The Fancy Foods Show!

Living in NYC has its trade offs.  I live in a tiny place (and pay through the nose for it), the humidity is brutal, I miss nature…I can go on & on.  But don’t cry for me, it ain’t ALL BAD.  One of the perks of NYC are the wine/food conventions at the Jacob Javits Center.  And today I attended the 3rd day of the Fancy Foods Show at the Javits center.  On 3 (or 4) massive floors, over two thousand exhibitors came out for this 3 day convention.  And to be able to attend was truly a treat!

As a wine guy I know I should be more of a foodie.  And while I appreciate fine food, I am not an expert (although I do know what I like!).  That said rather than review the food, I want to write about some observations, and then a quick wine review of some wine I tried.

Observation #1 – Olive Oil is in.  There were A LOT of people showing off their olive oil.  There was olive oil from many countries, in MANY different shaped bottles, infused with lots of flavors.  If I could invest in olive oil, I would.

Observation #2 – Cheese is in.  Wow was there a lot of cheese there.  Soft cheese, hard cheese, stinky cheese, fake cheese (Dr. Seuss anyone?).  Name it, it was there.  And there is so much to learn about cheese.  Just all the names.  Quick tip I learned; apparently Europeans say that one should start the day with soft cheeses and eat progressively harder cheese as the day goes on.  Interesting, huh…

Observation # 3 – Chocolate is IN!!  I think I ate about 5 pounds of chocolate.  hey, I’m a professional, it was all for the job.  But seriously, there was a lot of fancy chocolate there and it ALL tasted pretty good to me.  Want an investment tip?  Buy Cocoa.  And while you are at it, invest in weight loss companies, because with all the amazing chocolates out there people are going to be eating more and then looking to lose the weight the chocolate has added.

fancy chocolate

Yes there were lots of other fancy foods, but I’m only one man.  how much can I ingest in a few hours?

Last random (and ironic) observation.  There was a “bottled water” company there.  Their water was fine, but it was their packaging that was unique.  It was Norwegian product in a cardboard fully biodegradable box (with some sort of bio-something plastic bag inside).  They were pushing the packaging and its environmental benefits more than the water itself.  Which I think is great.  But guess what they served the water sample in…. A STYROFOAM CUP!  Are you serious.  A whole talk about the environment as I’m drinking the water from a small Styrofoam cup???  You must be kidding.  I made a comment and the woman was clearly embarrassed by it.  How’s that for irony?!

Since this is a wine blog I feel compelled to write about some wines tasted.

I tried 4 wines from Greece.  I’m not sure that I have had Greek wine before.  But as an Eastern Mediterranean wine person, I figured I should give it a try.  And they were quite interesting.  I tried a 2007 white (made from 100% “Roditis” – an grape indigenous to Greece) that had a very bitter citrus palate, was quite crisp, and had a pretty long finish.  I tried a 2005 blend made with Cab, Merlot, Cab Franc and a little “Limnio” another indigenous grape. I did not particularly care for this wine as it seemed to lack structure.  The wine was simply disjointed.  My favorite of the 4 was the 2006 Vatistas which is a blend of 50% Cabernet and 50% “aghiorgitiko” – yet another indigenous Greek grape.  The wine had a fading red color (bordering on brick) which is cause for concern with such a young wine.  But it had a very nice sweet cherry & fresh berry nose.  The palate had nice forest fruit & some white pepper.  And it finished quite nicely with a medium+ finish.  The last wine was a red dessert wine made from “maurodaphue” – yes, another indigenous grape.  It is made by drying the grapes under the sun for 7 to 10 days and is then fortified (brandy is added).  It was OK.  Reminded me a bit of port.  But it had a bit of a strange metallic nose that came through on the palate as well.

I  also tasted two wines from Italy.  A white blend with 5 varietals, 3 of which I was not previously familiar (wanderbara, nosiola & vernaza).  (The two I knew were Moscato & Veltliner Rosato which I must admit I don’t really know but I’m guessing is related to Gruner Veltliner – so I sort of know it).  As to the wine, it showed a nice citrus profile and while my friend (who I met up with briefly at this table and is an Italian wine expert) really liked it I found it to be a bit flabby (lacks acidity) with a loose structure and relatively short finish.

The Italian red that I tried was made from 100% Toroldego (yes, an Italian indigenous varietal).  The nose on this wine WOW-ed me.  A very interesting chocolate cherry liquor and raspberry dark chocolate aroma.  The wine sees no oak aging, allowing it to really show its fruit.  My palate is more accustomed to oaked wines so I think that the lack of wood/toast/smoke led to a little disappointment on my part, but it had a very nice finish and is probably an excellent food wine.

The best part of the show was probably all the free stuff the exhibitors gave away at the end of the show.  I saw people leaving with all kinds of crazy stuff.  I left with A LOT of chocolate, some mustards, teas, chips, a container of Medjool dates & a can of fillet salmon (and some other stuff I must be forgetting but do not feel like trekking all the way to the South wing of my massive 400 square foot apartment to check).

Ahhhh SWAG….   Why do we love free stuff so much?

Happy fancy food & wine tasting!


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