|Party Basics, Style Recipes and
Favorite Sources for Special Occasions
Maria Reviews the Fancy Food Show
It took me a couple of weeks to digest the annual Fancy Food Show, held over a long weekend recently in New York City with about 2400 vendors representing 79 countries and every state. There were over 180,000 individual products to review, best sellers and about 10,000 new products competed for attention in a tasting orgy. From organic caviar (CaviarStar.com) to tea-infused chocolates (CharlesChocolates.com), to alternative mixers (TwelveBeverage.com) flowering teas (TzuniTea.com) and foods flavored with agave nectars (Wholemato.com) or sustainable products like 100% recycled aluminum foil (IfYouCare.com) this was the place to source new tastes, packaging and display products for caterers, restaurants, stores and event planners. Ideas were every where including 100 pounds of hummus sculpted into the busts of Obama and McCain! The close of the show found 300 volunteers collecting over 100,000 pounds of leftover food to donate to City Harvest (CityHarvest.org) for distribution to needy kitchens, good taste for a very good cause.
Anticipating the savory sensation, Yohay Baking Company (Yohay.com) introduced miniature two-bite wafer cones in four different flavors including garlic. Perfect for filling with lobster salad, scrambled eggs and caviar , tuna tartare or chicken salad. To make serving events easy, they also sell acrylic trays with 15 round holes sized to fit the mini cones.
Using all natural ingredients, a pair of L.A. based chefs make hand-crafted hors d'oeuvres frozen in oven-safe trays, making it possible for fuss free catering. The Percfect Bite (ThePerfectBiteCo.com) sells comfort finger foods from pastry kisses to samosas, Asian buns , mini burgers and Frenched chicken wings which exposes the end of the bone of the meaty segment to make clever chicken lollipops . Shipments are sent over night, a boon for last minute events, there is a $200 minimum order.
One stop shopping for foodies who want to serve bite-sized flavors in tasty pastries. Hafner (Hafner.com) distributes over 70 varieties of ready-to-be filled shapes and doughs from tart shells, puff pastry and cream puffs to sheets of sponge cake for desserts.
Alba (Tradcoltd.com), the distributor of professional mixes and ingredients also sells clever miniature serving vessles for all sorts of hors d'oeurve presentations. Plastic disposables are recyclable and come in conical flutes with long spoons, shot glasses, mini squares, super-petite spoons. Belix (Belix.us) manufactures the complete collection plus a wide array of mini bamboo plates and wood veneer cones. Every caterer should have these sites bookmarked.
Super Sweet Treats
Le Rasin (MademoiselleDeMargaux.fr), is a decadent sweet from the Margaux district in the heart of Medoc, vine-ripened grapes are preserved in rum before being dipped in dark chocolate . Ooh la la.
An ode to Joe.You'll find it hard to cut down on coffee with Choc-o-lait (Choc-o-Lait.co.uk), when you swirl this dark square of chocolate on a stick in a cup of freshly brewed coffee & steamed milk.
A company that can easily be renamed Lollipops 'R Us (MelvilleCandyCompany.com) the Melville Candy Company sells 100s of shapes: seasonal red Valentine hearts, spring flowers and fall leaves to novelties like palm trees, light houses, gold fish, red lobsters, all great for kids parties, wedding favors or to send out as whimsical reminders to save-the-date. Now comes a new twist, mini lolly cocktail swizzle sticks. Green apple slices, citrus wedges and cherries will make a stir on the bar circuit.
The culinary fascination with fusion confusion has led to blending of many unlikely flavors into unexpectedly delicious combinations---and some ghastly mistakes. Turns out blending real ice cream or sorbet with real wine is a successful paring. Two great products to consider are (MercersDairy.com) and (WineCellarSorbet.com). Swizzle with your favorite liqueur for a happy ending.
Edible sugar flower (SweetFields.com) are harvested on a family farm in southern California. Edible pansies and miniature roses are glazed with sugar, a natural preservative, to become virtually non-perishable. The Sweet Dust variety are blooms that have been crystallized with sugar, semi-glazed (making it water tolerant and perfect to float in cocktails) then dusted with edible gold or silver powder to also make a sparkling finish to any confection or cocktail.