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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Foodie Fun: The Fancy Food Show and Food Fête Favorite Finds and Recipes

This week I attended The Fancy Food Show in San Francisco with my dear friend and fellow food blogger Vanessa Druckman. We had a BLAST. We also attended Food Fête and had an equally good  time. I discovered lots of wonderfully delicious things that I simply must share with you. I’m not getting paid for any of this…these are my favorite discoveries from both shows. Get ready to drool! Oh, and it’s a long post, but it’s seriously full of wonderful treats…and at the end I’ll share two amazing recipes with you! So, dig in!

At the Fancy Food Show there was a room called What’s Hot, What’s New. Vanessa and I loved this space because it was full of new businesses selected for the show. It was fun to meet the owners and hear their stories and passion for their companies.

Vanessa and I both fell head over heels in love with Michelle Crochet and her lovely confections. She started a company called Droga, which means “drug” because she considers chocolate a drug (agreed!). Michelle was a buyer at Williams-Sonoma (hello, dream job) and then struck out on her own to start this business. The packaging is completely adorable. The caramel is made from a honey base as opposed to high-fructose syrup, which gives it nice depth of flavor. And the Rebel Rocky Road tasted lovely as well. You can buy Droga in a few stores in California or online.

Just around the corner from Droga was CC Made, with beautiful packaging and delicious treats! They were serving artisan caramel sauces, which were all wonderful but the chocolate was TO DIE FOR. They served the caramels with different flavored salts, which was really fun to mix and match with the sauces. I don’t see the sauce on their website yet, but I’ll be stalking them until it shows up!

Once we were done with What’s Hot, What’s New we headed over to Italy, where we were met by lots of unfriendly men. So, we scooted over to France, where we met Nicolas from Isigny Ste Mère, who was friendly and fed us lots of amazing food. Visiting this booth made me want to move to France straightaway. First we tried the butter. It was amazing. I ate a giant hunk of it. I’ve never eaten a giant hunk of butter before because, well, it would be gross. But not in this case. Then I tried  fromage frais for the first time, something that my French friend Vanessa knew all about. It’s sort of like a mix of yogurt and crème fraiche, but so much more delicious than either of those items. Nicolas told me to use my “influence” to get fromage frais into the grocery stores here. I’m workin’ on it, Nicolas! 😉 Next we sampled their Eric Ribot Confiture de Lait (milk jam). PEOPLE. I could live on this stuff. Unreal. The flavor is similar to sweetened condensed milk but oh so much better. It would be delicious topped on things like ice cream, pancakes, toast, yogurt…but also completely amazing alone. We need Confiture de Lait all over the U.S. I will not rest until it is so.

While in France, Vanessa made sure we stopped by Comptoir du Cacao. Every single one of their confections was perfect. Again, I’m moving to France…as soon as this post is done. Tell Nate to meet me at the airport.

And while we’re talking chocolate, we tried Tisano Cacao tea. The tea has all the health benefits of chocolate without the sugar or fat. Vanessa and I both enjoyed it and found it to be a fun and interesting new trend.

We also spotted hot chocolate on a stick. The guy was totally unfriendly and unhelpful, and then he expected Vanessa and I to share a cup. Which we didn’t. He begrudgingly gave Vanessa her own, but the milk was cold and the chocolate never melted. I’m not naming names, but I will say that my homemade version is just as tasty and easy to make…so forget buying it! 😉

We discovered La Tourangelle, an artisan oil company with really wonderful oils. The Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil was lovely as was the Pan Asian Stir Fry Oil. Preeti Mistri (of Top Chef fame…she was super friendly and nice!) was there cooking up delicious food. We had the chance to try her Thai Carrot Ginger Soup (recipe at the end of this post), which was so good with just the right amount of heat. Vanessa had tried these oils on her own and made sure to take me by the booth – I’m so glad she did!

On to Food Fete! I didn’t get a ton of photos because it was nighttime, so you’ll just have to trust me that this stuff is good.

We met Anolon and I’ve decided my life’s mission is to get a set of their Nouvelle Copper pans. They have me completely sold.

We also met the Organic Valley folks, who were wonderful. I look forward to working with them in the future! I was especially happy to learn that the Organic Valley milk I buy at Costco comes from all grass-fed cows who live in California, and that their milk is locally-sourced around the country depending on where you live. Yea!

There was a brand new company at the event called Simpli Oat Shakes. These lactose-free shakes were delicious. I must admit, I didn’t think I would be that interested in their product, but after trying it and talking to the unbelievably nice married couple who run the company, I knew I would write about them. If you have lactose-intolerant kids, this would be a great option for them. The chocolate really tastes like chocolate milk. The “Fruits” flavor was really good, too. Heck, I’m not lactose intolerant and I’d drink these puppies! They are working on distribution in the U.S., but you can purchase product on their website.

Pure Dark was in attendance. I’d never had this chocolate. I’m in love.

Bel Gioioso Cheese was also there and they were serving burrata. I’ve written about burrata before when we had it at Cafe Borrone. I didn’t know you could buy it in the grocery store – I’m so excited! The rep said you can find the burrata at regular grocery stores as well as Trader Joe’s.

I was also introduced to Nocciolata, which sells a chocolate hazelnut spread similar to Nutella but BETTER. Yes, better than Nutella. The flavor is great but the texture is what really sets it apart. Plus it’s organic to boot. Very cool.

Last but not least, Stonemill Kitchens was there serving their delicious dips, which can be found at various markets and Costco. They were serving Parmesan Pear and Raspberry Crostinis that I could not stop eating and is the second recipe I will be sharing in this post. You have to make them. So good!

PHEW. That was a doozy of a post. And those were just my very favorite finds…there was so much more, and I didn’t even scratch the surface of the show itself. I’m so glad I attended these events, especially with Vanessa at my side. I hope you get a chance to enjoy a few of these fun items! And I’m working on giveaways so a few of you can for sure try some of these goodies. Cross your fingers!

Click ‘more’ to see the recipes for the Parmesan Pear & Raspberry Crostini and Thai Carrot Ginger Soup recipes.

Thai Carrot Ginger Soup
From Pretti Mistry via La Tourangelle
– 4 Tbsp. La Tourangelle Thai Wok Oil
– 1 large yellow onion, diced
– 2 thumbs ginger, sliced
– 8-10 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced
– 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable stock

Heat wok oil. Saute onions and ginger until onions soften and become translucent. Add carrots and vegetable stock and increase heat to high until stock boils. Cover the pot and simmer it at low heat until carrots are fork tender. Let it cool for about 15 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender or with hand blender. Pass through fine mesh sieve for smooth texture. Season with salt to taste. Fold last 2 tablespoons of wok oil or drizzle on top of individual bowls.

Parmesan Pear & Raspberry Crostini
From Stonemill Kitchens
– 1 baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 30 slices)
– 3/4 Cup oilve oil
– coarse salt and ground pepper
– 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
– 1 Tbsp water
– 1 medium pear, peeled, quartered and seeded and sliced crosswise into 1 inch by 1/8 inch slices
– 30 raspberries, rinsed and patted dry
– 1 10-oz package Stonemill Kitchens Artichoke & Parmesan Dip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange baguette slices on two large rimmed baking sheets; brush both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through (if undersides are not browning, turn crostini over once during baking). Let cool on baking sheets.

Add sugar and water to a small (8 or 9″) saute pan and cook over medium high heat until the water evaporates and the sugar is a nice caramel color.

Add the prepared pear slices and remove from the heat. Cover the pan and set aside for 3-4 minutes to allow the pears to cook slightly; stir to coat the pears with caramel sauce.

Spread each crostini with an even layer of dip then top with pears and raspberries.


  1. Jane,
    Your post makes me weepy because it made me miss you already, and I’ve only been home for a day. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate with. We need to plan our next foodie playdate, SOON!


  2. 2
    Anne L

    Great post thanks for sharing, now I have lots of fun new things to try!

  3. 3

    I wish the FFS was more than 3 days. I missed the Isigny Ste Mere and Comptoir du Cacao ;__; I got so distracted by the French Lover sweets at the Maison Francis Miot booth

    La Tourangelle and Organic Valley products are awesome.

    The Tisano drink was interesting. I would love to have the choco taste and not have to add milk or cream for richness.

    Tell Tale Preserve Co. sells confiture au lait at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (saturday)

    some of the exhibitors at the FFS were quite unpleasant. they looked at my badges first before giving me a sample. some just openly ignore you after seeing your badge.

    • Jane Maynard

      seriously, 3 days is just not enough time – and I only got 1 day myself! it’s just amazing how big the show is!

      and, agreed about some of the exhibitors…seems strange to me that any of them would be unpleasant. not good business!!

      and I am so going to tell tale preserves! 😉

  4. 4

    i’m excited about that lactose free drink…there aren’t enough options for my five year old.

  5. Jane,

    Thanks for the kind words… glad you enjoyed Tisano Organic Chocolate tea, Let us know if you want some free samples for your readers.

    Are you coming to ExpoWest?


  6. What a fabulously fun time.
    🙂 Mandy

  7. 7
    cathleen stoelting

    Hi Jane!
    Love love love your post. So, I just started my blog on and need advice on getting it up to Can you check it out for me?

    Any and all advice from you would be much anticipated!!
    Thank you

  8. 8

    Oh this whole post made me want to eat. Especially the chocolate sauce and salt. One of my favorite flavor combinations! Who couldn’t love it?

  9. 9

    I see there is a summer food show. Do you have to be in the industry to get in? I’m just a food lover who really wants to go!

    • Jane Maynard

      unfortunately, I think you do have to be industry…I got in with a press pass. but you should look into it to see if there are any loopholes!!! 🙂

  10. 10


    Im the Nicolas that told you about the butter, fromages frais and the jams. I just wanted to drop a note to thank you for all those great words. I was very pleased to meet you and exporting food is all about meeting nice persons like you who will enjoy our products.
    This is a great blog and again thank you.
    All the best and I look forward to seeing yoou again in San Fran next year.

  11. 11

    It was a fantastic show! Sooo many delicious things to try. So sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet up. I loved the part about the butter in France, let me tell you “everything” is delicious in France. I didn’t want to come home when I was there in June. The olive oil I got from Valbonne was delicious, couldn’t figure out how to get the butter back in the States…bummer!

  12. 12

    good news! found beurre d’isigny here in san francisco. it’s at mollie stone’s 🙂

  13. 13

    What a FUN looking “mini-food vacation”- loved hearing about these products.
    Thank you!

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