Posts Tagged ‘Fancy Food Show’

Fine Chocolate and Fancy Food

Monday, January 25th, 2010

— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Twice a year the artisans and merchants of “fancy” foods gather in New York and San Francisco for the Summer and Winter Fancy Food Shows, sponsored by the NASFT—National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Some 45,000 buyers walk aisle after aisle after aisle perusing, sniffing, nibbling and evaluating a mind-boggling 250,000 products from all around the world, including gourmet chocolates, handmade chocolate, chocolate truffles and fine chocolate.

Fancy Food Show

Just prior to the start of the Fancy Food Show, our own talented group of artisans gathers for our semi-annual meeting of the FCIA—Fine Chocolate Industry Association. It’s a fun and fascinating group that includes professionals from all around the country involved in chocolate from blossom to bean to bonbon and bar: growers/producers, chocolatiers, chocolate makers, pastry chefs, chocolate manufacturers, marketers, writers, educators and specialty retailers.

Chicks CollectionThe winter confluence of these groups took place January 16th-19th in San Francisco, so I grabbed my umbrella, trench coat and Wellies (have you seen our California weather lately?) and hit the road (or the airport and train station anyway).

Our FCIA program this year included a new feature called the Gallery Showcase in which members were given a small presentation space to “showcase” some of their latest and greatest or soon-to-be-released products. This was the first time that our fun and flavorful new Easter Chicks made their public debut. Chicks officially “hatch” on March 1st; they make wonderful chocolate gifts. Chicks make an excellent companion chocolate to our 24-karat gold Spring assortments.

Sticky Almond ChickThe aww-factor was pretty high as my fellow association members considered the amount of painstaking detail involved in creating these hand-made chocolates. Each Chick is carefully hand-painted (eyes, beak, face/body, shell top and bottom), then cast in Private Reserve Premium Dark Chocolate (64% cacao), creamy Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%) or Snowy White Chocolate (33%), and filled with layers of flavors including Bumble Berry, Cherries Jubilee, Orange Orchard, Sticky Almond and Sweet Sesame Seed Crunch, among others.

The educational portion of the evening focused on an informative—and surprisingly entertaining—panel discussion focusing on the mystery, myths and facts around the health benefits of chocolate. An impressive panel of scientists and experts were assembled to explore the topic. They included: David Stuart, Director Natural Product Sciences for The Hershey Company; Catherine Kwik-Uribe, PhD Research Scientist for Mars; Joan Steuer, President of Chocolate Marketing and Founding Editor of Chocolatier (now Dessert Professional); and Clay Gordon, Founder of The Chocolate Life (online community).

The scientists presented data from research studies suggesting that chocolate does in fact yield beneficial effects from consumption including improvement in blood flow within 20 minutes of consumption and a reduction in blood pressure with daily consumption of small amounts (more studies are underway to further validate these findings). Clay discussed the benefits associated with cocoa and chocolate’s exceedingly high ORAC values (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity, one of the primary methods for measuring and comparing antioxidant properties in foods), and Joan Steuer reminded us all that even if chocolate is ultimately determined to be a “health food” by any scientific standard, we should all remember the primary reason to consume is for the pure pleasure of the chocolate-eating experience.

The following day I put on my walking shoes and traversed over 180,000 square feet of exhibits at Moscone Center. Pure Power BarI must admit to being a little myopic, focusing on the wonderful world of gourmet chocolate and our wonderful supporting vendors (packaging and specialty ingredients), but I did “slow my roll” a bit around the dozens of cheese booths (hey, I grew up in Wisconsin and now live in California… there’s whey in my blood) I encountered, not to mention artisan sausages and charcuterie producers. Of course, the What’s New/What’s Hot section is not to be missed, either. Lots of “green” offerings this year, and gluten-free was all the rage… none quite as good our gluten-free PurePower Peanut Bars.

Every style of specialty food is represented in a demonstration of America’s seemingly unlimited entrepreneurial spirit that drives artisans of every style to “take the plunge” and bring their craft to market. It’s only too bad that they don’t add a day for the public, allowing the vast community of foodies to come through to “try and buy.” It would definitely be a finger-lickin’ win/win for all concerned!

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The "Fancy Pants" of Food Shows

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

The New York Summer Fancy Foods Show

Fancy Food ShowSince 1955, the Fancy Food Shows, produced by the NASFT (The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade) in both New York (summer) and California (winter) are North America’s largest specialty food and beverage marketplaces.

This is where roughly 24,000 attendees go to taste and consider new products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and, of course, chocolate. This year, in New York, there were over 2,300 exhibitors—including Choclatique—from about 80 countries.

It is a place that retailers go to discover what’s new and innovative in the world of food and beverage products. These attendees come to see thousands of exhibitors from all over the globe. Most are passionate entrepreneurs like Joan and me who have created their own recipes and started their own companies. At this show you can learn about these trend-setting businesses and watch them sell to decision-makers as they showcase more than 250,000 innovative products.

The International Pavilions are very exciting, presenting exotic new specialty foods from all over the world—some seldom seen in the U.S. There are also dozens of seminars, workshops, tours, tastings, cooking classes and special events at each show.

This year Choclatique released 8 new products for consideration to the retail trade.

These included:

  • Moon Rocks Chocolate—celebrating the 40th anniversary of man’s first walk on the moon. With galactic flavors such as Apollo Almond and Cosmic Caramel Crunch, these delicious confections boldly go where no chocolate has gone before.
  • The Jewel Box Collection—rare and beautiful confections designed to represent the finely-crafted precious and semi-precious birthstones that have engaged mankind from the beginning of time.
  • Napa Valley Wine Chocolates—available in eight amazing varieties including Late Harvest Cabernet Chocolate, Fall Vineyard Merlot Chocolate, Estate Chardonnay Chocolate, Sparkling Blanc Chocolate, Old Oak Barrel-Aged Port Chocolate, First-Crush Fume Blanc Chocolate, Zinfandel Cuvée Chocolate, and Pretty in Pink “Blush” Chocolate.
  • Elephant—Seriously Strong Chocolate (76%)—mind-blowing in its complexity, rivaling many of the high percentage cacao chocolates from the European legacy chocolate makers. It’s comparable to chocolates with higher cacao content. Elephant Chocolate shows off Choclatique’s mastery of chocolate blending. It is a harmonious mélange of Criollo and Trinitario beans that brings out the light floral aromas of ripe cherry and the essence of raisin top notes. There are deep chocolate layers punctuated by the complex flavors of tart citrus, red fruit and roasted walnut and almond notes.
  • Peanut Brittle Bites—an abundance of U.S. grown, Spanish-style red-skin peanuts and a perfectly-cooked buttery sugar brittle.
  • Chocolate-Covered Peanut Brittle Bites—a twist on the original, with the addition of Choclatique’s Prestige Milk Chocolate (32%) coating, and crushed peanuts for a texture that is as great as the taste.
  • Chocolate-Almond Butter Toffee Bites—a blend of pure Hawaiian cane sugar, dairy-fresh butter and real vanilla all covered in our Choclatique Private Reserve Dark Chocolate (64%), and sprinkled with ground, oven-roasted California almonds, toasted cocoa nibs and Saigon cinnamon.
  • Pure Power—100% Gluten-Free Power Bar—a delicious, high protein (9.5g) peanut bar that is chock-full of U.S.A. grown Virginia peanuts and all natural ingredients that are commonly found in your own pantry.

New York Summer 2009 Fancy Food Show

Joan Vieweger and Ed Engoron at the New York Summer Fancy Food Show 2009

We handed out nearly 5,000 pieces of chocolate over 3 days and talked to over 400 key retailer buyers, brokers and distributors, many of whom will now begin to carry Choclatique products.

So, now is the time to start planning your personal and corporate Christmas gifts—all the retail buyers are!

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