Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fancy Food Show

On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week the Fancy Food Show was held in San Francisco on Moscone Center. It is one of the largest food shows in the United States. I have always wanted to attend this event. What could be better than to be surrounded by more than 1,500 exhibitors from 35 countries displaying a total of 50,000 products? And the best part.....every vendor at the show had samples. I officially broke my diet this week!

It was great to get to attend the first day of the show with my Mom! We both share a love of food, but because she is normally the babysitter, we very rarely get to attend things together.

This show is attended by supermarket buyers (I saw Lucky's and Safeway), large airlines (United) and retail locations both big and small (Cost Plus and World Markets). I will no doubt be seeing these products on their shelves. Besides the big Wheelers and Dealers, there were a lot of smaller restaurant owners and retailers like MagPies.

It will take me months to go through all the information I collected and I will continue to share things with you as I do that. However, I can tell you the trends I saw......lots of cheese (from all over the world), Indian Food (Yeah!), Organic Chocolate (with everything added to it, including smoked applewood bacon). I saw lots of beautiful teas (loved the blooming tea) and drinks/flavored water in great flavors (mango, lychee and rose).

I was particularly pleased to see that there were a large amount of organic/natural vendors. The show organizers situated these vendors all together. It was great to taste and investigate so many healthy and natural alternatives that are now becoming available to us. Even though I felt overwhelmed trying to visit all the vendors, I got lots of inspiration from the show.

There was very little related to baking pies and tarts but I came away feeling energized by the passion of so many in the food industry.

As I was leaving the show I overheard two gentleman talking about and upcoming Candy Show? Candy.......ummmm! Maybe that is one for next year's calendar!

Saturday Deliveries - January 24th

Shallot and Garlic Tart - Roasted Shallots and Garlic in a crusty Tart Case $4 tart (4")

Chicken, Leek and Tarragon Pie - A compliment of lemon and tarragon
gives a touch of freshness to this chicken pie $5 pie (5")

Pear, Pomegranate and Caramel Pie - $5/piece
Goat Cheese and Banana Pie - a baked pie with a cream consistency - $5/piece
Red Bean Squares - A Japanese take on a favorite bar cookie. $4/square

Carrot and Coriander $5/quart

Cafe Mattina and Ici - review

It has been such a busy week. I went to lunch with friends (just an informal thing). They picked the place and decided that they wanted me to try Cafe Mattina in Berkeley at 2442 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 (510) 849-4592 . The are well known for their huge and healthy salads, great sandwiches and long lines. I don't know if it was the luck of the draw, but we arrived in Berkeley, found parking quite easily and walked over to Cafe Mattina where the line was out the door but moved very quickly. Everyone ordered different items.
I split a salad because I was told their salads are huge. They use organic vegetables and make their own salad dressings. The poppy seed dressing was great! I had a taste of everyone's food (since I only had half a salad). The vegetarian chili was good. The only complaint was it was not as big of a portion as other items we ordered. I also tasted their cornbeef sandwich. The sandwiches, like the salads, were huge. It didn't stop us finishing them though. Their homemade Chai tea was also a hit. The only downfall was there seemed to be little table space. We waited for a table then all 6 of us squeezed into a spot that was meant for 4 people. Cafe Mattina has a somewhat college atmosphere, which I enjoyed. If you are in the area give it a try....I don't think you will be disappointed.

For dessert we decided to try another Berkeley place. ICI, 2948 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705 510.665.6054. ICI was opened in 2006 by Mary Canales who was previously a Pastry Chef for Chez Panisse. She sources from local farms (like MagPies) and uses organic ingredients. She uses seasonal ingredients so her flavors change. ICI has 11 flavors daily of ice cream, sorbets and sherbets. They often change flavors during the day. I heard they run out of stuff quite frequently as they make ice cream in small batches.

This time there was a line out the door for ICI. I have to tell you it was a beautiful day (73 degrees) and everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. I tried the orange, pinenut and rosemary ice cream in a cone. The flavors we married together perfectly! I enjoyed every last bite, including the last bite of cone which is piped with chocolate inside. I also had a bite of the Burnt Caramel which was a stronger flavor but still really good.

ICI is a shop after my own heart. They use all the same principles as I do when producing goods for MagPies. I would most definately make the drive to Berkeley just for this ice cream! ICI will go high on my list!