A couple weeks back, I had the unique opportunity to attend the Summer Fancy Food Convention at the Javits Jones Convention Center. Boy oh boy was it an overwhelming, yet wonderful experience.
I had received the invite from a family member who happens to work in the “fancy food” industry and who knew how much I would get a kick out of such an event. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of the convention and had discounted it after looking at the website. You could equate it to going through Craigslist where the site interface is less than desirable but if you do enough digging, you can truly find some hidden gems.
This is yet another example of where one should not judge a book by its cover. The convention was a three-day affair, starting on Sunday and wrapping up on Tuesday evening. Located on the far west side of the city, there were two full floors of vendors housing items from all around the world.
Most of the vendors were attempting to gain a greater fan base and distribution platform. I never really understood how difficult it was to operate in the food industry until I spent some time talking to these individuals. Between the packaging the ingredients, the logistics of selling your product to the vendor and ultimately the customer, there is a lot of strategy that goes on.
I certainly have a habit of gravitating towards brands and products with outrageous or adorable themes. Coffee with a toucan as its mascot? Sure I’ll take a bag. A clean and crisp logo on the ice cream carton that reminds me of my scrapbooking days? Why not, I’m hooked. You could call it a weakness of mine or you could just say I’m the type of customer marketers are targeting. There’s childhood favorites, flashback memories, clutch combinations of ingredients to make one drool. Well played marketing team, well played.
~ Pineapple Coconut ~ Chocolate Espresso ~ Green Tea ~ Banana Oreo ~ Rootbeer Float ~
Oh Bubbies – I first fell in love with these frozen treats back at Santa Clara. Oh the downstairs market was dangerous with our food points. We liked to call them “Monopoly Dollars” as we really didn’t care where it came from (Thanks Dad & Mom) but would just swipe our ID card for whatever we very well desired (enter college weight gain…duh)
Looking for cheese? They’ve got tons! How about a black truffle? Yep, it’s there too. I especially found myself emotionally attached to some of the foreign goodies – from London’s mega tea company – TWINNINGS – and biscuit brand – MCVITIES – to Spanish chocolate and other fun looking labels.
While I was ooing and awing over the foreign affair, I was truly interested by the goodies made here in the U.S. of A. These were many of the products that I had often seen in smaller markets.
There was cold brew coffee that I had picked up once but never really considered its origin, Nikki’s coconut nut butters that I has seen all over the blogosphere, and so much more. Arctic Zero made an appearance and there was even Mr. Bob of Red Mill present to sign autographs and take pictures.
This is definitely what I would call a jaw-dropping experience – between the variety of products to the samples to the assortment of people and languages being thrown around. I’m pretty sure I spent a solid two hours wandering the aisles like a kid in a candy store – eyes wide open and attempting to soak in all the shapes and colors of treats and their packages.
Coffee for all times and occasions
Funny enough I had taken my Julia Child tote along for the day and began to pick up some token souvenirs. Sure the free samples were quite handy when planning meals or even some blog reviews, but these little buttons will last a lifetime (or as long as my hoarding habits continue)
I do have a few goodies left from the convention that I will be consuming and reviewing but for now, I’m still reveling in the good times on the west side.