Last weekend I went up to New York to the Fancy Food Show, it’s a big deal in the food world, there are thousands of companies represented and thousands more who attend. It is an especially good trade show for us at Piazza because after Americans, Italian companies reserve the most booths. After a walk through the Italian section you forget that you’re in the US!
There is a price to pay for going to this kind of show, tired feet and a stomach ache. You can’t take samples off the premises, I think I must have tasted about 40 cheeses in one day! I tried four buffalo milk cheeses from Lombardia; one was soft like a brie, another was a cacaocavallo, big and almost floral in flavor. I tried a sheep’s milk cheese from Lazio that is coagulated with thistle flowers, a little goat cheese from Vermont, a cow’s milk cheese from the Veneto that is aged in hay, chamomile and mint and many more. A new thing was spreadable cheeses from Italy, a spreadable parmesan cheese with truffles, and another made with sheep’s milk. I tried a wonderful pecorino from Calabria that I bought the next day at the supplier’s warehouse because we liked it that much.
Another instant purchase was Porchetta, a juicy rolled ham that includes dark and white meat and a little crispy skin, we tasted it hot from the oven and couldn’t resist.
This past weekend I used some on homemade pizza and at the store it is a sandwich special today with provolone and onion jam. I also tried some Lemon Honey from Sicily which was perfect with fresh apples (the case just arrived at the store) but would probably be even better with grilled peaches!
I stopped by the booth of Gustiamo, where I had some wonderful samples of cookies that you should look out for soon. I also tasted some of their super-aged balsamic vinegar with strawberries, which was awesome. The samples were just flowing like water! I said hello to Ali at Italian Products where I met one of the owners of Mirabassi, the Sienese company that specializes in Panforte. We are getting their fig and walnut panforte for Christmas.
We saw Lee Green from the Scrumptious Pantry who hosted a very fun tasting with us last week (more on this to come). I also found out that Creminelli will be making wild boar salami by special order for Christmas!!! There weren’t any available samples but, if I know Creminelli the salami will be nothing short of fantastic. Can’t wait.
Did I mention that I tried about as many olive oils as cheeses? Yeah, I had lots of olive oil, sipped straight from little cups. One from il Mulino was especially notable, I am working on buying it from a company in Florida. The show was fun but it meant that Iwasn’t in the mood for any kind of real dinner afterwards. Luckily I was invited to go to a tasting party at a very beautiful enoteca in Greenwich village (during the Gay Pride parade but that’s another story). We were invited by the Manicaretti importers to have some wine and little snacks created using their products and fresh produce from the Greenmarket. We had:
Olives with orange oil and lemon olive oils
Pecorino Toscano with Cogna, Gorgonzola with orange marmalade, Parmigiano with 30 balsamic vinegar
Crostini with ricotta and asparagus pesto
Crostini with olive spread, orange zest and Calabrian oregano
Crostini with butter, anchovies and Caravaglio capers in oil
A nice faro salad with tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers
Plus a prosecco with wild blueberry jam stirred in
It was not all good news at the show, there were some empty booths which I’ve never seen before, and we learned of some bad news. Caffarel chocolates are not available in the US at this time. I’m sure that someone will pick up the account in the future and next year the booths will probably be full again!
At the Gustiamo booth