrived. Camera, flashlights and hooplas…….People were standing in long lines to get his “chicken scratch” on a piece of paper (or a fondant?); but seriously, he appears to be a personable, friendly guy, just as you see him on his show (if you did) and his employees were trying to answer as many questions as they could in between cutting colorful fondants into all kinds of shapes and sizes for one of their fun cake creations. This is the last season of the show – they will be missed.
Stay tuned for part 2.