Appetite: Catching our Fancy

The top 10 tastes from the Fancy Food show at the Moscone Center this past weekend

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Fancy Food, the largest showcase of specialty foods in North America (held annually in NYC and SF) returned to the Moscone Center. Again this week I explored thousands of products from around the world, with only the limits of my stomach to slow me after hours of sampling.

Fancy Food showcases trends in food, which there's been much talk of this week already. I didn't notice many major differences from last year, but saw a welcome increase in spirits vendors (though still merely a handful) and a continued proliferation of healthy, organic, low calorie (therefore sometimes tasteless) products. I was impressed by Teatulia out of Denver and their completely compostable wrappers and packaging. Their clean, 100% organic teas are grown in Bangladesh, subtle but full in flavor. I also took note of Philippe Padovani of Padovani Chocolates' sultry chocolates, in flavors ranging from apple banana ganache to lilikoi soft caramel.

Here's my coverage from last year, and my stand-outs this year:

SPIRITS

Sinai Mezcal - Probably the best taste of the day for this spirits lover was Sinai Mezcal, a tiny, under-the-radar mezcal that, despite tasting numerous brands, is the first to really excite me since Del Maguey. Whether Blanco, Reposado or Anejo, each is smoky, clean with slate and agave. Don't mind the low budget labels... it's all in the taste. They need a US distributor (hello, anyone?) At the very least, it should be on the shelf at Tommy's.

Velho Barreiro - One of the most popular cachaca brands in Brazil, this bright sugarcane spirit tantalized in a well-made Caipirinha but also stood on its own, whether the traditional Velho Barreiro or Gold (aged) version.

FOOD

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