How best to describe the awesomeness of the Summer Fancy Food Show making its DC debut at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center… I can’t. It’s difficult to convey the scope of this specialty food and beverage event. But take a look at the numbers:
180,000 specialty food products
320,000+ sq ft of exhibit space
My friend Rishi and I went to the Show in 2008, where we learned a great deal from the experience, including the importance of wearing comfortable shoes and pacing oneself with food samples. You don’t want to fill up right away on bread, olive oil and cheese — that takes you right out of the game before it’s even begun.
It appears, if it’s possible, that there was even more food to be eaten this time around. Every exhibitor offered samples, and lots of them; it’s unfathomable how much there was to try. We did a lap around one of the exhibit floors without sampling — just to get the lay of the land — and then it was on. From 11:30am – 4:30pm, we’re talking full-on, food-to-mouth graze-fest, with only one quick break to hit the restrooms.
It was impossible for me to photograph everything — and technically, cameras aren’t allowed at the event — but I grabbed shots on my phone when I could. These pics represent maybe 1/3 of what I ate.
A peek at the carnage:
This mime was at the entrance to the exhibit hall. Kind of freaky looking.
Bacon spread from Skillet.
Bacon caramel toffee from Vosges.
(Bacon was a major player at this event — there seems to be a trend of including its flavors in everything, from Bacon Pops popcorn to cheddar and bacon dip).
A plate of Indian food.
Artisanal cheese was everywhere. Competition in the cheese market must be fierce, with all these competitors vying for the public’s attention.
Loved the smooth creaminess of this Humboldt Fog.
Tried a Midas Touch beer from Allagash Brewing Company.
Endless olive offerings.
One of our favorite stops of the day at The Salt Superstore stand, where cherry tomatoes were available to be cut up and dipped into the exotically flavored sea salts.
The smoked bacon chipotle salt was great.
Ciao Bella, offering both sorbet and gelato.
A cup of their Belgian chocolate s’mores gelato.
The Calendar Islands Maine Lobster booth.
Where we tasted the hearty lobster stew.
The PreGel America booth (I have no clue what that company name means). But I do know they served some tasty desserts.
One of many aisles devoted to Italy.
The Stubb’s barbecue sauce booth, where they had set up serve-yourself sausage and ribs. Needless to say, this was a huge hit. People were diving into those like wild dogs on an impala.
Tortas from Ines Rosales.
A cooking demonstration.
Chocolate mousse and quinoa with gooseberry.
Prosciutto was ubiquitous — especially in the Italy aisles.
This prosciutto slicer would make a fine decorative piece in the home.
I get star struck around chefs, which is pathetic, I know. I just don’t know what to say without turning into Chris Farley.
Rick Bayless in the house.
I was too intimidated to initiate a conversation, but I did sample his line of Frontera skillet sauces, served on these shrimp tacos. Very good.
And Jose Andres — in the pink shirt. (Rishi and I ate at Oyamel last night, so one of us should have sucked up and told him how much we loved it).
I believe The Summer Fancy Food Show is back in DC in 2012, before returning to its permanent home in NYC in 2013. I’m already counting down the days until next year.