It was easy to spot the hot trend at the Winter 2015 Fancy Food Show in San Francisco: high end ice cream/gelato/froyo in every imaginable configuration. There was coconut gelato (with coconut cream substituting for dairy as the thickener), agave ice cream, non fat ice cream, pancakes and syrup flavor froyo with rice crispies caramel sauce (those are flavors for sale to froyo shops) and even gluten-free ice cream. (That last is marketing hype, since there’s no reason for ice cream to contain gluten except in a mix-in.)
My favorite taste, and my favorite item at the show, was Honeycomb from L.A. Artisan Creamery, a new venture from Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery and Mozza fame. So rich and honey-laden thanks to an interesting formula in which egg yolks, cream and buttermilk are used for flavor intensity and then natural thickeners (bean paste and guar gum) contribute texture. Like her bread, this is rolling out nationwide and will be available at your nearby overpriced gourmet store soon. (At $10.99* a pint it’s at least as expensive as Jeni’s, but they’re both worth it.)
Some other items from my notes:
- The predicted peanut butter onslaught did not materialize, or maybe it’s an east coast thing. Just a couple of peanut butter vendors at this show.
- The best Parma Prosciutto is better than the best Serrano, at least in my book.
- What’s with cheese straws/sticks/crisps? I decide I would do a horizontal tasting and couldn’t find any that actually tasted like cheese.
- No matter how creative you get with air-popped popcorn, it still tastes like cardboard.
- I ran across one of the few barbecue sauces I’d actually put on my brisket… it had the bitter flavor intensity of Franklin’s espresso sauce in Austin. These good folks are going to send me some samples to investigate and I’ll have much more on this soon.
*I took a closer look at the literature I picked up, and the $10.99 is for “Nancy’s Fancy”, a line extension with higher-end ingredients that wasn’t presented at the show. The Honeycomb has a suggested price of $7.49…. now that’s a real bargain, relatively speaking!