NEW YORK CITY, NY
This year's sofi award winners have been announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. The finalists have been selected from a record number of 2,737 entries across all 32 categories.
"The creativity and passion our members bring to their foods and beverages was evident in the variety and quality of the contest entries this year," says Specialty Food Association President Ann Daw. "The winners clearly reflect our brand for the industry, "Specialty Food. Craft. Care. Joy."
Check out the winners by category...
Appetizer, Antipasto or Hors d’Oeuvres
Smokra; Rick’s Picks
Spanish smoked paprika gives Rick’s Picks Smokra, or smoked okra, its knockout flavor and its crunchy seeds contrast with the okra’s firm texture. Smokra is delicious solo as a healthy snack but it shines when wrapped in prosciutto or salami, or adds tang to any cheese plate. When the Smokra is finished, Rick's Picks recommends using the brine for marinating brisket or tofu.
Baked Good, Baking Ingredient or Cereal
Callie’s Charleston Cheese and Chive Biscuits; Callie’s Charleston Biscuits
Callie’s Charleston Biscuits uses no machinery and only fine ingredients to hand bake tender and buttery biscuits. The biscuits arrive frozen, ready to be reheated and served. The Cheese and Chive Biscuits combine sharp cheddar cheese and fresh chives to create a rich aroma and taste.
Cheese or Dairy Product – TIE
Whole Milk Rocotta; Bellwether Farms
Bellwether Farms is a family-owned farm and creamery in western Sonoma County, California, that has been making award-winning sheep and cow’s milk products since 1990. This Whole Milk Ricotta is made from pure Jersey cow’s milk with no added vinegar; the milk is cultured and hand-stirred to allow acidity to develop naturally. This unique process imparts a delicate texture and incredible flavor.
Red Witch; World’s Best Cheeses
Red Witch is a raw cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland that has been aged for nine months in aging cellars, lending a well-balanced, nutty flavor and a creamy texture with crystals developing over time. Red Witch was crafted to fit the playful spirit of Carnival (Mardi Gras) with a cayenne pepper rubbed rind and “scary” witch label.
Popcorn Toffee Squares; Poco Dolce Confections
This airy and light toffee is made with freshly popped organic popcorn folded into buttery sea salt-infused toffee. It is then cut by hand and enrobed in smooth bittersweet chocolate--resulting in a nostalgic and addictive snacking experience.
Gray Salt Caramel; Fran’s® Chocolates
These Gray Salt Caramels are crafted with hand-made, soft butter caramel dipped in Fran’s propriety blend of 64 percent dark chocolate and finished with gray sea salt harvested off of the Brittany coast. They are gluten-free, GMO-free, and made with organic ingredients.
Joia All Natural Soda – Orange, Jasmine & Nutmeg; Joia All Natural Soda
This all-natural lightly carbonated beverage combines the fresh flavors of orange, jasmine, and nutmeg in an intensely refreshing beverage. It is less sweet than traditional sodas with 60 calories per bottle. Also works as a mixer for great-tasting cocktails. Five other varieties are available.
Triple Ale Onion Savory Spread; Wozz! Kitchen Creations
This sweet and savory spread is made with three artisanal ales for a hoppy kick. It is delicious on grilled burgers and steak or as a condiment with wraps, paninis or toasted sandwiches. Try it as a perfect pairing with a variety of cheeses from blue to Camembert to vintage cheddar.
Bourbon Nib Brittle; Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co.
Bourbon Nib Brittle was a happy accident that occurred when friends and neighbors of Olive and Sinclair's owners offered the use of their spent bourbon barrels. They filled the barrels with a high-fat-content cocoa, which blended with the barrels' subtle notes of apple, cherry, and oak, and combined it with caramelized cane sugar and butter for a delicious brittle with a classic Southern bourbon finish.
Millionaire Shortbread with Smoked Hickory Sea Salt; The Sticky Toffee Pudding Company
This British cookie bar brings something new to the market. It has both a crunchy and chewy texture and the ingredients offer multiple flavor profiles like sweet and salty, plus creamy chocolate.
Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer
Hot Smoky Barbecue Sauce; Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs
This barbeque sauce is a Memphis-style fire starter that begins with brown sugar’s sweetness and finishes with a cayenne kick. It is perfect for slow-cooked ribs or pulled pork. Like each of Lillie’s Q sauces and rubs, Hot Smoky Barbecue Sauce honors the deep-rooted barbecue traditions of specific Southern regions. Other flavors include: Carolina, Carolina Gold, Ivory, ENC, Smoky, Hot Smoky, and Hot Pepper Vinegar.
Governor’s Cheddar Crackers; Castleton Crackers
In 2012, Castleton Crackers became part of the Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company and now uses Vermont Farmstead's American Cheese Society award-winning cheddar in these all-natural cheese crackers. Available for foodservice or in bulk packaging.
Dessert or Dessert Topping
Belle Chevre Goat Cheese Cheesecake; Fromagerie Belle Chevre
The 2013 sofi Award winner for Best Baked Good, this cheesecake is made with award-winning Alabama goat cheese flavored with sweet hints of vanilla and citrus zest. The light and airy texture comes complete in a graham cracker crust.
Diet and Lifestyle Product
Gluten-Free Lobster Mac & Cheese; Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.
This is a gluten-free version of Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co.’s double sofi Award-winning Port Clyde Lobster Mac & Cheese. It is created with sweet chunks of Maine lobster and quinoa pasta enveloped in a creamy mascarpone-cheddar sauce made with rice flour. The topping is a crunchy mix of breadcrumbs made from corn and rice mixed with Pecorino-Romano cheese.
Food Gift – TIE
S’mores Kit; Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery
This classic camping treat has turned into an elegant dessert made with high-quality, organic ingredients. Hot Cakes kit contains 12 homemade graham crackers, a bar of sophisticated smoked chocolate, and six organic, corn syrup-free marshmallows. The S’mores Kit is packaged in a compostable, recyclable, thoughtfully designed box that pays homage to the Girl Scouts and the forest.
Oregon Tradition; Rogue Creamery
Rogue Creamery celebrates the state of Oregon as well as their 80 years of tradition in handmade cheese with this artisan cheese gift. Oregon Tradition includes a 7-ounce wedge of Oregon Blue (made since the 1950’s), a half-pound of Oregon of TouVelle, and a half-pound of white cheddar curds. Also included in the gift is a zippered and insulated Nellie Bag, 10 sheets of cheese paper, and five-card set of Rogue Creamery postcards.
Mushroom, Garlic, & Scallion; Elegant Brie
This baked brie starts with creamy cheese that is loaded with sautéed, chopped, and sliced mushrooms and sprinkled with garlic and scallions. The result is brie that packs a mighty punch of flavor, with the rind removed for pure melt-in-your-mouth creaminess. The savory is hand-wrapped and decorated in flaky puffed pastry.
Licorice and Peppermint; teapigs
This combination of the natural root of the licorice plant (not the black, sticky stuff) with pure peppermint leaves creates a drink that is naturally sweet and refreshing. In addition to its great taste, Chinese medicine has used licorice for its detoxifying properties. Try it iced in the summer and warm in the winter.
Innovation in Packaging Design or Function
Coop’s MicroCreamery Handmade Hot Fudge; Coop’s MicroCreamery®
Coop's MicroCreamery Hot Fudge is made in small batches with European chocolate and local dairy ingredients. It is an all-natural treat that contains no gluten, corn syrup, preservatives or artificial anything. The registered trademark “drippy lid” uses hardened wax with a chocolate essence to give the appearance of hot fudge dripping on the jar--attractive packaging designed to catch the buyer’s attention.
Jam, Preserve, Honey, Nut Butter
Oatmeal Cookie Butter; Dave’s Gourmet, Inc.
This all-natural spread tastes just like oatmeal cookies. It is made with wholesome ingredients that lend a delicious flavor to toast, apple slices, cupcakes, and more. The thick, creamy texture makes it easy to spread and creates a wonderful mouth feel. The spread is also available in an apple pie flavor.
Meat, Pâté or Seafood
Fermin Ibérico de Bellota Smoked Panceta; Wagshal’s Imports
As a descendant of the wild boar, Ibérico de Bellota pigs are native to the Ibérian Peninsula and they are the last free-range hog in Europe. They graze on herbs and acorns (bellota), giving them a buttery flavor. In addition to developing a superior taste, Ibérico’s diet leads to high levels of oleic acid and monounsaturated fat, both of which have health benefits.
Lentil Rice Crispbread – Sesame Pink Salt; East Hampton Gourmet Foods
This Lentil Rice Crispbread is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and Himalayan pink salt and makes a nutritious, flavorful accompaniment to salad, soup, cheese, dips, or chutney. Crispbread also makes a great, gluten-free alternative to bread for your favorite sandwich. Other flavors include rosemary parmesan and chipotle cheddar (both vegetarian) and sesame pink salt and everything (both vegan).
Barbera Lorenzo No. 5; Lettieri & Co.
This olive oil is made with the single varietal of Nocellara del Belice from Castelvetrano in central Sicily by M. Barbera & Figli. It has a mild aroma and a sweet, delicate taste that makes it ideal for seafood dishes and for use in pastries. Barbera Lorenzo No. 5 is dedicated to Lorenzo Barbera V, the future master oil maker at M. Barbera & Figli.
Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce; Cucina Antica Foods Corp.
Every jar of this premium pasta sauce contains the light, fresh flavor of pumpkin combined with the imported Italian San Marzano plum tomatoes. The sauce is delicious atop ravioli, fish, and poultry but makes a rich, hearty soup, too. It is all-natural, gluten-free, preservative-free, and it is sweetened with honey (no sugar added).
Pasta, Rice or Grain
Beet, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Ravioli; La Pasta, Inc.
La Pasta roasts and sautés beets and butternut squash in-house and then folds them into goat cheese to make these ravioli. The filling is perfected with fresh chives and a pinch of sea salt and wrapped in a thin, delicate dough.
Perishable Foodservice Product
Bijou Food Service; Vermont Creamery
Bijou is a French-style ripened goat cheese packaged in its own micro-cave with an 80-day shelf life. Made from fresh pasteurized goat’s milk from family farms and dried and ripened for one week, Bijou has a unique sweet and yeasty flavor. Yet, it evolves with time, gaining a sharpness and complexity after 30 days. This cheese easily pairs with Gewürztraminer wines or Belgian tripel beers as well as hazelnuts, roasted olives, blueberry jam, and even bacon praline.
Through collaboration with expert sugarmakers, Tonewood is redefining a standard for elegance and quality in maple products that are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives. The products carry a sleek design and forward-thinking sustainability practices such as sustainable forest stewardship, local farming efforts, and funding of climate research to create gourmet products.
Ginger Soy Infusion Dressing; Wozz! Kitchen Creations
This dressing is a classic fusion of Japanese dashi stock with sweetened soy, chopped garlic, and ginger, finished with toasted sesame seeds. I can be served over Asian noodles or grilled chicken salad, or makes a delicious dipping sauce for potstickers or an excellent base for Japanese-style soups.
Salsa or Dip
Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dip – Original Blue Flavor; Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
This creamy and luscious dip works well with vegetables, wings, or chips or as a sandwich or burger spread. It can also thicken vinaigrettes to create a creamy-style, blue cheese salad dressing.
Shelf-Stable Foodservice Product
Tonton™ Hibachi Sauce with Sake; Argo Century Inc.
This sauce was originally created at award-winning Japanese restaurant Tokyo in Charlotte, N.C., with fresh ingredients including caramelized onion, slow-roasted green onion, Yamada Nishiki sake, and Konbu kelp from Kyoto, Japan. Tonton Hibachi Sauce with Sake has restaurant-quality taste and authentic Japanese flavor.
Dang Toasted Coconut Chips; Dang Foods
These chips are toasted to bring out the natural oils and buttery flavor of the mature, Non-GMO Project Verified coconuts used to make this delicious snack. They are simply flavored with a touch of vegan cane sugar and a dash of sea salt. Two other flavors are available: Original and Caramel Sea Salt.
Soup, Stew, Bean and Chili
Dinner Tonight White Bean Chili Seasoning; Backyard Safari Company
Each spice blend from Backyard Safari Company is all natural, gluten-free, and packaged by hand by workers in the community. The blends require only a few fresh, pantry ingredients to make a quick and delicious meal. The company seeks out quality ingredients and buys locally when possible.
USDA-Certified Organic Product
Cucumber Mint; Silk Road Soda Company
Cucumber Mint Silk Road Soda is an organic, refreshing beverage with full servings of apple cider vinegar and white vinegar and a touch of pure cane sugar. It is non-GMO and has no preservatives. Other flavors include Original Mint (Pear Mint) and Pomegranate Mint.
Thai Basil Drinking Vinegar; Pok Pok Som
With flavors like apple, ginger, honey, pineapple, pomegranate, raspberry, tamarind, and Thai basil, these drinking vinegars make a delicious and refreshing drink with a balance of tartness and sweet, bright fruit flavors. It is a perfect mixer in cocktails and delicious served as a non-alcoholic beverage diluted with four parts soda water.