Every January the Winter Fancy Food Show descends on San Francisco, and thousands of booths and people fill the city's vast convention center. It takes days to walk down every aisle and see and sample the latest drinks, snacks, gourmet foods, and ingredients. It's the place to spot the food trends for the coming year: Is matcha still in? Is coconut water on its way out?
Both my feet and taste buds were completely worn out at the end of every visit, but I wouldn't want to have been anywhere else. Here are some of my favorite offerings from this year's show. (And yes, matcha is still very much in!)
1. Thai Curry Nut Blend from Living Intentions
This curry-flavored nut blend contains sprouted almonds and cashews, coconut flakes, and even probiotics to make snacking healthier. Even though it's raw, I didn't feel like I was missing out on the traditional roasted nut flavor because it had a good balance of sweetness and spice.
2. Bison Apple Cider Bone Broth from EPIC Provisions
We've talked about Epic Bars before here at Kitchn, and I admire how the company's committed to using as much of the animal as possible, including making tallow and lard. They brew the bones into this hearty bone broth, and I really liked this version, which had a touch of apple cider vinegar in it.
3. Earl Grey Tea & Shortbread Cookies Ice Cream from McConnell's
California-based McConnell's makes top-notch ice cream. One of their newest flavors, a creamy Earl Grey tea with chunks of buttery shortbread cookies mixed into it, was one of my favorite tastes of the show. Tea and cookies in one frozen dessert? Ingenious.
4. St. Albans Cheese from Vermont Creamery
The newest offering from Vermont Creamy is the American take on French St. Marcellin cheese. I had my share of St. Marcellin when I lived in France, and this version is pretty tasty. This cow's milk cheese even comes in a little ceramic crock that you can heat it up in to make it even more gooey.
5. Green Tea +C from Sencha Naturals
Since we're smack-dab in the middle of winter, this instant tea drink inspired by Emergen-C caught my eye. It's a blend of matcha and sencha green teas, coconut water powder, baking soda for effervescence, ginger and turmeric for some extra zing, and, of course, a big dose of vitamin C (300 percent of your daily value). All you have to do is stir a packet in cold or hot water.
6. Nibs & Coffee Cacao-Nectar Bar from Honey Mama's
There's never a shortage of chocolate at any given Fancy Food show; the new trend I noticed this year was the combination of honey and chocolate. There were honey-filled chocolates and even bars like this one, sweetened only with honey and mixed with bits of coconut, crunchy cacao nibs, and ground coffee.
7. Texas Pecan Cold-Brew Coffee from Chameleon Cold-Brew
This subtly nutty cold-brew concentrate coffee is so smooth it doesn't need anything except water and ice. You can definitely taste the pecans in here, and there's no added sugar like many other flavored coffee drinks.
8. Ginger Chicken Teriyaki Jerky from Lorissa's Kitchen
Jerky and meat-based snacks seemed to be in even more abundance this year. I liked this teriyaki version over the others because it was made more like Chinese or Taiwanese jerky and not quite as dry, which means it was much easier on the jaw to eat.
9. Cacao Superfood Ice Treat from Snow Monkey
I've noticed some local juice shops now sell their juice blends as frozen desserts similar to soft serve, so I gave this icy treat a try. Filled with fruit, hemp, cocoa, sunflower butter, and maple syrup, it's a cool way to eat some of your antioxidants.
10. African Bronze Fire Cider from Shire City Herbals
Fire cider is a spicy infused vinegar drink used to fight cold symptoms or imbibed simply as a tonic. I really loved this option, which contains African honey to balance out all the tartness and heat.