SFFS16 review Pt 1: impressive innovations 

As overwhelming as the Summer Fancy Food Show was for me during my first experience there, I’ve managed to synthesize and organize some (not all) of my thoughts.  So for part one, I decided to go with the innovative vendors that impressed me most. Things I haven’t seen before, either in product or packaging or both, which were truly impressive and noteworthy among an expo of about 3000 vendors deserve the first review. 

Coincidentally, these “best in shows” also relate to my blog theme of eat, drink, and go!  One is about kicking up drinks to the next level, one is about flavoring my cooking with very innovative packaging of an excellent product, and another is about a great “on the go” packaging design that set them apart from dozens of others within their respective food/drink category. 

So first, drum roll please… Alice and the Magician’s Cocktail Aromatics. 


I think this review is going to get graphic – it’s definitely sensual.  Scentual, I mean. I have to inject some of my  own illustrative imagination because I didn’t have the opportunity to sit, sip, and savor this creation in an actual cocktail, wondering whether the aromatic or the alcohol was intoxicating me (hint – would love to sample this in actual beverage context and write even more!!). So here goes. 

The power of scent is huge. It is a sensory snapshot, creating a lasting memory inextricably linked to your subconscious and capable of invoking the most vivid recollections, aromatic arousals, and poignant pauses – asking yourself: where have I smelled this before? Alice and the Magician have captured this in their bottles. The scents that this company has created are powerful – not even a hint of an evaporator – and realistic. Like the linger of a lover’s cologne after a deep embrace, I can only imagine that this is what the aromatic does to your drink glass. What they have created here is sexy. It is fresh. It is novel. And it is clearly the product of the abundant effort and significant time investment of a perfectionist.  The scents included a scintillating citrus, a serene wood, a sultry cilantro and more. I would love to try these out with drinks, but I was moved by mere nose pleasure alone and am confident that this product will sell itself in home and restaurant bars alike. I saw nothing else like this at the Summer Fancy Food Show. Well done, A&M, well done. http://www.aliceandthemagician.com.  

Another innovator in the Drink additive category was Wild Hibiscus – but stay tuned…

I plan to write special about this when I perform the “drinxperiment.” I’m going to copywrite that term shortly. Credit me if you’re going to use it.  It just came to me. Probably because I’m drinking and blogging…but I digress…

Next, SALT is the salt of life. I roll with no less than a dozen different salts in my pantry at any given time. There were salts a plenty at the show; I lost count. But what counted by Gustav Vitae was their packaging. It didn’t hurt that the product was excellent – loved the blue cheese salt!!

Here’s the rub – pun intended- that the others couldn’t compete with: the package. The salt tin has a magnetic bottom to affix to any metal and it’s also a shaker with the option for a pinch or a pound. The green tea salt was also really cool and delicious and something I’ve never seen before in all my salt tasting experiences.  Points for innovation!  I loved this product and loved talking to them. Frankie was so nice and clearly loved his company, which is so inspirational to see. Hope to try some of their salts in my kitchen with dishes so I can write more about this!  www.gustusvitae.com. 

I also give big props to two other salt companies among the masses at the show – one of my trusty faves, San Fransisco Salt Co. – loved the new whiskey smoked salt, and one I tried for the first time, Madison Park Foods with a great Bloody Mary blend. 

My final finalist in innovative impressiveness is Tanka. There was at least a hundred different jerky makers at the show, but what set this one apart was their packaging. Not to mention good taste! 


The way they’ve packaged it is a two-pocket pouch. One pocket has the jerky and one has the trail mix of nuts and berries (all natural no salt and seasoning, which I LOVE in a trail mix). This is perfect for grab and go – to take on a hike or to take as you walk the wineries of St. Helena along Highway 29 in Napa Valley. I can see myself with this product in tow. Thanks Tanka!! http://www.tankabar.com. Also noteworthy was the jerky from Lorissa’s Kitchen in the Korean BBQ flavor. Delish! 


So this was Part 1 of my Summer Fancy Food Show reviews.  I also have to give major thanks to my friend Eric (a.k.a. The Junk Food Guy) for telling me about this must-do event!!  Stay tuned, I’ve already outlined parts 2, 3, and 4. 

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