Bay Area Products Push Boundaries at Fancy Food Show

Tamara Palmer
Black garlic candy is much milder than expected.
Our three days spent wandering the aisles at the Fancy Food Show yielded the observation of an awful lot of convenience food and packaging and a lot of the same items we've seen on display there for the past five years. But amidst all that mainstream sameness was a strong pocket of companies actually doing something different and interesting. A number of Bay Area-based companies impressed with brand-new and/or young products to challenge the marketplace.

See Also: Biggest Trend Spotted at The Fancy Food Show: Laziness

Tamara Palmer
Vegetable tea is here.
Hayward's Black Garlic has made a lot of progress introducing the marketplace to the fermented bulb in the past year. Most notable among its new products is an energy-boosting black garlic and ginseng jelly candy that has no added sweetener (we would have guessed honey). This candy would likely appeal to kids in a blind taste test if they didn't hear the word "garlic," and it'd be a healthy alternative to something gummy.

There were dozens of tea exhibitors, but few broke any new ground. Oakland's Numi Tea stole the show with the introduction of a new Savory Tea line in flavors like carrot curry (which we sampled and loved), broccoli cilantro, spinach chive, beet cabbage, and fennel spice. Vegetables and herbs are combined with decaf black and green tea for something in between a traditional tea and a soup. Though this may be a tough sell to consumers as tea (the package suggests using it for cooking rice or noodles), it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine this idea taking hold here.

Fairfield's Jelly Belly fit right into this year's sweet hot trend with the introduction of Tabasco jelly beans. We were pretty suspicious of these until we actually tried them and enjoyed the sugary burn enough to quickly down a whole packet. Yep, it's Tabasco all right.

Two companies using wine-related byproducts introduced clever and tasty products. Tiburon's D'Vine Crush uses varietal grape crush to make delicious energy bars with a great texture. And we enjoyed scones prepared with grapeseed flour made by Napa's grapeseed oil innovators Salute Santé. San Francisco chefs such as Chris Cosentino (Incanto) and Staffan Terje (Perbacco) have been experimenting with this new gluten-free flour.

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