Fancy Food Show 2016By Ilyse Rathet
January 23, 2019
The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco is one of our favorite Ritrovo moments of the year. It has all the elements of a true “Ritrovo”: meeting in a special place (San Francisco), seeing familiar friends and getting time face-to-face with them (our long-term customers and distributors), and sharing great foods (our new and favorite Ritrovo items). In addition, we meet new customers and share our products with them as a way to bring the Ritrovo way of eating into their specialty food businesses.
So many of our valued long-term customers spent time at our booth this year. It was a special honor to finally – after a full year’s absence – share tastes of Madonna dell’Oliva’s 2015 Raro and Itrans Extra Virgin Olive Oils with customers like Pete Marczyk from Marczyk Fine Foods in Denver, Matt Caputo from Caputo’s Market in Salt Lake City, and Calvin Mayne of Dorothy Lane Markets in Springboro, Ohio. And its always a joy to meet new shop owners like Sarah Auman of Out Of The Blue in East Ridge, Georgia and Blair of the soon-to-be-opened GourmetPhile in Boca Raton, Florida. We are always impressed by their willingness to learn about our range of products, and especially with their attention in tasting and following Ritrovo’s “mini-course” in Italian olive oil, “live” in our booth.
Familiar friends like Cathy Leland of the Pasta Shop in California, and others shared in our enthusiasm for some new products that have been the result of extensive Ritrovo research and product development during 2015: our new Ultimo Forno Breadcrumbs, and Casina Rossa Sugo al Balsamico (made with our award-winning Ritrovo Selections Balsamic Vinegar). Customers couldn’t resist the drama of our relabeled Casina Rossa olive oils and their antipasto line in beautiful hexagonal glass packaging for their stores.
Of course at the Fancy Food Show our “ritrovo” sometimes produces new dynamic pairings and food ideas. As we taste, ponder, and brainstorm on site with fellow inspired foodie customers, true inspirations tend to happen. Julie Jansa from Cooks of Crocus Hill delighted in our new Le Ferre mint flavored oil and was inspired to try and pair it with WuWanWo Soy Sauce in Asian dishes at her cooking school. Vince Dipiazza from DItalia couldn’t wait to get home and share our new Truffle & Salt & Cheese with his family on popcorn for movie night. And to promote it with pastas for his online customers. And Jon Marsh from St. Kilian’s Cheese Shop in Denver shared cheese pairing ideas for our new Spiritosi Amarena Cherries in Barolo Chinato with fellow cheese store owner Mary Ellen Power of the Cheese Shop of Williamsburg, in Virginia.
In true Ritrovo fashion, our producer-guests from Italy brought even more conviviality to our booth. From Balsam vinegars, Nicolo Verrini presented his recently-created instant sensation: Organic Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar. This well-balanced new balsamic is a follow-up to SOFI Gold winner Organic Apple Balsamic Vinegar and recently-introduced Organic Citrus Balsamic Vinegar. This luscious rose-tinted elixir of organic raspberry juice, wine vinegar, and grape must, drew many Ritrovo-ati to his tasting station. The ideas began to flow as everyone who gathered in our booth began to create instant food combinations: raspberry balsamic over feta cheese with Le Ferre mint oil, raspberry balsamic over finely shaved rainbow radishes, raspberry balsamic in a Prosecco Raspberry “Kir”.
Giacomo Cinelli of Maletti Balsamico watched eagerly as customers tasted the new Casina Rossa Sugo al Balsamico which he helped develop with Ritrovo, and marveled as the orders for this new creation piled up.
Inspiring moments continued even after the show as we drove into Napa with broker Barbara Emerich to visit customers Castello di Amorosa and V. Sattui Wineries. It was there, off the show floor, that we could see the perfect homes that our Italian regional products have “re-found” here in the U.S. nestled amongst award winning wines in the authentic castle environment of Castello di Amorosa and lovingly displayed along with California artisanal foods at V. Sattui.
As we sort through our photos and notes, and the orders, inspirations, and ideasfrom the show, we make a toast (perhaps with a Prosecco Raspberry Kir!) to all of our new and loyal customers, our booth staff, and guests from Italy. We are so grateful that “ci siamo ritrovati” – we met together again.
Grazie mille for an inspiring 2016 Winter Fancy Food Show!