As we all know, the sign of a great show is excitement and tired feet, and this year’s didn’t disappoint on either. And while my feet quickly felt better after a hot bath, the excitement the show generated has yet to leave my mind. This year’s smorgasbord of fascinating classic and trend-setting products dazzled attendees—from chips and cheese to plant-based and preserves, anything you could imagine (and even some things you couldn’t) crowded the show floor. But while pretty much every product brought excitement, there were a handful that I just can’t get out of my head.
Vermont Creamery - Goat Cheese Dips
Sometimes, you’re so tired, that even slicing a block of cheese sounds arduous. It is during those times that hungry and exhausted consumers will inevitably gravitate toward cheese-based dips and spreads. Latching onto that need is Vermont Creamery, who recently debuted its line of Goat Cheese Dips. The staunchest of goat cheese fans will marvel over the dippable qualities and exceptional flavor combinations paired with their favorite cheese variety. The Garlic & Herb flavor was what truly stole my heart—a classic combination paired with an exceptionally creamy cheese dip. Whether putting their feet up and munching down or curating a high-class snack plate, consumers will have no trouble working these dips into their repertoire.
Runamok Maple - Pecan Wood Smoked Organic Vermont Maple Syrup
There was a dizzying array of maple-based companies on the floor, but there was only one that truly opened my mind up to the possibilities maple possesses—beyond its status as a pancake and waffle accoutrement. Runamok Maple displayed an impressive and creative range of flavors, but for me, the crown jewel was the Pecan Wood Smoked variety. I never knew that kind of nuanced flavor was possible, but ideas raced through my mind on pairings with cheese, desserts, even cocktails! A drizzle of the smoky syrup on a piece of sharp Cheddar would be divine, and I will certainly be stealing the Mezcal pairing idea proposed to me by the friendly Runamok representative.
Sabine’s Collections - Baguette Crisps
Even though I'm a big fan of the classic, temperamental-to-bake baguette, I don’t always want bread on my charcuterie boards—bread can be messy, it’s bulky, and often not load-bearing enough to support denser cheeses and meats. So, when I happened upon these Baguette Crisps on the show floor, I was positively elated. Here is a sturdy—but not stodgy—cracker option that satisfies my traditional French bread cravings, while being an elegant entertaining must-have. Though I was partial to the Rosemary variety, the Baguette Crisps come in a range of flavors, so whether a consumer’s palate leans toward sea salt or cinnamon raisin, there’s a bread-made-better option at the ready.
Carr Valley - Budweiser Pub Spread
As I wandered the halls of Cheese LandTM, I came across one product that made me do a double-take. “What is Budweiser doing on the expo floor of WFFS?” I asked myself. But I was right, I had indeed spotted the American beer’s iconic logo plastered on a container of Carr Valley Pub Cheese Spread. I couldn’t stop thinking of the endless ways consumers could experiment with the unique flavor. Beer pairings are a given, but what about pretzels, sandwiches, or even mac and cheese? With pub-style cheese spreads growing in popularity, consumers will surely jump at the chance to take the classic flavor, with a unique twist, home to their refrigerators.
The Preservatory - Pink Grapefruit and Champagne Preserves
Like many, I am a huge fan of pairing sweet with salty, and there’s nothing I love more than a creamy piece of brie with a dollop of lilikoi jelly on top. Stopping by The Preservatory booth, I saw many varieties of upscale preserves that would be right at home on a cheeseboard, but the one I’ll never forget is the Pink Grapefruit and Champagne. A perfect mixture of sweet, tart, and tangy, this flavor is one that would really get dinner party guests talking. The unusual combination has endless applications, and wine pairing couldn’t be any easier—anyone care for a glass of bubbly?
Adieu till next year, Winter Fancy Food Show!