The Speciality Food Association sponsored the 46th Fancy Food show which returned after 50 years absence to Las Vegas on February 6 – 8, 2022. The trade show is a three day twice-annual event aimed at the $170.4 billion specialty food industry, which includes tens of thousands of specialty food and beverage products – everything from high-end butter and drinkable, edible treats to the latest and greatest weird snacks you can find on the shelves of your local grocery store.
Items such as mushroom-based jerky and plant based cookie dough could be found on the convention floor. The number of unique and gourmet food items seemed endless. Visitors were forced to consume so many delicious samples. (Okay, nobody actually forced us.) Most of the exhibitors were small manufacturers; there was no Hershey or Mars corporations there.
Here is a sampling of some of the unique food items we discovered and tasted from among the 837 exhibitors:
John Kelly Chocolates are beautiful high end chocolates. They have brick and mortar stores in Hollywood, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills California. And their luscious chocolates are available on line.
Tortuga Products makes a variety of products, but their rum or alcohol infused cakes were featured. They were offering samples of cakes infused with Moonshine,whiskey or rum. The alcohol infusion enhanced the taste of the cakes. On line purchasers are offered a variety of flavors including blue mountain coffee, cinnamon raisin and key lime.
Endiro Coffee is special. This is a woman’s owned business based in Uganda. Some of its profits are directed to help ending child vulnerability in Africa. The coffee beans are grown in Uganda’s mountains at 6,000 foot elevation. I sampled the finished product and enjoyed the rich smooth taste of the coffee.
Mae Fine Foods offers an incredible assortment of bonbons and macarons. My favorite bonbon is called the Midnight Mint. It contains mint infused dark chocolate ganache finished with Creme de Menthe, encased in a dark chocolate shell. I also enjoyed the pistachio macaron which is composed of pistachio infused white chocolate ganache in a handmade macaroon shell. These products can certainly be classified as gourmet.
Alice’s Sweet Tooth manufacturers French meringue kisses. They are non-GMO and are gluten free. Each kiss is light and airy and is only three calories. So you could eat a lot of them……
The show ended the first day with a happy hour consisting of food from three food trucks as well as beer and wine. The crowd was enthusiastic and everyone was glad to start doing face to face business again after a two year shutdown due to the pandemic.
A few facts and figures from the Fancy Food Show:
- 837 total exhibitors – 669 domestic and 168 international
- 130,250 sq feet total – 109,850 for Domestic and 20,400 for International
- State pavilions: California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Virginia
- International pavilions: Spain, Greece, Singapore, Poland, Japan, Italy, Indonesia, France, Canada, Brazil, Morocco, India
- Countries represented – In addition to International pavilions, multi-booth countries include Turkey (3 booths) and Southern Africa (5 booths), with China, Lithuania, Morocco, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand being represented by independent companies.
- New pavilion – Startup companies
- 204 first-time exhibitors
Photos by Dianne Davis or Burt Davis
Story by Burt Davis and Dianne Davis