Highlights from New York's Summer Fancy Food Show

[Photographs: Nick Solares]

The Summer Fancy Food Show, North America's largest specialty food and beverage event, took place at the Javits center starting this past Sunday and wrapped up yesterday. The industry-only event (the general public is not admitted) is a showcase for over 180,000 different food and beverage products as well as ancillary industries such as printing, packaging, and point of sale systems. As you might imagine, fitting all that in to a venue requires a lot of space. This year the event took up two floors of the Javitz Center as well as the North Hall. Even with the event running three whole days, it would be difficult to see everything.

The halls are divided into national sections with the major food exporters like Italy and Spain occupying large swaths of space on the main floor, with smaller producers like Great Britain and Morocco in relatively small spaces. These sections are set up primarily for business meetings—they tend to give out printed literature rather than food samples. To eat you need to visit the individual company booths that make up the rest of the space.

A river of fruit

Here you will be plied with all manner of things to nibble on: cheese, charcuterie, sweets and even alcoholic beverages. This year the big trend was gluten free products: everything from popcorn to frozen tandoori chicken was labeled as such. There was far less discussion of non-GMO foods, but I predict that by next year that discussion will be is prevalent as gluten is this year. There was also a lot of cheese. I mean an awful lot of cheese—it was everywhere. You could also find plenty of domestically produced charcuterie.

Take a look through the slideshow to see selected sights, products and show winners.