Sunday, February 18, 2018

Fancy Food Show - Part 2 of 3. Innovation is the benchmark of success.

Innovation is the benchmark of success ... Well, I'm not sure who said it first or If I've just elevated myself to genius level, but that statement is so true in both our professional and personal ventures.

The notion of how we move forward with new ideas is artfully crafted by the engine known as innovation. Also known as plain old reinventing ourselves.

I met five culinary artist at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January. All five took a standard idea that we have become accustom to and elevated it to a new food level. And each vision is better than you could imagine. So, let's not dilly-dally ... let's hop right into the first reinvention that caught my eye. Bread!

Bread? That's not new... okay, but waitament (translation: wait-a-minute) before we jump on a bandwagon of mistrust. Hear me out. No, bread is not new. Even French bread is not new.... but, how its made, sold and delivered is new. If I want French bread I go to the local bakery or super market,. I meticulously press against the white waxy paper wrapper to see if there is a hint of crunch or the worst case scenario a hint of staleness. Fresh crunch, good sign. Next, I take a whiff and if it has the aroma of butter... it gets tossed in the basket. If there is even a hint of staleness or hard as a board ... then, my upper lip curls with disdain and it goes back into the dark depths inside the bin where it came from....hopefully only to see the light of day in a bread pudding or Italian panzanella.

The innovative idea was to take the notion of technology, a mobile bakery and a vending machine and produce fresh, warm, spongy on the inside and crunchy on the outside best with brie baguette. I love a great idea made even better. Now, this might not be a notable idea to the wonderful people of France where boulangeries are well established businesses, on each corner or made fresh at home. But, in America the idea of a warm baguette made in minutes while I stroll around the market and pick up grapes, cheese, apples and wine on the way to the beach is almost like Christmas morning ... okay, I said, "almost". Sure the French beard in the grocery store is fine... but, it's room temperature ... and even cold. This baguette was still warm to the touch and made the brie melt slightly. Yes, it was heaven. To find out more about Le Bread Express go to

Next up, is pure genius. Nothing less. Candles .... wait for it ... that are edible. Nope you read that right ... the candles are edible. For years we have spent last minute runs to the store, or called a friend to pick up a pack or two for you on the way to your house, or scowered the "junk drawer" in the kitchen looking for waxy colorful candles to set on top of a cake or cupcakes for someone to blow out. I've done it. You've done it. Our friends have done it. Now, by design "Let them Eat Candles" has created edible chocolate candles. Don't worry the wick is real and doesn't melt the chocolate. They come in an array of colors to suit any celebration. Bonus, instead of people licking the icing off waxy candles... you know you've done it... you can keep licking away right down to the last nibble. This company is family owned and operated ... and bonus the Wife & Mother created the candles from a family experience. To check out more details go to

The next product will have to ultimately change it's name. Because it won't be a "Little Secret" much longer. This is true innovation and quite brave. The candy industry is a hard industry to break into and what we have to choose from has been on the shelves for decades. Such as a popular candy that we all know and love M&M candy. Think of Little Secrets as an elevated version of that well known candy. Little Secrets are a  hard candy coated drop the size of a small gun ball. They load flavor, upon flavor, upon flavor in a single mouthful. Sadly I have to admit ... I ate the entire bag of Sea Salted Peanut by my lonesome. They were delicious. More importantly they come in a variety of flavors to choose from in a generous size bag. Unique flavors such as toasted coconut, peanut butter, peppermint, raspberry and spiced pumpkin pie... just to name a few. You can tell with each bite the candy was crafted from love, respect for the ingredients and a pure desire to put the best product possible in your mouths. I can imagine several ways to use Little Secrets. In cookie batter, as a gift for any holiday, toppers to cupcakes, ice cream, hot buttered popcorn.. a just to name a few. Most importantly, the product tastes like real chocolate that was just melted. To find out more about these lovely morsels go to

Okay, last one.... and not the least by any one's imagination. This was my favorite innovative product for the night. Runamok Maple... and the name suggests exactly what is in store. Maple syrup taken to another level. What I love about this product is from the bottle to the label to the ingredients inside much care and thought went into making the product note worthy. The classic bottle shape reminds me of the old fashioned flasks that you'd see in black and white movies. But, what is inside is so much more. The second thing I love about this product is the double duty it brings. While tasting the syrups not only did it have the classic real maple consistency, but it reminded me of food. Or at least what I'd serve or make with the syrup. The Pecan Wood Smoked Maple Syrup reminded me of Chicken and Waffles. The Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup reminded me of a fresh summer cocktail. The Cardamom Infused Maple Syrup reminded me of spicy Indian curry over a bed of rice or coucous. Love a product that does double duty.

There are many flavors they highlight on their website found here This will become a staple around the house for enhancing flavor, sugar substitute ... or just because the bottles are so cool.

That's the innovations line up. Hope you liked the article and that you try some of these products. You won't necessarily find them at your local stores, so take advantage of the on line discounts.

Remember, cooking with love makes any recipe taste better ... and these innovative products are worth falling in love with.


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