After I experienced a true treat attending my second Summer Fancy Food Show, I dove deep into learning all about the specialty food industry. Did you know that specialty food, defined as unique and high-value foodstuff made in small quantities from high-quality ingredients, is a rapidly growing market and yields over 100 billion dollars annually? According to The State of the Specialty Food Industry 2015, the fastest growing categories include pasta, pasta sauces, nut butters, and ready-to-drink tea and coffee.
I am looking forward to attending the 2016 show in Manhattan to discover even more food brands and innovative approaches to culinary products. In the mean time, let’s jump back to 2015 to read about my ten favorite Specialty Food items.
Turkish Figs & Goat Cheese, Saffron Road
The exotic, savory hor d’oeuvre that will win everyone over! The concept is ingenious: creamy goat cheese with tart figs wrapped in a crispy, flaky phyllo dough. Don’t hesitate for seconds (and thirds)!
Radical Rainbow Cookies, Pride Enjoy
Imagine, a scrumptious and moist rainbow layer cake cookies that are handcrafted utilizing ingredients with zero potential allergens. These were a winner with my daughter, who would specifically request these for dessert.
Key Lime Pie, Delicious Delights Bakery
This key lime pie knocks it out of the park. Luscious, creamy and made with the finest ingredients. I surprised my guests over the holidays, who were all extraordinary impressed. I may have to stock up for the summer as I know they will be a hit at my BBQs. I just urge you to be generous when slicing.
I attempt to savor each one at a leisurely pace paired with my favorite black or white tea, depending upon the flavor. Each time I visit NYC, I make it a point to stop by their Madison Avenue location. During my next venture into Manhattan, I will make a stop at their Soho tearoom.
Sea Salt Caramels, Annie B’s Popcorn & Caramels
It’s a tango between sweet and salty: each stick of caramel is teeming with a river of velvety, buttery goodness. What may catch you by surprise are the touches of sea salt hidden in each bite. Each piece is a soft, luxurious and sensational, melt-in-your-mouth treat.
Almond Spread, Endangered Species Chocolate
You may have noticed I have a serious sweet spot. Any opportunity to help endangered animals, I jump right to it! I found that the creamy Almond Spread by Endangered Species Chocolate was a great addition to a chocolate, banana and date smoothie. For summer soirees, spread a generous dollop on fruit slices or use as a spread on graham crackers for homemade s’mores.
So Hum, CocoRau
If chocolate participated in yoga classes, they would attend them at the home of CocoRau, my new favorite chocolate company that creates aesthetically appealing raw chocolate with a mild energy boost. They taste best when chilled in the fridge. My favorite bites are Samadhi that had a gentle, refreshing crunch with an essence of orange, and So Hum, crafted with a gentle touch of lavender.
Mango Coconut Rum Cake, Full Spirited Flavours
The most decadent, moist rum cake you will ever taste. Each bite was irresistibly mouthwatering. They kept getting tastier and tastier, I just couldn’t put them down. I had to enjoy them right then and there.
Bleecker Street Brittle, Studmuffin Desserts
This peanut brittle is superior in quality; not sticky, but rather “peanuty” with delicate, fine layers of sweet crunch. These high-end, luxury desserts are in a category of their own with a taste and texture that is unlike anything you have ever tried before. Their petit buckets are brilliant for giving as housewarming gifts.
PNut Punch, Terra Nut
A healthy energy boost with a taste that rivals that of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup?! There’s a reason why I carry these delectable snacks with me almost everywhere I go, and especially when I have long commutes into the city and internationally. I love the adorable sack they are sent in; great for reusing and storage for small kitchen items. I use them to store my cookie cutters.