Fran with Beatrice Ughi from Gustiamo
I recently attended the International Summer Fancy Food Show at the Javits Center in New York City, and let me tell you, vegan products were in the house, both specifically vegan products and the ones that are accidentally vegan. Two vegan entries for the Sofi Awards were finalists, Miyokos Creamery Black Ash Cheese in the dairy cheese category (!) and Fabanasise vegan mayo from Sir Kensington. Read on, you’ll see.
Pane Nero flown in from Torino
In the first photo I am with one of the most entusiastic and generous women I know – Beatrice Ughi, founder of Gustiamo. Gustiamo imports the best Italian products, and Beatrice insisted I taste plump figs from Cilento, the area in Southern Italy I visited last year with Vegano Italiano. Well, it was impossible to eat just one! I tasted a pure – just chocolate, hazenuts from Piemonte – chocolate hazelnut spread that puts commercial Nutella to shame. The real discovery, though, was the Pane Nero that had been flown in from Torino 6 days earlier! You read that right! The bread made by esteemed baker Alessandro Spoto in Turino was flavorful and chewy. It was not for sale, but Beatrice gave me and our mutal friend Terry Romaro a piece to take home! The secret to this bread is that is it made by an artisan baker from a very ancient grain that is grown and stoneground by Filippo Drago in Castelventrano, Sicily. I had tasted pane nero and pastas made from this grain last month at a wareshouse dinner hosted by Gustiamo. It is so pure that I’m told even wheat sensitive people enjoy it without problem.
This pure chocolate hazelnut chocolate spread puts commercial Nutella to shame!
All Gustiamo products are the real deal. Italian products made by artisans Their Pianogrillo Sicilan Cherry Tomato Sauce won the Gold Sofi in Pasta Sauce category. It tastes like summer. Check them out online, and if you are in New York, go visit the warehouse in the Bronx! Don’t leave without a jar of the Pistachio Cream made wth famed Sicilian Pistachios and this Chocolate-Piemonte Hazelnut Cream.
Jackfruit, turmeric, multicolor peppers, fully cooked beans (love the favas!) cotton candy grapes, and more than I can list here were on display at the Melissa’s Produce booth. New this year, too, are ready-to-use coconut hearts. Yes, fruits and vegetables are vegan, but Melissa’s was the only vendor at the show with fresh produce. Their Snack Bites are addictive! Someone bought the giant jackfruit at the end of the show. I heard Robert from Melissa’s say, “spray your knife!!” Do you cook with fresh jackfruit?
Bob from Bob’s Red Mill
The real Bob of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods met with fans who formed a long, long line, and he signed books. I am a fan of Bob’s Red Mill products. Having visited the factory, I know the products are premium quality and the gluten-free ones are carefully tested and separate. I use the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour and many of their other products.
Forager Green Juices and Chips
I’d not seen this before: At Forager, the pulp from the juice is used to make the chips. Smart and tasty!
Sir Kensington’s Fabinaise
Sir Kensignton’s brand new aquafaba vegan mayo was a finalist in the Condiment Category. I didn’t get a chance to taste it, though.
Edward & Sons Trading Co.
Ok. I adore Alison and Edward from Edward & Sons Trading Co., Inc. Actually, their booth at any of the food shows is always the hangout for the vegan attendees. I’ve been using many of the Edwards/ NativeForest/ Let’s Do Organic products for years. I always look forward to hearing about and tasting the new products. Last year it was the super handy Coconut Milk Powder. The big news this year is the soon-to-launch coconut milk with 30% fat content. This makes it equivilent to whipping cream! I’ll be trying it soon and let you know what I think.
Yes, there was chocolate – lots of it. I visited and tasted Taza, Raaka, Republic of Cacao, Guittard, and others of the brands I like, and I found several that were new to me. Do you have a favorite chocolate? A trend seems to be Vegan Coconut Milk Chocolate. You’ll hear more about that on a future blog post.
Clearly vegan is hot, paleo isn’t going away, functional foods, greens, chia in drinks and puddings, fermented foods, coconut and coconut oil, pre- and pro-biotics, and allergy specific products are what’s happening.