Twice a year, the latest and greatest new products come together in one place: the Fancy Foods Show. Mollie Stone’s buyers and store managers recently attended the Winter Fancy Foods show right here in San Francisco to look for great new specialty and gourmet items for our shelves.
We tasted our way through small batch caramel sauces, locally produced cheeses, artisan cured meats, creative salty snacks, unique beverages and much more. Afterwards, we compared notes and got to work bringing our favorite new items into Mollie Stone’s.
Here are five of our top picks from the show, soon-to-be or now available at your local store.
1. NAIA BAR GELATO
Naia Bar Gelato is hand-crafted using traditional Italian techniques, then frozen into a convenient, portable bar. Naia is a Bay Area company that emphasizes the quality of its ingredients by partnering with other local companies (such as Blue Bottle Coffee and TCHO) and sourcing California-grown fruits and nuts.
Since gelato is made primarily from milk rather than cream, its flavors boldly stand out. Naia’s sorbetto is vegan, made simply from fresh whole fruits, sugar water and carob flour. Naia has 11 Bar Gelato flavors right now, ranging from Guittard Dark Chocolate Sorbetto to Pistachio to St. George Single Malt Whiskey to Grapefuit Sorbetto.
2. COMMUNITY GRAINS WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS, DRIED PASTAS & HEIRLOOM BEANS
Community Grains started out of Oliveto Restaurant in Oakland in 2007 by a group of passionate people that wanted to know more about growing and processing grains. Several years later, they have built a network of California farmers that grow and mill 100% of Community Grains’ products. Unlike conventional milling, their grains are milled without separating the germ, bran and endosperm.
This process results in maximum flavor and nutrition without sacrificing texture or performance in recipes. Community Grains’ flours produce light, delicately textured baked goods with a great boost of flavor. Their small batch pastas will also convert any qualms about whole grain pastas. You’ll also find Community Grains heirloom beans to be chockful of flavor, as they have never been hybridized for mass production.
Keep reading for three more tasty items!
3. VICTORIA’S KITCHEN ALMOND WATER
Victoria’s Kitchen Almond Water is a sweet but not too sweet beverage that blew us away with its refreshing flavors. Made in California from a “recette de grand-mère,” this product respects a traditional French recipe of the founder’s grandmother, Victoria.
Almonds are soaked for hours to capture their flavor, then a bit of cane sugar is added for the perfect balance of sweetness. It is best served cold straight from the bottle or over ice. Or, try adding a few drops to your morning coffee for a hint of sweetness and almond essence. Très délicieux!
4. CALIFORNIA LAVASH
California Lavash’s gourmet flatbreads are a wholesome wrap that have long been used by chefs and are now available for home cooks. Flexible and smooth, they’re baked daily with simple, high quality ingredients. We love these for their versatility and the creativity they inspire. Some quick recipe ideas:
- Top with your favorite spreads, meats, veggies and cheeses, then roll it up.
- Lay flat and sprinkle with pizza toppings, then bake.
- Substitute for pasta in baked dishes and casseroles.
- Place in the bottom of a dish as a crust, then fill with ingredients for quiche.
- Cut into squares and crisp in the oven for dippable chips.
5. JENI’S SPLENDID ICE CREAMS
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are all things delicious, from the stellar ingredients to the flavor combinations to the creamy textures. Made in small batches out of Ohio, Jeni’s recipes start with milk and cream from grass-fed cows from Snowville Creamery. Then, the best possible ingredients and flavors are added in (think vanilla beans brought all the way from Uganda and homemade blow-torched marshmallows).
We sampled the Salty Caramel at the Fancy Foods Show and you can taste every bit of love that went into sugar slowly caramelizing in copper kettles. We can’t wait to have Jeni’s ice creams in our freezers!