This week marked the annual Specialty Food Association Winter Fancy Food Show, a trade-only event where more than 25,000 food buyers, specialty shop owners, wholesalers, distributors, and other industry professionals go to scout new products, get ahead of the trend curve, and get their finger on the pulse of the consumer food space right now.
It’s one of my favorite events each year because from macarons to chia seeds, I’ve kept a close eye on food and drink trends for the past decade and then some. When you scour 230,000 square feet of food booths, you get a pretty good sense of what’s up-and-coming, what’s hit the mainstream big-time, and what’s on the downswing. Here are a few of my takeaways on the current food and drink landscape based on this year’s show.
There are certain Thanksgiving recipes that I come back to year after year; one is this insanely delicious umami bomb of a mushroom crostata, and another is a creative take on the overly cloying condiment that is cranberry sauce: cranberry salsa. There are so many roasted and baked items at Thanksgiving, and this condiment—made with only fresh, raw ingredients—adds a much-needed brightness and zip to everything else on the table, from the turkey to the stuffing.
Along with a giant, turkey-and-stuffing-filled meal, each Thanksgiving I look forward to heading to my hometown of Houston to get my fill of Tex-Mex, so I thought it’d be fun to incorporate an element of that into my favorite holiday condiment. Behold: Cranberry pico de gallo. Like its salsa counterpart, it manages to wake up the whole meal, and as a bonus, it’s great with tortilla chips if you have a bunch of leftover cranberries the next day.