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Archive for the ‘Beverages’ Category

The start of the fall season means planning time for 2012 PR and marketing programs, so I’m pleased to release our 2012 event schedule of media events.

Click here to download the 2012 Food Fete Brochure.

2011 was a record year for Food Fête on several fronts, so we’re keeping with the health-focused events launched earlier this year, with one slight modification. Our regular Winter and Summer Events in San Francisco and New York City, respectively, will continue, as will the Allergen-Free event and Food Fête Chocolat.

The main change for 2012 is the “Healthy Foods for Kids” event will become a broader “Health & Nutrition” event, encompassing not only healthy foods for kids, but also glycemic-friendly foods for diabetics and heart healthy foods, for example.  The goal is to make the event accessible to more brands that are launching new, healthier foods in 2012.

The online exhibitor application for all of our 2012 events is also up, and can be accessed at http://fs19.formsite.com/foodfete/FoodFeteApplication2012/.

Drop me a line at jeff@foodfete.com with any questions.

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Despite a day that began with heavy rains, the skies cleared in time for our Food Fête media event on Monday, Jan. 18 in San Francisco.

Better yet, Monday night set a new attendance record for our West Coast event.  I’m still finalizing the list, but can confirm that we topped the 2009 attendance within the first 30 minutes of this year’s event start.

On the exhibitor side, we set another record with 21 exhibitors, including our wine and spirits sponsors, which were a big hit as always.  Oregon micro-distiller Sub Rosa Spirits served its Saffron and Tarragon-infused vodkas; Patron Spirits poured tequila cocktails with it Patron Silver Tequila; and Sam’s Club used Food Fete as the national debut of its new premium Rue 33 Vodka.

Here’s a link to the full list of exhibitors from our Food Fête media website, and you can see more photos on our Flickr page (more posted later) at http://bit.ly/7pYXdm.

I also must complement our exhibitors for helping make this event one of our smoothest-run ever.  Thanks guys!

Here is some very early blog coverage from the event, and I will update this list as more posts/coverage becomes available, so check back.

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I’ve been collecting online media coverage since our Food Fete event on June 29 in New York.

Please email me any additional links that I’ve missed, and I’ll be sure to add them.

It’s too early for the long lead monthlies, but I’ve been tipped off to some expected coverage later this year.

The Product Pasha (Senor Sangria)
Intrepid Culinologist (multiple exhibitors)
Slashfood (21st Amendment Brewery)
Karen Hochman: Facebook
Bite of the Best (Kernel Season’s)
Bite of the Best (Mirassou Winery)
Bite of the Best (Senor Sangria)
Bite of the Best (Kettle Foods)
Socially Superlative (multiple exhibitors)
Slashfood (multiple exhibitors)
The Village Voice (21st Amendment Brewery)
This Next (Pestos with Panache)
This Next (Stonewall Kitchen)
TheGirlAttheParty.com (Pestos With Panache)
The Product Pasha (Antoine Amrani Chocolates)
Tish Boyle Sweet Dreams Blog (Antoine Amrani Chocolates)
Sustainable Joy Blog (multiple exhibitors)
Cookie (Kettle Foods)

What I Made for Dinner Blog

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hansens valencia

I admit that I drink too much diet soda.  I weened myself off the caffeinated versions last year, giving me limited — and often boring — options of both sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks.

But I’m a new fan of Hansen’s Sugar Free Natural Valencia Orange beverage, which I picked up at my local grocery today.  Hansen’s doesn’t seem to be marketing this as a soda, per se, but it fills that niche for me.

Based on the ingredient list, it’s marketed as triple filtered sparkling water with natural fruit flavors, etc.. Hansen’s is sweetened with Sucralose (Splenda) rather than Aspartame (NutraSweet), which for me lessens that uber-sweet, chemical taste often found in many sugar-free drinks.  Hansen’s is light and refreshing…and isn’t that the whole point of this category of beverages?

Now I’m not saying that Sucralose is the perfect sweetener (it’s not), but I’m happy to have a new sugar/caffeine-free choice on the grocery aisle. And because the Valencia Orange also contains ascorbic acid, it has an added bonus of Vitamin C.

Nutritional Facts: Serving Size 1 can. Calories 0 Calories from Fat 0g Total Fat 0g/0% Sodium 0mg/0% Total Carbohydrate 0g/0% Sugars 0g Protein 0g/0% Vitamin C 100%

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Two exhibitors from our summer Food Fete media event in New York City got the nod in the Oct. ’08 issue of O Magazine.

Lucini Italia’s 36-month aged Parmagiano Reggiano; and Napa VinJus, a non-alcoholic beverage made from unripe varietal grapes from Food & Vine, Inc. were prominently featured.

This is the second consecutive year that two Food Fete exhibitors made the pages of O Magazine following our New York event.

Congratulations to Lucini Italia and Napa Vinjus!

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I had the pleasure recently to meet with Gretchen Nix, co-founder of Modmix.  They make a line of premium, all-organic cocktail mixers that are several notches above the ordinary mixers you’ll find at local supermarkets.

The idea behind these high-end mixers, according to Nix, is to help cocktail lovers make great drinks, but who aren’t skilled at making complex cocktails with multiple ingredients. Modmix takes a “less is more” approach in creating very flavorful mixers that are about as close to homemade as you’ll find.

Modmix’s six flavors include Citrus Margarita, French Martini, Lavender Lemon Drop, Mojito, Pomegranate Cosmopolitan and their newest flavor, Wasabi Bloody Mary.  All flavors include pure organic ingredients.

In sampling several flavors (without alcohol — it was before noon!) I noticed a very fresh taste that was not overly sweet.  My personal favorites were the Citrus Margarita, French Martini and Wasabi Bloody Mary.  Give them a try at your next party.

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Tales of the Cocktail Barchef Competition

My first trip to the wildly popular “Tales of the Cocktail” event in New Orleans last weekend was an eye opener.

Not surprisingly, there are some hard-core drinkers at this event.  New Orleans and its legendary bar culture couldn’t have been a more suitable backdrop for an event when you start sampling cocktails at 10:30 a.m. (during the seminars and tastings, of course), and not concluding until late in the evening.  I couldn’t keep up.

I arrived in New Orleans on Friday in time to attend a barchef competition, then bought a day-pass for Saturday.  My favorite seminar was “Regional Trends in American Cocktails,” hosted by a panel of bar consultants, writers and journalists.

Here are some takeaways:

  • “Culinary Cocktail” is the the new catchphrase for today’s sophisticated cocktails.  As with food, consumers are becoming more informed and discerning and adventurous in their cocktail choices.
  • California is seeing a strong Asian influence in cocktails.
  • The SF Bay Area is experiencing “market-driven” mixology, referring to the abundance of local ingredients found at farmers markets.
  • Hyper-seasonal cocktails. Bartenders are getting in more touch with local, in-season ingredients and how to use them in their cocktails.
  • Given the focus on culinary cocktails, the area behind the bar is looking more like a kitchen than a traditional bar.  Skills with a saute pan and chef’s knife are become more and more valuable among mixologists and barchefs.
  • Cocktail and food pairings:  Like wine and chocolate have been paired with foods in recent years, cocktails are now getting more pairing attention among restaurants wanting to offer something new. Cocktails made with tequila, absinthe and rye were mentioned among those spirits being paired with certain foods.
  • Micro-distilling: Artisinal spirits from small, regional distillers (often using locally-grown grains) are all the rage, particularly among bartenders willing to experiment with new products.
  • Rediscovery in “regional pride” for cocktails.  Cocktails typically associated with specific parts of the country (i.e. The Manhattan) are finding new life among mixologists who want to make the classics the very best they can be, or with their own twist.
  • Innovative garnishes: natural and edible flowers, dried and dehydrated fruits, pickled foods, locally grown herbs, smokey garnishes were among those mentioned.
  • Wine as a cocktail ingredient.  Wineries are beginning to hire mixologists to create coctktails using their vintages.
  • Innovative bar snacks that complement cocktails are growing in popularity, in some cases as an alternative to a full meal.
  • Yesterday’s trends.  Several flavors and ingredients got the “thumbs down” as drink trends that may have run their course. Among those mentioned are cucumber/mint, anything mixed with Red Bull, pomegranate-flavored drinks and sparkling cocktails.

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