If it’s time to end the New Year’s resolution to diet, do it with panache. Behold and sample from the acres of edibles offered at the 37th annual Winter Fancy Food Show at San Francisco’s Moscone Center, running Sunday through Jan. 17.
Nicely counteracting the calorie intake, a significant amount of walking is required to see the 206,000-square-foot exhibit space. According to organizers, it takes “at least two days to cover the entire show,” especially if visitors stop and take a moment to check out the offerings from specialty- food producers. Show statistics seem to fill the gullet: 80,000 specialty foods and beverages from 1,300 exhibitors come from some 35 countries and regions.
Some 17,000 attendees are expected at the trade show, which is open only to those associated with the food industry.
Food technologist Elizabeth Sloan says one trend this year is “a move to three square meals a day, more home cooking, and an all-out cry to ‘get real.’”
She sees signs of improvement over the previous three years’ downturn in spending, but predicts that “financially wary — and weary — consumers will continue to practice conservative food spending and eating behaviors.”
Technological advances, such as packaging that permits steam cooking in the microwave, are now second only to flavor claims among the year’s best-selling new foods and beverages.
Mountains of classic snacks, from chips to candy — with some getting a facelift with packaging and unusual flavor infusions — will be available. Wine-flavored cheeses, a growing trend, are as vibrant in taste as they are in color.
Among more fancy offerings is Cypress Grove Chevre’s cheesecake made of tiered wheels of assorted cheeses, available as a wedding cake. The Arcata-based goat cheese company’s flagship product, Humboldt Fog, is the finest soft, surface ripened, creamy-tangy cheese on this side of the Atlantic; it could be a contender against the great old cheeses in the U.K.
Surprisingly, lollipops are making a statement, not just for kids, but for “sophisticated suckers.” Das Caramelini offers flavors such as maple bacon, orange pomegranate and lemon ginger.
In the natural-food movement, Pereg Gourmet is launching “superfood” mixes of quinoa, rice, couscous and toasted pasta.
For those who prefer to mix salads and drinks, Bourbon Barrel Foods and Kentucky bourbon distiller Woodford Reserve produce a new bourbon vinaigrette.
On the low end of fast-track categories selling well are ready-to-drink tea and coffee, snack and granola bars, and dried meat snacks.
Epicurious features high-end jerky, including chili-lime (beef), smoky grilled teriyaki (pork), and basil citrus (turkey).
Jerky specialists, upfront about salt, point to Krave Garlic Chili Pepper Beef, with its relatively low 140 milligrams sodium per one-ounce serving. While it’s recommended that adults consume below 2,300 mg per day, the good news is that you may safely indulge in a pound of Krave — as long as you don’t eat anything else.
IF YOU GO
Winter Fancy Food Show
Where: Moscone Center, 747 Howard St., S.F.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Jan. 16; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 17
Tickets: $45 before Saturday; $60 on site; registration required