SPOTTED AT THE 2018 SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW (IT’S MADE OF WHAT? EDITION)

Spotted on Shelves is showing off what was in the aisles at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show (FFS) in New York City. I scoped out new products from familiar brands and interesting things from up-and-coming companies.

As is the nature of trade shows like this, I was plied with free samples and the occasional tote bag. This did not affect what was chosen to appear in this column or my opinions of the products, but it did affect my waistline.

One of the thrills of FFS is new things – ingredients and processes and forms you’ve never heard of. In the immortal words of C+C Music Factory: “Things that make you go hmmmm…” Here’s a few of of what I found in the aisles.

Mansi Premium Calamansi Juice Drink

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Ever heard of Calamansi fruit? Me neither. It’s a citrus fruit from the Philippines. When I took a sip of this calamansi drink, I flashed back to every vacation where I leisurely consumed bad novels and tropical beverages. The reps at the Mansi booth described the fruit as “Lime on the outside, tangerine on the inside,” which was a pretty accurate assessment of the flavor of the juice. They were serving it on ice and warm – which I could totally see myself curled up with on a chilly autumn night with some of those cookies from the previous post.

Available now in select East Coast & West Coast grocery stores and on Amazon

Suzie’s Black Rice Drink Non-Dairy Beverage

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It feels like every other week there’s a new “milk” coming out…and here’s another one! How does one get milk from rice? It it like getting blood from a stone? While billed as a “non-dairy beverage,” this stuff if definitely milk-adjacent. Not only that, it’s CHOCOLATE-milk-adjacent. The color was chocolatey, and the taste had a cocoa quality – along with a little hint of savory that would keep me from believing this was cow’s milk. But it was pretty tasty and a good alternative if you can’t do dairy.

Available online, at Independent grocery stores, natural foods stores and Amazon starting in late September.

Rooted Food Co. Popped Lotus Seeds – Cheese & Chives, Thai Sweet Chili, Jalapeno, Salt & Vinegar, and Salt & Pepper

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I’m starting to think that you can pop or puff anything, dust on some seasoning and it’ll be good at a party. I’ve never had lotus seeds before, but blindfolded, I would have thought I was eating popcorn or a puffed rice snack. The flavoring was present, but not overdone. The Thai Sweet Chili was my favorite.

Available online, at Independent grocery stores, natural foods stores and Amazon starting in late September.

McConnell’s Eureka Lemon & Marionberries dairy-free ice cream

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Again, never heard of marionberries. Apparently they’re like blackberries, but different? Well, this non-dairy ice cream tasted to me like lemon and a laid-back raspberry combo. The lemon wasn’t overpowering, it it felt almost sorbet-ish in texture. A nice refreshing summer treat. And with one letter change, it could be named after a certain former Washington DC mayor.

Available now at select grocery stores nationwide

Miracle Tree Organic Moringa Superfood Energy Infusion Teas – Moringa Vanilla Oolong Grape Tea, Moringa Green Tea Ginger & Lemon Tea, Moringa & Chai Infusion Tea, Moringa Cherry Chamomile Tea, and Moringa Orange & Passionfruit Tea

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Class continues – Moringa is an herbal plant that grows in India. It must be the hot new health food because it was EVERYWHERE at the show. I tasted the moringa green tea, ginger & lemon tea of this brand. The tea itself looked really natural – instead of the usual ground up dust, this was big pieces of leaves and lemon rind. I really liked the moringa – it was grassy, but in a bright and sunny way that worked well with the lemon. The ginger was KICKING – the back of my throat burned. A good tea, but I’d prefer it a little less gingerific.

Available in select grocery stores starting in August

Vegan Rob’s Ashwagandha Puffs and Moringa Puffs

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OK, yes, I’m back at Vegan Rob’s – but for good reason – he dropped another new ingredient on me with his upcoming Ashwagandha Puffs. Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian ginseng” and seems to cure or help a long list of ills. But what I really curious about was what these puffs tasted like since the word Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “horse smell.” Alas, there were no samples yet of the Horse-Smell Puffs. Considering all of Vegan Rob’s other puffs tasted great, I trust it’s going to be good. Also, our new friend moringa made an appearance in puff form at the booth. They had the same nice, bright grassy taste as the tea I sampled earlier and were just a little sweet.

Moringa Puffs available now online and health food stores. Ashwagandha Puffs coming soon.

Asarasi Water Harvested From Trees – Sparkling Tree Water, Organic Sparkling Lemon, Organic Sparkling Lime, and Organic Sparkling Cherry Lime

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Water harvested from maple trees. Maple trees aren’t exactly novel ingredients, but water made from trees? I’ve seen it in survivalist situations, but not in a grocery store. The water is a byproduct of tapping the trees for sap and is usually discarded. I tried the unflavored sparkling water – it was good, but definitely tasted different than your average bottled water, but it was hard to put my finger on why. If it was in a glass served to me, my reaction would be “What’s up with this water?” So leave it in the bottle so you don’t have to explain over and over to people that it’s tree water.

Available now in grocery stores and food service outlets.

4 thoughts to “SPOTTED AT THE 2018 SUMMER FANCY FOOD SHOW (IT’S MADE OF WHAT? EDITION)”

  1. Marionberries are a blackberry-raspberry hybrid that are grown in the Pacific Northwest. Named for Marion County, Oregon. They’re my FAVORITE berry and are absolutely wonderful in pie, but their growing season is relatively short and they don’t ship well – I’ve only ever seen them fresh in Oregon/Washington. They’re delicious!

  2. Interesting products. I tried puffed lotus seeds from my local Indian grocery store. They call it “phool makhana”. It was unflavored and stale lol. Id definitely try them again though, albeit flavored and fresh like the ones pictured XD

  3. I had to laugh when I saw the picture of the tea bag…I recognize that Hello Kitty Cafe mug! I’m drinking from one right now.

    I’m curious about the rice drink.

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