A lot of the American diet is inefficient: heavy in empty calories, with a limited palette of flavors, so sugar and salt can be dialed up to make up for lack of substance. However, the foodie movement grows and people are becoming informed on nutrition and this careful mentality around what we consume is now penetrating the mainstream.
So what better way is there to promote healthy foods than with a gathering of all fine foods in one location where every bite is to be savored for its richness in nutrients? The antithesis of sorts to the junk diets that are so prevalent at our supermarkets in a 3 day convention for foodies to gather from around the world, to explore and nibble, like a tapas afternoon, but stretched out to 3 days.
Thousands of people are hip to the secret as the Las Vegas Convention Center event drew thousands in this Sunday to Tuesday affair. Attendees walked around, with hundreds of booths they could visit, full of samples and food showcases. Aside from the samples, attendees were to meet the most passionate business owners, small and big, from big wholesale providers to small startups featuring a signature product.
Most importantly it was a diverse and international affair featuring food and beverages from all over the United States and the world. Half of the large expo hall was dedicated to an “Around The World” exhibit where people could stop at different regions.
Did you know the Italians have the best blood oranges? Or Polish apple juice tastes better than anything you can get in America? Or Cotton Blues’ great Mississippi cheesecake, New York approved, with the freshest ingredients?
The organizers did a great job organizing the hundreds of exhibitors in logical areas of groupings. Besides the international section which could have been an expanded version of Atlanta’s coke museums sampling stations, there was a domestic section which featured key states like Minnesota and Mississippi and speciality food products like dairy or jerky or gourmet cheeses.
One of the best highlights for me was Michelin Chef Mike Mina’s wife, Diane, who had her homemade Bloody Mary mix. Her display featured all the fresh vegetable ingredients in her mix and the flavor was just unmatchable. Her passion and focus on her signature product stood in contrast to many other exhibits that had huge menus, which were also impressive upon themselves.
Some of those “large selection” exhibits included Noh from Hawaii which had delicious savory food including gravy over rice and Korean bbq (Hawaiian style of course), allowing visitors to have one of their 3 cooked meals and Mosul Kubba, dedicated to fine frozen Middle Eastern meals, who sent everyone off with a taste of 3 different dishes including chicken and kebabs.
Besides foods, there were great wines to accompany cheeses, and other interesting beverage options such as Açaí Roots who’s line of products is anything you can imagine with açaí, from straight up acai juice to a cranberry mixer type that is screaming out for some vodka mix.
There was also specialty water in sparkling and regular varieties imported from Italy like Smeraldina. Sugimoto Teas focused primarily on green teas. Even powdered drinks were featured, all with a healthy component of added vitamins and more choices than you can imagine, 60 different flavors worth at Go Bolero.
But my favorites included the passionate small business startup like Pegasus Jerky, featuring the best meats from Texas and the owner’s passion to feed his customers. And a huge shoutout to large family farms like Alexandre Family Farms featuring a whole variety of milks, cheeses and even gelato.
There’s something for everyone and Vegas’ Winter Fancy Foods Show demonstrated the growth of the foodie movement, especially a nutritious one.
Marc Ang (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a community organizer in Southern California and the founder of Asian Industry B2B. He is a big foodie and enjoys all cuisines, his favorites being Indian, Italian, Japanese and Korean BBQ. Marc’s book “Minority Retort” will be released in early 2022