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Fancy Food From Queens?

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Queens was well-represented at this influential global event considered to be the premier...

By Suzanne Parker

The International Fancy Food & Confection Show held last month at the Javits Center is Disney World for foodies with its vast, mind boggling array of temptations.

Queens was well-represented at this influential global event considered to be the premier marketplace for the specialty food trade. The shows attract up to 30,000 attendees from specialty food, wine, gift and department stores, supermarkets, restaurants, mail order and other related businesses.

A total of 26 exhibitors listing Queens addresses ran the gamut from purveyors of high-end, luxury ingredients like truffles and caviar, luscious desserts and confections, to diverse and exotic ethnic specialties.

Doral International, a Queens firm, won a prestigious Product Award from the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade for its Acetaia F.ll. Gorrieri Balsamic Vinegar. The annual product awards competition is held each summer at the International Fancy Food & Confection Show to honor truly outstanding specialty foods, deemed the “Best of the Best.”

Doral’s winning Balsamic vinegar is simultaneously sweet and sharp with a myriad of complex undertones achieved by 25 years of aging in five different woods. At approximately $50 retail for a smallish bottle, a little goes a long way. Their other products include imported Italian sauces, oils, vinegars, pasta, sweets and condiments.

Two other Queens firms were finalists in the competition. Greek Farms International of Astoria was in contention for an award for its organic extra virgin olive oil, and Serendipitea, a Long Island City tea importer, made it to the final round with its Fiji Papaya, Wild Pineapple and Green Tea.

Serendipitea offers an amazing variety of premium loose-leaf tea and tisane (French for herbal tea), as well as tea accessories. Dragon’s eye and Anemone were just two of the exotic varieties on display at their booth. You can get a complete tea education as well as purchase tea at the company’s Web site: www.serendipitea.com. They also sell retail at their Long Island City location.

Prefer coffee? Dallis Coffee and White Coffee Corp. are two Queens companies offering fine coffees.

Sabatino USA and Paramount Caviar are two firms catering to the high end of the luxury market. Sabatino could easily have been called Truffles-R-Us, with its line of white and black truffles, preserved truffles, truffle oil, truffle butter, truffle flour, sauces and creams. Their sales literature reads like a trufflocentric Umbrian fairy tail about truffle hunters with their carefully trained “faithful friends” and jealously guarded family secrets of hidden finds. The mystique around these “precious jewels of the land” is almost cultish, noting that for the best truffles harvesting be done during the days of the waxing of the moon, “respecting the natural cycle to the full, almost like a propitiatory rite.” No wonder they’re expensive.

Paramount Caviar has any kind of little fishy eggs your heart could desire as well as smoked fish, pâté, and caviar serving implements. If you want to impress your friends with a touch of elegance at your next party, Paramount sells retail Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ethnic specialties were in abundance at Queens purveyors of delicacies from Italy, Eastern Europe, Western Europe Central and South Asia. Global Commodities was an attention-grabber with its array of unusual and familiar dried fruits and nuts from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Red and white dried mulberries, and jumbo pine nuts (picture a Good ‘n Plenty that went on a diet) were tasty and enticing.

Nirmala’s Kitchen supplies boxed collections of artisan spice blends essential to various exotic cuisines from around the world. Indo-Caribbean owner Nirmala Narine said that “growing up in Guyana, when at the age of 6 I was left home alone to cook entire meals for a household of twelve, I discovered that I could create and grind my own unique spice blends.” She now travels the world seeking out spice plantations, markets and food stalls for spices to add to her unique collections.

Gorgeous, diet-busting delights were on display at the Great American Dessert Company, as were killer chocolate novelties at Madeleine Chocolates.

Finally, after gathering your indulgences of choice, you can put ‘em in a basket from the United Basket Company of Maspeth, and tie on a bow from Fashion Ribbon Company of Long Island City.

Posted 7:08 pm, October 10, 2011
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