Spotted on Shelves is back for more at the 2019 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.
I, and everyone else present, ate many free samples. So many samples. This did not affect what was chosen to appear in this column or my opinions of the products.
I love sampling savory foods at FFS. They feel slightly less sinful than the 9:00 a.m. ice cream scoops I managed to do all three days of the show. Sometimes they give me the momentary illusion I’m eating an actual meal, instead of the incalculable single mouthfuls that leave me unsure, at the end of the day, if I’m stuffed or starving.
Swiss Rösti Chili Cheese, Baked Potato and Swiss Raclette Filled Potatoes
I’ve never had a traditional Swiss rösti before, but clearly I’m missing out, judging by these convenience-food versions of them. They are balls of shredded potato with savory fillings that go right from the freezer to the oven and are toasty brown in minutes. I found them a little addictive, but not overly indulgent. The browned crust reminded me of a breaded coating, the potato inside fluffy, and the filling were well-proportioned and tasty. The raclette was my favorite, with its oozy swiss cheese.
Available in late July in select Whole Foods, Kroger, H-E-B, and other grocery chains.
Vegan Rob’s Burger Puffs
My first question at Vegan Rob’s booth was, “How do you make a vegan beef-flavored puff?” (Turns out it’s not beef-flavored – it’s vegan-beef-flavored – think Impossible Burger.) But the question I should have asked was, “Who eats vegan-beef-flavored puffs?” Vegans with fond memories of hamburgers? Meat fanatics with blocked arteries? We novelty addicts who’ll eat anything new and unusual? All of the above? These were beefy, but not overly. I enjoyed them, but my tastes lean toward cartoonishly-beefy, so if you prefer a more subtle flavor profile, you’ll love these.
Available in Fall/Winter 2019 online and in health food stores.
Truff Hot Sauce, Truff Hotter Sauce, Truff White Truffle Infused Hot Sauce
Truff has sidestepped the decades-long arms race of who can produce the most ridiculous hot sauce packaging. I mean, these things wouldn’t look terribly out of place on a wedding registry (note to self – quit job, launch hot sauce wedding registry business in 2020). This spice wussy enjoyed the truffle-forward flavor, and thought the heat was mid-range on the black-label version.
Available now online and select grocery and gourmet stores.
Savorly Cocktail & Party Bites – Mini Tarts, Mezze Bites, Cocktail Bites, Mini Pies, Mini Gratins, Croquettes and Mini Bagels
LOOK HOW TINY THEY ARE! EEEEE!!! I’m a sucker for anything mini, so I was instantly charmed by these. They’re freezer aisle products that you thaw & eat or heat straight from the freezer. The mini bagels retained the bagel flavor and chewy texture, but without the usual hard, shiny exterior (which I think might not work well in such a tiny, one-bite item). I’ll be having a teensy food/mega cocktail soiree when I find these out in the wild.
Available Fall 2019 at select specialty grocery stores.
Caulipower Chicken Tenders
…And the award for “Sample I Felt the Least Guilty Eating” goes to Caulipower Chicken Tenders! Not only was this freezer-to-oven chicken delicious, the crust tasted great. If I hadn’t seen the logo beforehand, I wouldn’t have known it was a cauliflower-based breading. My mother thanks you for convincing me to eat a vegetable.
Available Fall 2019 in mass grocery chains and big box retailers.
Xochitl American Style Corn Chips
The usually-Mexican-style chips have wrapped themselves in the American flag for the summer holidays! These are the standard thin, crunchy, salted Xochitl chips with red and blue color variants mixed in. The packaging also has a dedication to the United States Armed Forces.
Available now online and in grocery chains nationally.
Stonewall Kitchen Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Sriracha Horseradish Cream Sauce, Apple Blueberry Salsa, Bacon Queso, Malt Vinegar, Seafood Remoulade Sauce, Lemon Teriyaki Sauce, New England Cranberry Grape Jelly, Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, Cilantro Lime & Avocado Oil Dressing, and Bacon Vinaigrette
Stonewall Kitchen is one of my go-to condiment brands, so I’m always interested in seeing what they’ve got in store. I wanted to highlight two items of its new lineup. First, the Bacon Vinaigrette had a nice, strong bacon flavor, but was also very tangy. It might be a nice change of pace from the usual mellow vinaigrettes. The Lemon Teriyaki sauce was, similar to its Garlic Teriyaki, sweet, deep savory soy-ginger, with a really strong lemon flavor – more than I expected, but not mouth-puckering. I really liked it.
Coming in July to specialty grocery stores, gourmet shops and select retailers.
Field Trip Brooklyn Style Everything Bagel All Natural Beef Jerky
Everything bagel – the new pumpkin spice! I love trying to predict what things will get sprinkled with that poppy-seed-sesame-garlic-onion ambrosia next. Beef jerky wasn’t even on my radar, but I must say it works. But now, as a society, we have to tackle getting poppy seeds out of our teeth for mid-mountain hiking selfies.
Available now at Amazon and RaceTrac convenience stores, soon in CostPlus World Market and other specialty retailers.
Hanakifujin Pink Soy Sauce, Pink Wasabi and Pink Curry Sauce
As a card-carrying member of the “Too Old to Love Hello Kitty This Much, But Don’t Care” Club, you can see why I stopped at this booth. Pink condiments are just too good to pass up. The soy sauce was thicker and less salty than regular soy sauce, had a hint of sweetness and I loved it. I didn’t try the wasabi, but the curry sauce was also tasty.
Available now in Japan, distribution in US TBD.