My Favorite Moments: Winter Fancy Food Show 2017 Review

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. It was my first year going and I had a blast. If you're not familiar, this is the kind of event that food lovers like myself dream of. Imagine walking through what seems like endless aisles of food from all over the world and sampling to your heart's desire.

About 1,400 producers show up at this event to connect with buyers and showcase their new products to press. From epic cheese spreads and charcuterie to all the sweets you can possibly imagine, this is the place to be to discover the hottest new products, producers, and trends of 2017. 

I met up with Mindy who writes the wonderful food and lifestyle blog Oishii Moments. We spent 7 hours together talking to producers and sampling so much food to the point where we started wobbling down the aisles and drinking matcha shots just to keep up! 

Here are few of my favorite moments and bites:

Enjoy the slideshow of photos below.

Thank you so much for having me, Specialty Food Association! I can't wait until next year's event.

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The Importance of Heritage Breed Meats / Highlights of Cochon 555's Heritage Fire Napa 2016

A few weeks ago, over 3,500 pounds of heritage breed animals were cooked over live fires by fifty top chefs at Cochon 555's Heritage Fire Napa. The event took place at the beautiful Charles Krug Winery in St Helena. 

My super awesome friend Ben of Focus Snap Eat was invited as a media guest and he took me along for the journey. For three hours, we ate a ridiculous amount of heritage breed meats and washed it all down with the best local wine and craft brews. 

There's no other food event that I've been more excited about to attend than Heritage Fire. I am a supporter of the movement that this event stands for. When given the choice, I will pick a heritage breed over commercial breed of livestock any day. Heritage breeds are raised on open pasture, free of antibiotics and growth hormones. It's an important part of our food ecosystem that results in diversity of quality and taste. 

Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe is the man behind this incredible movement to shine the gastronomic spotlight on the farms who are raising heritage breed animals and the emerging chefs and restaurants who highlight them in their dishes. The core mission of Cochon 555 is to drive awareness and demand for these products so it encourages farmers and ranchers to breed more animals to meet demand for their products. 

Check out the photos below for a recap of my experience at Heritage Fire Napa 2016. 

A video posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

A video posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

It was really cool to see all the different techniques used to cook these animals whole. I have much respect and admiration for this method of cooking. It ain't easy and requires a lot of attention and time to tend to to the fire. 

Badass Chef Sophina Uong in action with her flavorful roast chicken and Indonesian dirty rice made with chicken livers/offal. Even the veggies with the eggs were cooked on the fire for the gado-gado. This was one of the best highlights of the event. No other dish at the event could even come close to the sophisticated flavors and creativity of Sophina's dish. And she definitely wins in the beautifully plated category in my eyes. 

The wagyu bresaola.  

I've been following Master Salumist Tony Incontro of Del Dotto Winery for awhile on Instagram and it was so great to finally meet him in person and taste his cured creations. 

Tony greeted me with a warm hug and then he pulled out this beautiful house-cured prosciutto and starts slicing into it, check out the video below. It tasted just as beautiful as it looked and washes down extremely well with a glass of Del Dotto's jammy and full-bodied pinot noir. Give me a lounge chair and I could have easily spent all three hours here.  

My favorite bite out of the entire evening was Tony's mangalitsa lardo with peach and shaved truffle. I had so many of these velvety bites that even my water eventually tasted like lardo. Tony's charcuterie is truly unforgettable. I am definitely making a reservation at Del Dotto in the near future. 

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Chef Jenny Chamberlain of Hudson Valley Foie Gras speeding through the fire area with her duck tacos and kindly stops for us so we can take a photo of her. 

Zazu Kitchen served up a fantastic country-style pork pate and beef tongue porchetta. 

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I wish I had known that all the meat at the butcher's demo stage were priced for sale. I definitely would have brought a cooler with me. 

Northern Thai rabbit sausage with little gems, nam prik, and roasted peanuts by Chef Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Shuman of Ramen Gaijin

Chef Marc Zimmerman of Alexander's Steakhouse served up 100 lbs of killer 45 day aged creekstone beef and I got a nice bone out of it.

Cochon 555 puts up events across the nation, check out their events here: http://cochon555.com/ 

Thanks for having us as your guests, Brady and the Cochon 555 team! 

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Chantal Guillon & Dessert First's Holiday Party Recap: A Macaron Lover's Dream Come True

Chantal Guillon Red Velvet Macarons - Fall / Winter 2015

There are only two things that I love about the holidays, having time off from work and indulging in seasonal desserts. When it comes to macarons and French pastries, Chantal Guillon sets a high bar with her creative twists, impeccable textures and unique flavors. Chantal Guillon's Fall Winter 2015 - 2016 Holiday Catalog was just released and you definitely don't want to miss the limited releases and seasonal flavors. Chocolate dipped marshmallow or foie gras and salted caramel macaron, anyone? 

Patrick and I recently attended a very fun holiday party at Chantal Guillon's SoMa location, hosted by my food blogger friend and author, Anita Chu of Dessert First and Chantal Guillon.

The moment we entered the shop's spacious kitchen, my jaws dropped to the vision of hundreds of colorful macaron shells accompanied with full pastry bags, an endless chocolate fountain and edible 18k gold paint - all there for us to play with, decorate, and eat. 

It felt like I died and the heavenly gods sent me to macaron heaven.  

There were so many seasonal flavors to try and while I loved each macaron, five flavors won over my heart: guava, foie gras and salted caramel, green tea, passion fruit and spice road. 

If there's something to be thankful for this holiday season, it's the creative minds behind Chantal Guillon. Seriously, take a look at the Fall Winter 2015 - 2016 Holiday Catalog and see how brilliant macarons can truly be. 

YOU SHOULD KNOW: The shop operates as a cafe and serves great breakfast and lunch, think French comfort foods like eggs cocette (ham, soft boiled egg, creme fraiche, gruyere and herbs) or a baguette filled with pork rillettes. The buttery croissant au jambon with ham, gruyere and sauce mornay is worth the trip back alone! 

PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

I want to take this 10 level tower of macarons home with me. Can you believe that it holds up to 230 macarons?! 

Chantal and her team welcomed us into their kitchen to learn the art of macarons and we all had a blast.  

Anita Chu is an expert in all things dessert and her dessert blog is one of my favorites.  You should also check out some of her books on candy, lollipops, and cookies

The foie gras macaron is a new limited release for this year that cannot be missed, perfectly balanced between sweet, salty and richness levels, you'll want to order a box of 6 pieces just for yourself. 

You wouldn't believe how amazing this giant chocolate passion fruit grand macaron was. When you cut into the shell layers, you'll discover a chocolate and passion fruit mousse and a white chocolate truffle with a melty passion fruit ganache in the middle. It is incredible. Does the 18k gold chessboard decoration look familiar? It is inspired by fashion icon Louis Vuitton.

I painted my first macaron with a super thick coat of gold paint, not knowing at first that it was 18k gold until Jenn Yee, Social Media at Williams Sonoma laughs and says to me "That is one very expensive macaron!". If you've never tasted edible 18k gold before, it's sweet and metallic. It's usually brushed on very lightly, unlike my glowing creation. 

Playing around with raspberry, lychee and rose macarons. 

The party ended on a really sweet note. The shop offered each of us to pick out some macarons and pastries to take home with us. 

This heavenly lemon tart is to die for. It has the perfect amount of acidity, sweetness, and creaminess. The buttery crust is absolutely phenomenal. 

The Paris brest is a tasty traditional French dessert, made of choux pastry filled with traditional hazelnut praline cream. It was a delicious treat. 

Thank you Anita Chu and the entire team at Chantal Guillon for having us as your guests and for hosting an awesome event. I look forward to my next visit. 


VISITING CHANTAL GUILLON

Location

1309 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

There are multiple locations

Website

http://www.chantalguillon.com/

Phone

415-512-1020

Hours

  • Mon to Fri  8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Saturday 10 a.m. to sold out

  • Sunday - Closed

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