16 Foods You Need to Try: Fancy Food Show Re-Cap 2018

Monday, June 17, 2019
Want to hear some of my favorite finds from the Fancy Food Show 2018? Curious about new food and snack trends? Looking for better choices when it comes to food for your family? Well, you can find ALL of those things in this one, handy post! Read on to see 16 awesome, better-for-you (or just plain delicious) foods that I found at this year's Fancy Food Show.

Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post. Some brands invited me to come check out their booths, but I was not sponsored to be at the show. That means, no one paid me to be there and no one paid me to promote them in this post. I pride myself on honesty and this post is about as honest as ya can get! I really love food, after all.

What is The Fancy Food Show?

First, let me just explain what The Fancy Food Show is. Every year, the Specialty Food Association holds two Fancy Food Shows - the winter show in San Francisco, and the summer show in New York City (I attended the New York show). The Fancy Food Show is the place to see and taste 180,000+ products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic items, natural foods, organic foods and more. There are over 2,400 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions. How amazing is that??

My Favorites

What I love about the Fancy Food Show is that it's filled with vendors and companies who genuinely want you to eat better. Many (although, not all) are small businesses, new companies, or even farmers who want to get their products out there and get you to try something new. There is usually a focus on plant-based, organic, fresh and non-GMO. Many families (especially from my generation) are used to eating processed foods from big name brands, just because that's what we grew up with and that's what we're used to. But in this day and age, the options are growing. You can step away from many of those products that contain preservatives, dyes, chemicals and GMO's. You might pay a little more for these better-for-you products, but in the long run, the health benefits (and the taste!) are truly worth it. Don't get me wrong, there are still desserts, sweets and candies represented at the Fancy Food Show, but they are among the best out there, made with the finest ingredients from all around the world.

So here are a few of my favorites from the show. I hope you'll check them out and consider making some food changes for your family. By the way, these are in no particular order - I love them all equally!

1. Freville Farm

I walked around the entire Fancy Food Show and did not come across anything quite so yummy as the strawberries and cream brittle from Freville Farm. Freville Farm, located in upstate New York, is owned by the lovely Sarah Friedman, and you can easily tell how much she loves her farm and her products. You can get her awesome strawberries and cream brittle (or raspberries and cream brittle) as well as her handmade fruit leathers, golden milk wafers, fruit curds, elixirs and more (even pet treats) in the Freville Farm online shop.

2. Nothin' But

I was skeptical when Nothin' But invited me to visit their booth. I am not a huge fan of oat snacks because there are so many out there and they all kind of taste the same. But I was blown away by the flavors, textures and overall yumminess of Nothin' But's Cookie Bites and Quick Fix Bars. Simple ingredients, non-GMO with a chewy texture (not crunchy or crumbly). They come in a variety of flavors, and I highly recommend anything in their chocolate-coconut-almond line (and I am not a big coconut lover, believe me)! I love the Cookie Bites resealable bag, too. These are GREAT for hunger pangs or on-the-go snacks!!

3. Bantam Bagels

I've been seeing Bantam Bagels around for a while now but haven't had the chance to try them. Now...I finally have! And I can attest that they're really good! They're mini stuffed bagels (shaped like little balls- perfect for small hands). Not soggy at all and they actually taste like bagels. I liked the pizza flavor, but they have a big variety of flavor choices out there (like chocolate chip, onion, New York style, italian and more). Very kid friendly, great for a quick breakfast. They also have pancake versions and new egg flavors, too. Just pop them in the oven and bake!

4. Cheribundi

I was SO excited to visit Cheribundi, since they were having their very own cocktail party that included an ice luge shaped like the Statue of Liberty! How could I miss it? But I'll be honest. I don't like cherries so I wasn't sure if I would really enjoy Cheribundi (but who could turn down an ice luge?). Guess what? I love it. It's made with tart cherries (and that's IT), so the drink itself is not super sweet like you might expect. It was AMAZING in a cocktail (who would've thought??). Cheribundi is actually chock full o' health benefits, too (improved sleep, boost immunity, reduce soreness, etc). You can read all about the antioxidants and other health benefits of Cheribundi here. They have fitness advice on their website and a 7 day challenge that you can try, too (I just might do it!). Better yet? Cheribundi is available at most stores, including Shop Rite, Target, Rite Aid and more, and comes in several different varieties.

5. Bakerly

Bakerly, I love you. I have always loved you, since the first day I met you in 2016. I held a contest here at The Jersey Momma to win Bakerly products that I reviewed (you can read that here) and still remain one of your number one fans! Bakerly creates authentic French products with all natural ingredients, like crepes, brioche breads and croissants. But the fun thing is that their crepes come in different flavors and they're individually wrapped, making them perfect for on the go or lunch boxes. The brioche comes in different varieties like rolls, hamburger buns, chocolate rolls, baguettes and braids. You can find them in most local stores, now, or even on Amazon. Jersey Momma tip: try their crunchy crepes (hazelnut is my favorite). They are addictive! 

6. Callie's Charleston Biscuits

Just like Bakerly, I fell in love with Callie's Charleston Biscuits at one of my Fancy Food Show visits and did a separate review post of their products (which you can read in its entirety here).  Callie's Biscuits are well known down south, and many people love their retail cafe, Callie's Hot Little Biscuit, where they can order up a yummy meal (follow them on Instagram for drool-worthy shots of their creations). Callie's online sells all varieties of their hand-crafted biscuits (with flavors like cheese and chive, iced blueberry, cinnamon, and cocktail ham, just to name a few), as well as biscuit mix, cheese crisps (which go great with wine) and fiery pimiento cheese. Stay tuned for a special blog post about my experience visiting Callie's booth, because I actually got to make my own biscuits by hand, with the assistance of the Callie's team, and founder herself, Carrie Morey! It was a dream come true for this Callie's fan! You can purchase Callie's products in their online shop, or look for them at local retailers like The Fresh Market, Kings and more. And look for their new sweet potato biscuits coming soon! Carrie Morey also has a wonderful cookbook available, which you can purchase through my Amazon affiliate link here.

7. The Owl's Brew

I am always telling people about Owl's Brew. I will actually stop and show strangers the bottle in the supermarket, that's how much I love it (I can't tell you how many times I've done this- I will even tell the cashiers at check-out about it). Owl's Brew is a selection of teas crafted for cocktails, and I have never seen mixers quite like them. According to the Owl's Brew website, it is brewed "in Vermont in large kettles, where it is handcrafted in small batches, and then sweetened, packed, and bottled." It's all natural and brewed from whole tea leaves, fruit, spices and herbs. I was so excited to find that my local Shop Rite carried them, too. These simple black bottles are magical!  So if you're a tea lover and a cocktail lover, it's the best of both worlds! They come in a variety of crafted flavors like, White and Vine, Coco Lada, The Classic, Pink and Black and seasonal flavors, too (my favorite is Pink and Black mixed with scotch or whiskey, but there are new flavors in the photo below). There are tons of recipes on their website, or you can buy their cool cocktail recipe book from Amazon (affiliate link here). Owls Brew also makes an awesome Radler, a beer and tea beverage that I am totally in love with (try the Wicked Watermelon- it's insanely good). I love Owl's Brew so much that I was actually a little starstruck to meet Jennie Ripps, the founder and CEO of the company at the Fancy Food Show. I was so happy to be able to say THANK YOU in person for making such a unique and delicious product that I love so much.

8. Little Bird Kitchen

The enthusiasm from the folks at Little Bird Kitchen was truly contagious. You couldn't help but stop to try their products (I stopped several times and even brought back friends). They caught my eye with their 'Fire Syrup,' which is sweet, simple syrup flavored with jalapenos. But that's not all they offer. Check out their array of hot products, from spicy chocolates (called Fire Bites) to hot and sweet nuts. There's also a Firewalker trail mix and Fire Powder. Hot enough for you? Check out the Little Bird Kitchen website to order, or use their store locator to find them near you.

9. Ocean Hugger Foods - Ahimi 

You don't need to be a fan of regular sushi to enjoy Ahimi from Ocean Hugger Foods. I, myself, don't care for raw sushi (I'm more of a veggie or California Roll kinda girl), but I was blown away by Ahimi, the first plant-based alternative for raw fish! Ahimi is a 'natural, eco-friendly culinary invention by one of America's top chefs.' Available in halves and small pieces, ahimi is a combination of tomato, soy sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil. It has a meaty consistency and an outstanding flavor that I really loved- and I'm pretty picky about this stuff! It's currently available in the Cherry Hill Whole Foods, but look for it (or ask for it!) to be distributed in more markets around the country soon!

10. Moon Cheese

When I left for the Fancy Food Show, I asked The Jersey Momma's Boy, 'what should I look for? What will families and kids want to see?' He thought about it for a minute and blurted out, 'MOON CHEESE.' He could've said ice cream, candy, brownies or cupcakes. Nope, he picked Moon Cheese, one of his favorites since my first visit to the show a few years ago. Moon Cheese is just cheese with the moisture taken out of it (you can read about the process here). What's left are these awesome little crunchy cheese nuggets. They come in cheddar, gouda, mozzarella and pepper jack, and can be found at Wegman's Target, Starbucks, Amazon and more. In October, look for their new Mix 'Ems and Toppers for soups and salads. They were SO delicious and are due to hit stores in the Fall of 2018.

11. Swamp Dragon Hot Sauce

I didn't think I'd ever be recommending a hot sauce on this site but here I am to tell you about Swamp Dragon Hot Sauce! I like hot sauces but I tend to eat the same one all the time and have yet to stray too far from the standard. Until now! First, I love the cute little kid-friendly dragon logo. Second, Matt Beeson, the creator of Swamp Dragon, pulled me over to talk about his product with such enthusiasm that I couldn't help but be excited about it, too. The concept of Swamp Dragon is that there is no vinegar in it. Swamp Dragon uses spirits (like tequila, rum, bourbon and vodka) for stability and flavor, which eliminates the somewhat bitter/sour flavor that regular hot sauces can leave behind. I actually liked this hot sauce drizzled on a piece of caramel corn, so you can pretty much put it on anything. The little four-pack 'clutch' makes a cute gift for someone, with it's fun carry handle, too! You can find Swamp Dragon Hot Sauce throughout Louisiana (they hope to be available in other stores around the country soon) or in their online shop. I think they'd be a great addition to our local Beef Jerky Outlet stores!

12. Wine Sticks & Beer Buddies -The Sweetery

The Sweetery enticed me to visit their Wine Sticks booth with a cute little folded invitation in the press room. I was intrigued by the idea of them, so I specifically sought them out at the show. Wine Sticks little boxes of cookies and snacks designed specifically to accompany wines and beers (although they are great as a stand alone snack, too). Think of it as a biscotti for wine! I LOVED the chocolate flavor for dipping in red wine! But there are also lemon flavored for white wines, and Beer Buddies for stout. Right now you can get them on The Sweetery's website, but I hope I will see them in some of my local liquor stores or gift shops soon! Until then, buy in bulk and split them with your friends. Anyone want to go halfsies with me?

13. Bumbleberry Farms

I have tried unsuccessfully to speak with the founder of Bumbleberry Farms every time I visit the Fancy Food Show (next year I'm making an appointment!) because she's always busy with customers and visitors when I arrive. That should tell you something- Bumbleberry Farms attracts a lot of attention because everything is so delicious. The honey creams make a great stand alone dip for pretzels and snacks, and come in a variety of flavors like molten lava spiced chocolate, crazy maple, sticky bun cinnamon, sea salt caramel (or purchase a box of mixed flavors). Bumbleberry's honey line is amazing- avocado honey, blueberry, raspberry, sweet orange blossom- they're not flavored or infused honeys, but rather they come directly from the blossoms of these bushes. They also sell honey in beautiful little jars. You can purchase online through the Bumbleberry Farms website.

14. Bee's Water

I love the taste of honey so I was excited to see this new drink called Bee's Water, an antioxidant rich water sweetened with real honey and other natural flavors. You can drink it warm or cold (I tried it cold and it was really refreshing). Honey lovers, rejoice! This one's for you!

15. Farmhouse Burger Company

Believe it or not, I'm a wanna-be vegetarian. I hate the idea of harming animals for food and I am becoming increasingly wary of how production animals are treated. But I am not a vegetable lover and I don't know how easy it would be for me to adjust to such a huge lifestyle change. But when businesses like the Farmhouse Burger Company come along, I feel like that change is feasible! The consistency and flavors of the Farmhouse Burger Company patties were very similar to the real thing. They come pre-made (at a 1/4 pound each) and far surpass some of the bigger brand store names for flavor, texture and ingredients (most big-name vegetarian burgers are soy based). Organic ingredients, non-GMO, small batch made- you can't go wrong with these.  My favorite? The black bean and the fresh garden were outstanding. You can't find them in many New Jersey markets right now, but I'm hoping that will change, since they are available in some areas of New York and Connecticut. You can purchase in their online shop, though, just keep in mind they have to ship cold!

16. Let Them Eat Candles

I love the concept behind Let Them Eat Candles. It's exactly what you think it is- candles you can eat!  These chocolate candles have a short wick, so once they burn out, the candle is yours to eat. I sampled them and they're yummy! They even come with fun, edible patterns on them. I love them for a special birthday novelty idea. Available in dark chocolate, milk chocolate or a variety pack, they'd even make a nice birthday gift topper for someone (tie the Let Them Eat Candles box on the package for a little addition to a gift). They hope to be available throughout the country or in more local shops soon, but you can order them in the Let Them Eat Candles online shop anytime. But be aware that it's a challenge to ship them in the summer heat.

So there ya have it! Look for more follow-up posts about the fun products I saw at The Fancy Food Show, or check out some of my posts from shows past:

9 Exciting Snacks to Liven Up Your Lunchbox

5 Better For You Lunch Box Snack Ideas

Fabulous Frozen Treats to Try This Summer

The Jersey Momma Spotlight on Traina Foods

The Jersey Momma Spotlight on Hoboken Farms

The Jersey Momma Spotlight on Callie's Charleston Biscuits

The Jersey Momma Spotlight on Bakerly

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