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SF-Centric Takeaways From the Winter Fancy Food Show

By Tamara Palmer  |  January 22, 2014
Credit: Dio Deka

This year's Winter Fancy Food Show at Moscone Center showed off more than 80,000 specialty food products from 35 nations in three days. That's a lot of information – and snacks – to ingest in a short amount of time. We braved the crowds and dove into bites of Morimoto soba ale cheese and Jose Andres potato chips. We even pushed aside the Hornie Korn and Perky Jerky in order to sift through the madness and bring you the five most important San Francisco-appropriate takeaways from the convention.

• Chronicle Books has a lot of forthcoming titles to get excited about this year, including a bread bible from Josey Baker of The Mill, a sushi instructional from Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Ame, a second book of butchering insight from Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, secrets from Nick Balla and Cortney Burns at Bar Tartine and dessert techniques from Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet Patisserie.

• Dio Deka, a Greek restaurant in Los Gatos, has spun off a packaged food line. Popular menu items such as lamb meatballs, moussaka (beef and lamb casserole), tzatziki (cucumber yogurt dip) and the feta cheese spreads tirokafteri and htpiti are now available for the home kitchen. The products made their debut at the show, and will be on TBA grocery store shelves in the coming months.

• Numi Tea is moving out of its funky East Oakland headquarters to 23rd and Broadway in the heart of Uptown's flourishing food scene. Look for the doors to open in the coming months. The company is also getting ready to release a new chocolate-focused line called Indulgent Tea, a naughty response to last year's vegetable-based Savory Tea launch.

• San Francisco chai specialist David Rio is plotting a retail store in the city but a rep says it probably won't happen until late 2015.

• Our favorite new bites from SF-based artisan food producers were mango coconut caramel spread from Hey Boo and sesame-seaweed popcorn from 479° Popcorn, two flavors that celebrate the diversity of Asian culture in the Bay Area. That said, popcorn was the most overwhelming and ubiquitous item seen at the Winter Fancy Food show. We must have seen 200 different kinds.

And it wouldn't be a Fancy Food Show without some bonus rumor-mongering, so take this with a grain of salt (or dash of fish sauce): A Pok Pok rep got visibly uncomfortable and would "neither confirm nor deny" that Andy Ricker would generally be interested in opening a restaurant in the Bay Area. It probably won't be happening any time too soon, especially since the hugely successful chef has a lot on his hands these days with his three cult-followed restaurants in New York and Portland.