Published on February 8th, 2012 | by Greg0
Fancy Food 2012: From Rice To Tea
Journalism isn’t always easy or exciting. For every interesting event in an interesting location, there’s another press conference that drones on. And within each tradeshow, there are always some fun stops- but the vast majority of time is spent browsing aisles of knock-offs and outsourcing firms and component manufacturers.
So, while we always enjoy shows like CES, it’s ones like the Fancy Food Show that are often more enjoyable. For starters, you spend the entire day sampling weird new foods and beverages- what’s not to like? The most recent one was held in San Francisco late last month, and we met plenty of vendors, large and small, aiming to make their way to stores and eventually your kitchens.
For instance, there was Choice Organic Teas. We’ve seen a lot of tea brands over the years, covering every conceivable price point and variety and origin. Some have been Fair Trade Certified, but many are not, and we like that Choice goes the extra mile to do so. They were, in fact, the first company to do so, and claim more certified varieties than any other North American tea company. Their packaging feels a bit dated, but instead of offering interesting blends, they focus on the basics.
We tried their Masala Chai, which was fairly good- a nice, bold Assam version with the usual spices (including black pepper, one that can be missing from many competitors). Strong enough for milk and sugar, it wasn’t the best chai we’ve had, but held up well. The Premium Korean Green was Sencha-style, and was crisp, with a pleasing color, but lacking the depth that most of us seek in our higher-end greens. Their Decaffeinated Green was one of the better decaf greens we’ve ever tried, and uses the carbon dioxide, the only organic technique to remove caffeine. Light, bright, and lacking none of the flavor of some decafs, we definitely recommend this one for anyone in need of a green tea fix without the jitters. And finally, their Rooibos Chai is a bit bland compared to some we’ve tried, and though we love ‘red tea’, this one felt a bit muddy and flat. At $5 a box (16 bags), all of them are good deals though, and available fairly widely.
One thing we’ve never reviewed before is rice. Other basic grains get their fair share of coverage though, so it was about time that we checked out Texmati from Rice Select. Described as “the most widely recognized brand of aromatic rice in the United States”, we were happy to receive a bin of their white, and try it out in our oft under-utilized rice cooker. Featuring longer grains than normal basmati, but a nutty aroma, it’s a flexible and delicious compliment to a variety of cuisines. We love it in burritos and with Mexican foods, and it’s perfect for some places where you might use wild rice but want something a little more consistent and easier to cook. Available widely, they offer white rice, brown rice, and a nifty in-between called ‘light brown’.