Fancy Fooding

I am about a week late with this post- last week in town was the big event of the Fancy Food show, a paradise for gourmands! Not only did I have exceptional guides like Rosetta and Amy to show me around, I also had some truly fantastic food and got a chance to learn about some quite impressive new products soon available on the shelves!

The Italian government every year invests in buying a large section of the show and then resells the spaces out to individual producers under cost (you have to love our government- any way to spend public money while sending public servants out on free trips is definitely a worthwhile investment!). I have to say I was expecting a lot more out of this section- some products left me wondering why they can’t find a distributor yet. Others were okay- more industrial, a little less genuine. Some were downright puzzling… In general, the Italy booth was a bit of a disappointment with a big exception: Coppini Arte Olearia. It is now disclaimer time: I have worked with Coppini before, writing out a branding and an international marketing plan for them. The owner, Paolo, is a good friend I have been following for a while, and his product is one of my biggest puzzle: why is it not distributed? I love their olive oil- it’s sharp and delicious, very high quality, and overall quite cheap! I have bought their products in New York, and in Italy- wherever I can find them! I love their oil, and I am just really disappointed I can’t find it around here!!

Coppini Arte Olearia

Other products in the Italy pavilion were a bit boring, other than pizzoccheri (not distributed) and some of the cheeses. However, the most interesting Italian foods were outside the Italian pavillion, showcased by importers rather than by producers. This was a little disheartening, but I also know many Italian producers are too small to actually be able to shoulder the cost of a trade show oversea. My hands-down favorite Italian product was the Pate’ di Fiori di Zucca (squash blossom pate’) at Sapori of Sicily, a small producer/importer Bay area-based. I can’t wait to be sent some of their products to test out for my dinner guests!! Their have quite a line-up of interesting products, like a mousse of olive and almonds, a white caponata, an eggplant pesto, and many more!

Squash Blossom Pate\' at Sapori di Sicilia

I was excited to speak to the fine people of Giusto’s Vita-Grain Flours, a local miller specialized in organic flours. I can find their products at the Milk Pail Market, and when I can’t find double zero flour their bread flour is an excellent alternative. I learned they are trying to distribute to stores around the Bay Area (the Milk Pail Market sells their flour of their own accord!), as well as add a Double 0 flour to their product line-up. They already sell in bulk to restaurants, but they plan to finally hit the shelves with all their fine flours (and with the prized doppio zero!) soon. Can’t wait!

Giusto\'s Fine Flours

I will also soon need to make a full blown review on the Fra’ Mani products. They are truly growing their product line, and their salami is becoming more and more delicious as the months go by!! More about Fra’ Mani soon…


Then- not only was this Parma prosciutto delicious, I had a fits of envy based on the base they are using for knife cutting. Nothing better than hand carved prosciutto in my book!

Prosciutto di Parma

More interesting products on my Flickr Photostream

One Response to “Fancy Fooding”

  1. Hi I just found you, and I am so happy!! My daughter just moved to SF to attend college… I was up there MLK weekend and would have loved to attend this show….do you know if they have one in LA? Your site would have helped us to choose the best Italian restaurants to eat it while I was there, we did go to the Ferry Building on Saturday for the Farmers Market and to check out all the booths inside…very cool…I will be back.

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