Monday, June 30, 2008

Dispatch From the Field: Fancy Food Show '08

I was Alice in Funderland yesterday at the Fancy Food Show. The Javits Center was a labyrinth of delicious offerings, every turn brought another delight, another discovery, another delicacy. Stall after stall revealed a food universe that is dynamic and diverse. But even better than the generous samplings that I most certainly indulged in, were the people behind the products. These were real life everyday people who transformed their passions into businesses. There was the guy who was working his corporate-world job, and would make these peanut butter balls every Christmas for the company fundraiser, he eventually decided it was what he wanted to do, quit his job, and now the world is a slighly sweeter and nuttier place because of Jer's Handmade Chocolates. Another feelgood fable of following your bliss is Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Chevre. She lives up in Northern California on a farm and had a bunch of goats which made a lot of milk. So she decided that when life gives you goat's milk you of course make goat cheese. Great idea, right? Well maybe not so much in 1983- when goat cheese probably sounded like a scary concept to most. She perservered, and now her Humboldt Fog is my cheese of choice when visiting the cheese stall at Philly's Reading Terminal Market (and believe me there are a lot of beautiful cheeses out there).
I am inspired by these people and their stories. I believe that it is dreamers like them that make the world go around, and a better place to be in. They had a dream and in order to make it happen they didn't sleep. They had to work really really hard, and are still working really really hard, but most of them seem to really love it.
The amount and diversity of food I ingested yesterday is noteworthy. I must've tried at least 25 different chocolates (boo hoo for me, right?), and 35 different cheeses. I had an incredible light and flaky and flavorful french pastry pizza from Olive Street Table (I'm thinking of trying this at home-keep you posted on that). Beautiful English butter biscuits that were so simple and so good. A brownie from the Fat Witch bakery that I'm still mooning over. A juicysweet apricot from Melissa's organic. Fat, juicy and piquant blue cheese olives...mmmm good! Some Tortuga Rum Cake that was almost as yummy as a rummy Johnny Depp in Pirates (almost)... To wash it all down I was loving the mint water, coming to a supermarket near you! What a brilliant yet simple idea, water lightly infused with refreshing mint. Genius all around, I tell ya!

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