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All We Can Eat
Posted at 07:30 PM ET, 06/18/2012

What I ate during my Summer Fancy Food Show

You know the cliche about feeling like “a kid in a candy store,” that phrase dropped whenever you act all goofy by the wealth of choices around you? The Summer Fancy Food Show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center left me feeling like a kid in a candy store about the size of the Boeing Everett Factory.

With an estimated 180,000 products on display — all of them seemingly cheeses or crackers or cookies (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — I often felt paralyzed by the volume of food to sample. If anything defines too much of a good thing, it’s the Fancy Food Show.

Finding the truly unique products takes time, more time than I had today. But I did sample a handful of things that were new (or semi-new) and unusual to me. Take a look after the jump.

Pati Jinich and her team in the Mexico section were griddling up pancakes to drizzle with the maguey sap, which has a sweet, almost citrusy flavor, far different from maple syrup. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

This cheese from Kaserebellen is bright orange and quite creamy, thanks to the addition of carrot juice and yogurt. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

This Mexican fleur de sel hopes to compete with the real stuff from France. Fat chance? Well, the Colima-based company that processes this salt follows the exact, hand-raking procedures used back in France — for a fraction of the price of Fleur de sel de Guerande. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Jowciale is the, well, tongue-in-cheek name that S. Wallace Edwards & Sons gives to its hog-jowl bacon, obviously a riff on the Italian guanciale. The Virginia-based company dry-cures the jowl meat, then peppers and smokes it for nearly 24 hours over hickory wood. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Tollef K. Olson, chief executive and founder of Ocean Approved in Maine, makes a strong case for ocean-based farming. Unlike soil, which degrades and loses its nutrients, the ocean never does. It’s perfect for growing plants, which is exactly what Olson does. He claims to have created the first kelp farm in the country. He sells three different varieties of frozen kelp, which can be used in salads and fish dishes or even turned into pickles. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The latest in designer H20, blk. water is sort of like Cajun catfish: It’s blackened for reasons that mostly seem to enrich its creators. Here’s a take-down of blk. from Self magazine. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

Melissa’s Produce is working to introduce finger limes into the market. Originally from Australia, finger limes are small cucumber-shaped fruits that, when split open, reveal tiny aromatic pearls filled with tart lemon-lime juice. They’re known, not surprisingly, as “citrus caviar.” (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

The Peppadew is a relatively mild pepper first discovered in South Africa in the early 1990s. The pepper is stripped of its seeds and ribs, brined in a sweet-and-sour mixture and sold as a salad or pizza topping — or as a vehicle for cheeses, like any other stuffed pepper. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post)

By  |  07:30 PM ET, 06/18/2012

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