The Fancy Food Show is always a flurry of tastings and first looks at new products. Without fail, we always eat too much chocolate and get way too excited about the cheese aisle, or should I say cheese aisles, plural. And, it’s always such a treat to chat with producers and taste the goods they’ve been working hard on. Here are our favorites from this year. Seek them out at your local grocery store or specialty goods shop — they are worth it!
1. FARM BELLE, LEMON HONEY CREME
Farm Belle infused honey creme, made in Oregon, is unheated, unfiltered, raw honey that’s thick, smooth, and creamy. All the flavors are good — yes, I tried them all — but the lemon one is remarkable. Like a lazy catnap in the late afternoon sun, the Lemon Honey Creme is just luxurious with a flavor that is rich and bright.
2. SAINT BENOIT, ICE MILK
I’ve been a long-time fan of Saint Benoit Creamery’s French-style organic yogurt so I was excited to see them at the Fancy Food Show and get the scoop on their new ice milk product. Saint Benoit’s Ice Milk is made from the same obscenely delicious organic Jersey cow milk, raised on the rolling pastures of Sonoma County depicted on the containers. One taste and I was floored. The ice milk is the same consistency as ice cream, except it doesn’t contain any added cream, making it lower in fat, but still full of creamy goodness. My favorite flavor was the Strawberry. You can find it at Whole Foods.
3. ROGUE CREAMERY, MORIMOTO SOBA ALE CHEDDAR
If you’re a long-time LMS reader, you know that every year I look forward to seeing Rogue Creamery at the Fancy Food Show. Rogue’s blue cheeses are famously good, but this year I was taken with their Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar. Aged over 30 days, this is a bold and buttery cheddar that’s masterfully blended with Rogue Brewery’s Morimoto Soba Ale (I love it when neighbors collaborate). The toasty, roasted soba notes and tang of the ale come through at just the right balance. Go figure, cheese bathed in beer is delicious.
4. BEEHIVE CHEESE, BARELY BUZZED
Beehive Cheese makes some really interesting semi-firm Jersey Cows’ Milk Cheeses, and their Barely Buzzed is one of my favorites. Like Rogue’s Morimoto Soba Ale Cheddar, this is another shining example of a collaboration gone very right. Barely Buzzed is rubbed with a Turkish grind of the “Beehive Blend” from Colorado Legacy Coffee Company, owned by the cheesemakers’ brother. Fragrant French lavender buds are also added to the mix before it’s rubbed onto the cheese. This cheese is so enthralling you’ll find yourself going back for more and more.
5. DAVID RIO, MATCHA TEA FROST
David Rio debuted Tea Frost, their new tea frappe line, at the show. The line comes in a number of flavors, included their signature chai, but my favorite was the Japanese Matcha flavor, made with premium matcha powder from the Nishio region of Japan. A hint grassy with just the right amount of sweetness, this frosty matcha beverage was a totally refreshing treat.
6. EFFIE’S HOMEMADE, OATCAKES
Heartier and a tad less sweet than shortbread, but with the same satisfying, buttery, nutty flavor, Effie’s Oatcakes could be the perfect teatime snack. These oatcakes are a 4th generation family recipe with origins in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. There’s a whole line of flavors, including a pecan one sweetened with honey, and a walnut rye cake, but the original Oatcakes are by far my favorite. They are killer with a hunk of good cheddar.
7. NUMI, TURMERIC TEA
I use turmeric often to impart its gorgeous golden color and distinctive earthiness to curries or rice dishes, but turmeric in my tea? Absolutely, says’s Numi Tea. Numi’s new line of Turmeric Teas taste vaguely savory and cleansing, and contain all the health benefits attributed to this root.
8. RED CLAY GOURMET, PIMENTO CHEESE
Red Clay’s Classic Sharp Cheddar Pimento Cheese spread was straight up comforting. Made in small batches with locally sourced jalapaenos and banana peppers, and an aged extra-sharp white cheddar, this little tub of cheese packed some big flavor, and very little mayo. This stuff made me want to drop everything and find a picnic blanket and a patch of grass.
9. CAPRIOLE FARM, WABASH CANNONBALL GOAT CHEESE
Matt Hart, from Capriole Farm in Greenville, Indiana introduced us to the Wabash Cannonball, one of Capriole’s most well-known and best-loved cheeses. Dusted with ash, this little bomb of flavor is dense and creamy underneath some gnarly looking wrinkles on the rind.
Fancy Food Show, Winter 2015
January 11-13, 2015
San Francisco, CA
Check out coverage from past Fancy Food Shows: