Best of the Winter Fancy Food Show 2011: Hidden Gemsfeatured

LMS correspondent, Adam Carr, takes us on a tour of his favorite finds at the Fancy Food Show.


finger lime

Finger lime pulp...kinda like citrus caviar.

One of the great things about the Fancy Food Show is that you never know what you’re going to stumble upon. Here are a handful of items that caught my fancy:

1) Finger Limes

In the corner of the north hall I found a peculiar bit of produce called Finger Limes, from Shanley Farms in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The interesting citrus which look like…well, fingers…if fingers were greenish-brown. Okay, maybe that’s not the best way to make something sound appetizing, but they’re refreshing and fun to eat. Finger lime pulp vesicles are crunchier than other citrus and have less connection to the skin, so one can simply push out the fruit without suffering a sticky, pulpy mess. The flavor is more delicate, so unlike regular limes, they don’t make your whole mouth pucker, and best of all, the vesicles burst with refreshing juice in your mouth, like citrus caviar.

2) Elixir Extracts

Lick My Spoon- Elixir Infusions

These bottles pack some powerful floral flavor.

One pleasant surprise from the show was a set of handmade floral infusions called Elixir, created by Nora Egger. Elixir offers a unique way to transform cocktails, sodas, even tea or vinaigrettes. The infusions come in four flavors that aren’t overpoweringly sweet. I especially liked the combination of floral notes and citrus flavor in the Andean Fire Orchid flavor, and the luxurious aroma of the Damascan Rose extract.

3) Young Walnut Preserves

Lick My Spoon- Noyan Preserves

Noyan Preserves

When I got to Noyan’s table, the rose preserves was the first item that caught my eye. I loved the texture of rose petals scattered throughout the delicate rose-flavored jelly. Upon reaching for a second sample, Rita, the woman working the booth, looked me dead in the eye and said, “You young people need to try this! I’ll bet you’ve never tried a young walnut before.” She was absolutely correct. In my short life I had never even heard of a young walnut. After tasting the young walnut preserves I feel the need to make up for lost time. The sweet, sticky syrup oozed with heavy spice flavor while the young walnuts resembled their older counterparts, but with a softer texture. They would be great on vanilla bean ice cream, and I’m trying to conceive a sandwich that would utilize its sugar and spice.

Note: Noyan’s website is in Armenian, so to view it you’ll need Google translate (or someone that’s fluent in Armenian).

4) Durban Gourmet’s Safari Sauce

The room with new vendors had a bunch of great products; one of my favorites was Safari Sauce from Durban Gourmet. It reminds me of barbecue sauce but with added fruitiness from apricots and peaches. It comes in regular and spicy, and while I love heat I was pleasantly surprised by the small kick in the spicy version. A lot of sauces use heat to compensate, but the spicy Safari Sauce used a bit of heat to enhance their flavor. This South African chutney has an interesting tale of how it reached stores, so I’ll let Shona, the owner and maker of Safari Sauce, tell you her story. One thing I should note, she describes her product as “pour quality.” At first, this sounds like she’s trashing her product but she’s describing the viscosity — that you can pour it from a bottle easily.

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