At the Summer Fancy Food Show, Israel's influence runs deep
The country's culinary creations, from beet-infused couscous to trendy wine water, dotted every corner of the festival.
The Summer Fancy Food Show is a mind-blowing arena of thousands of foods from around the world – but there’s no specific section for Israeli foods.
At this summer’s Fancy Food Show in Manhattan, I initially thought it was an omission. But after walking the floor for several hours, I noticed something remarkable: Israeli food, technology, business owners and manufacturers were all over the place, and limiting the scope of Israeli products to one section would never have worked.
At the Woodland Foods booth, I was introduced to the highly popular Pilpelchuma spice, named for the Hebrew words for pepper (pilpel) and garlic (chum). Woodland’s VP of Sales and Marketing told me that his chef wanted to create a powdered version of the paste found throughout Israel and used in Libyan cuisine because it is absolutely delicious and a culinary trend.
While chatting with a brother and sister from Colombia about their family’s grass-fed buffalo farm, Deca & Otto, I learned that they use Israeli agricultural technology.
I saw all natural cane-sugar barista sticks (picture maple syrup meets rock candy) among other colorful and mouth-watering candies at the Richardson booth run by Israelis. Fresh Ideas, a new Vegas food company dedicated to healthy, non-GMO products, showcased their Israeli couscous with rosemary, apples, and pumpkin seeds.
Pereg wowed me with their cool new Banana and Plantain Flours, as well as a slew of trendy, ancient grain products.
Two Rivers Coffee, manufacturers of single-serve coffee, tea, cocoa and other gourmet beverage pods, buys all their k-cup lids from an Israeli manufacturer in Haifa, Israel.
I sipped on the new and ingenious O.vine grape wine water, a refreshing new drink in sparkling or still red and white varieties that gives you the flavor and antioxidants of wine (and pure spring water) without the alcohol content.
At Date Lady, a company that makes awesome date-based caramel sauce and other date products, I was told the company launched using fresh dates from Israel.
Estee Kafra, a fellow attendee and the owner of Kayco, told me at the show that she just released a new line of wine sauces manufactured in Israel.
I actually smelled this next one before I saw it, and the aroma nearly did me in – shakshouka sauce in a jar. The super-friendly Israeli family behind the Iron Chef label told me about the accidental way they went into the food business, and I met several generations of this five-generation family business.
One of the most intensely flavorful and high-quality product lines at the show was Fruit of the Land and Tishbi condiments and specialty foods. The winner of multiple awards, including Best Condiment in the World (!), a quick sampling of several of their products made it clear to me why their line is so successful.
The commonality among all of the Israelis and their companies was innovation. I passed multiple booths that all sold the same products. There was booth after booth selling olives from Jordan, dates from Turkey, pasta from Italy, and green tea from Japan. And then I’d find an Israeli-run booth and I knew I would discover something unique.
You may not find an Israeli section at the Fancy Food Show, but you will find Israel at the show everywhere you look – as a frontrunner in manufacturing, food trends and high-quality products.
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