Fete is a French word that means party, festival or celebration and Food Fete is exactly that! A festival of food, a celebration of food, and a way for companies that need some online attention can get it-by mingling and interacting with the media in an exclusive event that only invites media! Food Fete convienently takes place immediately after the Fancy Food show (both NY and SF versions!) and this years lineup was a true culinary celebration with over 20 companies displaying their wares in a rose colored room with round bar tables and a fancy catering company bringing around mini bites in case we didn’t get enough to eat at the Fancy Food show earlier that day.
This is my second time attending food fete and while I don’t know who the catering company is, I do know one of the caterers. Back in the day I used to cater and the guy passing out the mini hamburgers on January 18th used to be my boss. He didn’t remember the gigs we worked together and I am sure he would never remember me from a million other temporary caterers but I always want to say HEY remember me.. from back in the day!
I was impressed with all the companies exhibiting at this year’s food fete event. All of them seem to encompass the current trend of being sustainable, locally grown, free range, natural, organic, healthy, good for the economy, good for the animals, good for the people growing the produce and good for our bodies. I mean, not everyone was ALL of those things, but every company includes at least one of those traits.
Amella Caramels-These caramels came in exotic good for you flavors like carrot and passion fruit. I liked them a lot and thought that the three per box pack would be a great goodie bag party idea!
Anolon -Ok, this is not food so it doesn’t get trend buzz word but I love the way it doesn’t scratch my non stick pans.
Cabot Creamery-This company is all kinds of good. They are owned by dairy farmers (not an evil corporation), they are in Vermont, they have been around since 1919 and have won lots of dairy awards. I am a bit of a cheese snob (I buy all the cool stuff at Cowgirl Creamery at the farmers market ) but Cabot has won lots of awards and I can buy them at my local supermarket and the price is reasonable! They also gave me a flier that showed me how to pair wine and beer. You can pair English pale ale with extra sharp cheddar, extra bitter with seriously sharp cheddar and European pilsner with their 50% reduced fat jalapeno (who knew!!!)
California Fig Advisory Board–I recently came from a big conference up in Napa –World of Healthy Flavors and it was all about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into a menu. All the fruit and nut boards were sponsoring the event. I live in California, I love fresh California figs and I wish they were in season for more than 5 minutes a year because they are such an amazing, decadent and delicious fruit.
Eclipse Chocolat-No additives, no preservatives and they maintain a green operation. They also donate 10% of their profit to non-profit organizations. Their chocolate is also pretty good. I like the one that is studded with marshmallows.
Erath Winery -I am not a wine writer and I am not good at describing the fruity raisin woody notes that I taste in wines. However, everyone knows that Oregon makes great Pinots and Erath is no exception! The fruits true expression definitely came through, but I will leave a more detailed write up for the wine writers!
Field Roast Grain Meat -I didn’t put on my food science hat to try to figure out how Field Roast makes their all vegetarian grain meats taste so good but I know it ain’t texturized soy protein in there. This company uses mushrooms and artisan bread crumbs and herbs and nuts and mustards to create their meat like texture but with vegetarian flavors. I loved this stuff, where can I buy it!
Wild Veggie Souper Drink -I was surprised to see that Graceland fruit owns this company, I used to buy dried fruits from them when I worked in R&D at several food manufacturing companies. Now they have branched out and own Wild Veggie Souper drinks, natural and vegan pureed vegetables that are “gently” processed (translation-not heated too much) and then stored refrigerated for a fresher flavor. Everyone needs to eat more vegetable, Wild Veggie is reaching out to Americans and trying to help them reach their healthy weight by providing them with an easy to grab and eat fresh vegetable products!
Pop Chips– I have a minor conflict of interest here. I may be a food writer by night and on the weekends but by day I work for a company called Revolution Foods and they make a chip very similar to pop chips! So if I say pop chips are good, I have to say that Revolution foods Pop Alongs are even better! And the Rock and Roll gourmet company, they make popped chips too. All these chips are “popped” (like popcorn) and they all have their unique seasoning blends and company stories. I won’t say who is better, who is worse… they are ALL good and they all are there as a healthy alternative to the higher fat potato chips! They all sell at different non competing locations so there is room for everyone right! Lets all just try to get along!
Rainier Fruit Company -Move over Fuji, there is a new apple in town-Lady Alice, available in march for just a limited time. What I found interesting about this apple is that they claim it is slow to brown after cutting. As you may or may not know, when apple enzymes and phenols are exposed to oxygen, they turn brown… but what is it about Lady Alice apples that slows down their browning process? Either way, everyone knows that apples are really good for you and keep the doctor away and we should be eating them all the time!
Sub Rosa Spirts-I don’t drink vodka but when I saw that Sub Rosa had both a Tarragon and Saffron vodka I was curious and had to try… I tried it… I think it is interesting and am impressed that it is the ONLY commercial savory spiced vodka that captures the flavor of India morocco and Asia! I still don’t like vodka in general but their fusion concepts are unique, original and award winning. Both flavors won gold medals at the International Review of Spirits. Cocktails and spirits are hot these days so I am looking forward to seeing Tom Cruise shake up a saffron vodka cocktail in the near future.
Turtle Mountain, LLC– Wow-this product called out to the food microbiologist in me. For the first time ever, coconut milk is being fermented with live and active cultures to make kefir, milk, frozen novelty products (not allowed to call it ice cream or dairy… rules are rules!). Coconut milk has lots of health benefits including medium chain fatty acids which are antiviral, anti inflammatory and are not stored as fat, but utilized as energy by the body. They are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and corn free so are good for people that have lots of allergies (or people that think they do!)
And I saved my favorite product for last- Village Harvest makes frozen, pre cooked ready to eat grains that pour like cereal. I have always been a fan of the frozen brown rice in the bag from Trader Joe’s, but this product is up a notch because they also have Quinoa and wild rice (which is a grass by the way-not a real grain but still tastes great). I am a very busy person and second best to hiring a personal chef is being able to buy easy to cook healthy food like Quinoa and their “Un” Fried Brown Rice.
Thanks to all the companies for exhibiting and filling up our goody bag with cool items to take home and share with our friends. A few items I didn’t get to try because they didn’t have a booth at this year’s Food Fete are the Stonehouse 27 Indian cooking sauces (that Cashew and cream one looks divine!) and Christopher Ranch Garlic but I know plenty about Christopher Ranch since they are RCA members and hosted my RCA event last summer at their family owned ranch. We had over 50 attendees and a delicious garlic infused dinner, you can read all about that event here!
Lastly, a special honorable mention to Yummy Veggie a website that is trying to help moms get their kids to like vegetables. We need more websites like that out there, we need to eat more vegetables.