As we have previously written about, the Fancy Food Show has been a highlight of the summer for our cheese team at The Wine Source. This year marked our third trip to the show which was held in New York (instead of D.C., like the previous two years). This year we all felt more prepared, having been hardened by time and past Fancy Food Show experiences; we had learned our lessons the tough way that it is outrageously easy to eat entirely too much of every type of food offered at this incredibly large show and to walk away feeling stuffed and ill.
This year, we prepared ahead of time, going into the show with a specific list of vendors and planned appointments. We struck a good balance between visiting with some of our already established vendors and exploring new, potential products. We said hello to our friends at Askinosie, Lark Fine Foods and Zoe’s Chocolate. We drank copious amounts of free coffee samples. We ate a lot of bits of chocolate.
But by far, our largest chunk of time was spent with our friends at Food Matters Again, a Brooklyn-based distributor that provides us with a good amount of our fine food products. At their booth we met a variety of cheese celebrities, including the charming Rodolphe le Meunier himself (who, I somehow, failed to get a picture with? We’ll just chalk it up to being starstruck.) We chatted with the fellows from Jasper Hill and said hello to the chaps from Neal’s Yard Dairy. We tried an incredible array of cheeses from all over America and Europe, not to mention tasting mostardas, olives, crackers and more.
Attending The Fancy Food Show provides invaluable opportunities to talk directly with the people responsible for the cheeses, charcuterie and sundry items that we carry. We are able to learn more about their creation and history, their production methods and new products in the works. And we are also able to say “Hey- you make that one cheese. It’s delicious. You are so awesome.” As the old saying goes, it’s nice to finally put a face to a cheese (I’m pretty sure that’s how it goes anyway). Meeting these cheese makers, salami curers and cookie bakers makes this whole business of carrying and selling their products that much more personal. I love being able to say “well, when I spoke with Rodolphe le Meunier this summer…” or “that’s just what James from Neal’s Yard was saying in New York..” (Full disclosure: I have literally never said either of those sentences in my life.) It allows us to grow our depth of knowledge for our products, and hopefully we will be that much better at talking to all of our customers about them as well.
And finally, we discovered new and wonderful products that will grace our cases and shelves shortly. Among the list are Caprino and Carboncino- two delicious cheeses from Alta Langa, Willoughby- yet another incredible cheese from Jasper Hill, as well as some new chocolates including Tcho’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Bar. So keep your eyes peeled for new items the next time you are in The Wine Source, and feel free to ask us about our experience at the Fancy Food Show 2013!