Connie and I went to the Fancy Food Show yesterday–she’s an experienced attendee and as we prepared for a drive to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, she advised
newbie me, “Pace yourself, there’s a lot of ground to cover,” and “Don’t forget to bring some water to drink.” Hrm. It felt like we were going to the Himalayas. Awesome.
The Fancy Food Show covers both the north and south wings of the Moscone Center, no small feat. Every inch of space is taken up by exhibitors–and they ranged from the ubiquitous olive oils, cheese, chocolate (some of the most heavenly purveyors!) and drinks…to collagen marshmallows and goat milk ice cream. Everyone’s offering samples (including the collagen marshmallow people), so we paced ourselves (even so, the food stands were doing a screaming level of business–who has the room and time to eat after noshing on samples all day?).
In five hours, we made quick work of the place, except for the hour “rest” at the Sardinia cooking demonstration where we got to watch the chef make 3 dishes out of pane carasau (a crispy flatbread thing) and then EAT the 3 dishes.
The chef was quite a character, just to note. He loved the following analogy the best: “It’s like pizza…” I guess we Americans are known for equating pizza as The Italian Food.
Ah, but I am writing this post to talk about one facet of the Fancy Food Show: the standouts, at least for me. When Connie and I stopped by a British cheese stand in the last hour of our
stomping around perusing, the cheesemonger asked us, “I haven’t been able to get out of here. What do you think is notable out there?”
I was at a loss for words, and at a loss for memory. We’d just tasted some FANTASTIC fruit, but I couldn’t recall them (carica and yumberry). Yet Connie had a GREAT answer, “Collagen marshmallows!”
Yes, these collagen marshmallows were the oddest, yet most intriguing (to two women obsessed about skin care anyway) food artifact we’d seen all day. Apparently, you don’t need botox injections, you can eat yourself to firm-faced beauty with these suckers. They come in various flavors, as the vendor handed us a bag each (Connie got strawberry, I got…uh…yogurt flavor) of this “functional food.”
Each marshmallow contains 3000 mg of collagen, and can be toasted, too–the vendor stated eating them will have the same effect as a collagen injection (where?). And the cheesemonger’s reaction to Connie’s proclamation? “Oh! I wonder if they will lift ALL FOUR CHEEKS!”
Connie had the press packet for the product, which had the following testimonies for the product:
The last one had us bowling over with laughter.
If and when one of us starts eating the marshmallows, we’ll let you know the progress.
The other products that pierced my psyche were some of the “new fruits” on the market, and I mentioned them earlier: yumberries and carica.
These days, there are some fruits coming out of the deep recesses of other countries, and they are a true fad (pomegranate was BIG this year, even though I have been eating them since I was a child off the numerous trees in our Southern California backyard). Where have these fruits BEEN all these years? First off? The yumberry.
They weren’t feeding us the yumberry fruit, though the vendor did have a handful on display. They look like rambutan, and reminded us of lychees, just like rambutan. What they were selling was the juice of the yumberry, and the juice felt like a sip of the tropical–not quite like mango, but a lot milder. (They also had mangosteen juice at the show–and sipping the juice is the closest I’ve gotten to tasting the fruit that I have been looking for for YEARS).
My favorite? The carica fruit.
We ran into the carica fruit late into the show, our bellies distended from all the snacks and the visit to the Sardinia cooking demo. (We had moved on from the Italy section to the “other countries” section, which really was the most interesting). The booth was lit up by all the bottles of this golden fruit, and we were drawn into the golden color of the fruit jars.
“Do you want a taste?” asked the vendor. We had been asked this a kazillion times, and after awhile, we would just nod our heads in a haze, but here in this Chilean booth, we nodded our heads with fervor. She cut the fruit into small pieces, pierced the golden yellow fruit with a small fork and handed them to us.
We bit into something that was really tropical heaven–especially considering the fact that we were not eating FRESH fruit but something out of a jar.
“It tastes like a combination of mango and pineapple!” she chirped.
Connie and I nodded our heads in agreement, in revelation. All throughout the show, we had been in search of sorbet stands, in need of palate cleansers, and here we were, feeling that same sensation from a piece of fruit. Connie’s eye was quick, and she pointed to a pitcher, “Is that the juice?” Yes it was. And we had a sip of that, too.
Carica is a rare boutique fruit, grown in the semi desert valleys of Northern Chile on trees that only live five years (ack!)–and as far as the literature tells us, it is a gourmet product over there that can be used with savory dishes and with desserts, hot or cold. This particular vendor was Tamaya Gourmet, which claims the previous uses for the fruit…and that the juice can be used to make things like martinis. I’m not the only one who found this fruit a revelation; Sam over at Becks n Posh made a note about carica from the fancy food show on her food blog, too.
The Fancy Food Show is still going on at the Moscone Center in SF, through tomorrow. More pictures on my flickr set. (See if you can spot the food celebs at the food show).
Next Up from C(h)ristine: Memorable sights at the Fancy Food Show