Tastes cho-919658

Published on February 8th, 2012 | by Greg


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’.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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