Chai, Coconut and Critters

IMG_5385What better way to spend a rainy day than visiting the San Francisco Fancy Food Show. This past Tuesday, I fought my way through over 5000 stands showcasing a wide range of domestic and international food products including many of the newest trends that will hit the shelves of our neighborhood super markets soon. Read and see what I liked best, including chai teas, new and improved superfoods, all things coconut and yes, why not, critters. Come and cook with us!

Matcha teas, powders, blends that can be consumed by adding water or your choice of milk. Brands included DoMatcha, Teapigs, Aiya Matcha and many others. In general, the whole tea category was very inspiring with Marin’s very own Republic of Tea featuring one of the most complementary collections. When it comes to tea innovations, we like to highlight Leaner Creamer a coconut-oil-based all-natural blend that aims at “cleaning up the way we drink coffee”. I leave it up to you to decide if you’re ready for the creamer revolution. Certainly keep an eye out for Tea Drops. This new way to make and enjoy teas on the go is a sure winner. The drops come in little fun-shaped ground tea pellets that make away with tea bags and their packaging. I loved the rose earl grey heart-shaped drops but there are more flavors available in cute gift packages on the company’s website. I already ordered a stack!

Chai teas deserve their own section. There were so many different options and I loved David Rio’s and also Tipu Chai‘s 4th generation recipe that was absolutely delicious. Turmeric-based teas and other products were all the rage as well, standing out was Rishi’s Turmeric Ginger Chai, a “naturally caffeine-free botanical elixir”.

When it comes to snacks, sit back and enjoy what food gurus have come up to satisfy our – and our kids’ – insatiable desire to snack throughout the day. Whether Gourmet Superseedz, Nu Life Market‘s popped sorghum, super pretty Dardimans California Crisps fruit slices and Organic Gemini Tigernuts, the options are too many to be listed. Most are in line with the latest trends of gluten-free, vegetable-based, high-nutrient, low-sugar alternatives.

The other big hit is beef jerky, puffed pork skins and all the other juicy meat bits. Smokey, handsome and bold were the stands manned by equally strong and handsome studs enticing our inquiring palates to taste what they had on offer. How could we say no! Some of my favorites included KRAVE Jerky, Epic BarsPerky Jerky, Lawless Jerky and Three Jerks Jerky. I mean, really, could you come up with better names? For sure is that jerky is clearly dominating the snack category.

Another trend was one-meals in cups, including breakfast cereal bowls from Straw Propeller Gourmet Foods and the deliciously nutritious line of Dr. McDougall’s soups and whole grain oatmeal cups. Of the gluten-free options, we liked Simple Mills almond baking mixes and RP’s Fresh Pasta the best. And we also loved the little ready-to-use spice mixes from Just Cook that help turn home-cooked meals into amazing dishes as well as new super foods like Pure Moringa that can be used in shakes, sauces, soups and more. Finally, our friends from New Zealand featured their dairy-based protein powder kura that makes for a great addition to morning breakfast shakes.

No line-up of fancy foods would be complete without chocolate: there were many stands and we loved tcho, dagoba and poco dolce’s tiles and dairy-free bittersweet chocolate bars to name just a few.

That leaves the best for last. On my way out, I spotted a small stand right at the entrance with a lonely girl sitting and waiting for customers. I couldn’t figure out what she was offering. Oh boy, was I in for a surprise. Not one to shy away from culinary experiments, I happily accepted her offer to try one of her spiced roasted superworms. It was delicious. And if you live in the vicinity of the ferry building, Don Bugito: Prehispanic Snackeria’s little critter pouches can be purchased at La Cocina. I dare you to try it! Come and cook with us!IMG_5312 IMG_5358 IMG_5351 IMG_5303 IMG_5349 IMG_5338 IMG_5329 IMG_5400 IMG_5322 IMG_5391 IMG_5393 IMG_5325

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