Home Uncategorized Las Vegas Showcases Exquisite Delicacies at Specialty Food Trade Show

Las Vegas Showcases Exquisite Delicacies at Specialty Food Trade Show

Imagine stepping into a convention center in Las Vegas, expansive as ten football fields, filled with a rich variety of specialty food offerings. At this grand venue, you encounter booths displaying products as diverse as Wagyu beef jerky and gochujang cheese, alongside innovations like cauliflower snack puffs, pickle dip, plant-based shrimp, numerous nonalcoholic beverages, and even Snickers flavored coffee. The Japan External Trade Organization stands out with its extensive array of products and a chef preparing chicken teriyaki live, captivating attendees.

This vibrant scene describes the Winter Fancy Food Show, an annual event organized by the Specialty Food Association—a nonprofit entity established in 1952 comprising artisans, importers, and distributors in the specialty food sector. The show, held last month, drew thousands, including experts like Whole Foods Market’s Ambassador of Food Culture, Cathy Strange, a prominent figure at the event.

Strange, adorned with a pin proclaiming “the best things in life are cheese,” led the exploration through a maze of snacks, desserts, and dairy delights, greeting acquaintances warmly at each turn. Her nearly 34-year tenure at Whole Foods has made her a respected voice in selecting specialty foods ranging from cheeses to artisan chocolates.

During our tour, Strange highlighted emerging trends likely to hit the market in the coming years, including unique combinations of alcohol and cheese. Notably, she introduced me to Jasper Hill Farm’s Withersbrook blue cheese, a raw milk variant from Vermont, steeped in ice cider—an innovative take that marries the creamy texture of blue cheese with the tart sweetness of cider.

At another booth, Maine Crisp showcased their buckwheat crackers—gluten-free and crafted from the seeds of flowering plants, reflecting a growing trend in grain alternatives. Their offerings, like the fig and thyme crisps, paired wonderfully with cheeses and could easily enhance any gourmet platter.

Another highlight was the Funky Mello booth, where I sampled their vanilla marshmallow creme. This plant-based delight, made from aquafaba, offers a new twist on marshmallow treats and is ideal for coffees or as a fruity dip. It’s an innovative product reflecting the diversity and inclusion celebrated at the show.

I also discovered the Art of Broth, which produces savory plant-based broths packaged like tea for convenience, offering a quick and comforting broth experience with just hot water and a few minutes of steeping.

The Winter Fancy Food Show not only highlighted culinary innovation but also served as a platform for recognizing and incorporating diverse, sustainable food solutions into everyday dining experiences. As these products make their way to markets and menus, they promise to enrich the culinary landscape with their unique flavors and creative uses.

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