Truffles, cheese, and peppers oh my! At the 2023 Winter Fancy Food show we were on the lookout for delicious cheese and hot trends. Other than cheese being everywhere, we couldn’t help but notice truffle-flavored everything, non-alcoholic beverages galore, and super spicy flavor profiles. These are some of our predictions for food trends we’ll all be seeing more of in 2023.
We know we’re biased, but cheese really was everywhere at this year’s Fancy Food show. There was a dedicated deli pavilion featuring dozens of different domestic cheesemakers and an EU pavilion with European classics like Parmigiano Reggiano and Comté. Click here to see some of our favorite cheeses we tried at this year’s show.
While truffle has been a trend for years, this year it felt like every booth had something truffle-y. And while truffle can be a polarizing flavor, it seemed like makers are finally getting it right. The truffle flavors on display were much milder than their predecessors, and noticeably lacked the cloying taste of artificial truffle oil that has become synonymous with truffle fries.
Plymouth Artisan Cheese’s Black Truffle was a stand out. Made with scorzone truffles, this cheddar is much milder with hints of umami and earthy notes. We also loved the La Rustichella Black Truffle Paté (pictured above) and Fiscalini’s Truffle Cheddar. Of course, no truffle list would be complete without Moliterno al Tartufo. We got to taste the classic Sardinian cheese at the World’s Best Cheese booth.
This year’s show definitely brought the heat! If last year was all about the Hatch chile, this year was about featuring a wide variety of different peppers, from ghost and habanero, to jalapeño and poblano. We saw lots of global flavors on display, as well as a few super spicy items.
Favorite Spicy Sauce: FH Jerk Sauce
The founders of this Chicago-based marinades, sauces and rubs brand said their Jamaican neighbor gave them her stamp of approval after tasting the sauce. It was perfectly spiced and not too fire-y; you get a blackened flavor without a burnt taste.
Favorite Spicy Cheese: Blaser’s Ghost Pepper Jack Cheese
This cheese makes regular pepper jack look like child’s play. This Wisconsin cheese is made with real Ghost peppers and was the spiciest cheese we tried! This is the cheese you want if you like serious heat.
Favorite Spicy Accoutrement: Janet’s Finest Compotes Blackberry Jalapeño
Janet’s Finest Compotes is a small, family-run business that makes all of its jams with whole fruit and real jalapeño. The entire product line has a kick but is balanced with its fruit-forward flavors.
Low and no-ABV beverages are having a moment. The NA wines from Prima Pavè and Three Spirit were distinctively different and by far the best examples of the category we’ve ever tried. Prima Pavé’s light, food-friendly trio of sparkling wines are made in Italy from grape blends and then dealcoholized using a proprietary method. London-based Three Spirit’s Spark and Sharp varieties combine rare teas such as manuka leaf, adaptogenic ingredients, and fruit such as gooseberries, which are then fermented to create complex, eminently sippable NA wines.
After snacking on copious amounts of rich and salty food, we were in need of some refreshing libations. Thankfully, we found Venice Beach Beverage Vitamin Ginger Iced Tea, a 100% organic cold-pressed ginger juice and no weird ingredients. We can’t wait to try this as a NA drink with our next cheese board!
The market does not seem to be moving away from flavored cheese anytime soon. Lavender, fennel pollen, blueberry, and red wine were some of the unique flavors we spotted. Schuman Cheese’s new Charred Lemon and Chili-Rubbed Fontal was an inventive flavor combination we loved. It’s smoky, citrusy, and spicy without overwhelming the mild cheese.
It’s easy to see why Coro’s Lemongrass Salami is a Good Food Award finalist. Lemongrass is an unexpected flavor combo, it left a lasting impression on our taste buds and made us want to try all their other flavors (which we promptly did).
There were several new flavored butters on the market, some from longstanding brands like Isigny Sainte-Mère as well as newcomers like Churn. The lemon and peppercorn compound butter from Isigny was so zingy and bright, with real lemon zest mixed into the famously rich French butter we instantly started dreaming of grilled fish and summer veggies.
Peanuts are so passé. This year was all about novel nut butters and spreads (think anything but the peanut). Rosemary hazelnuts from Oregon-based Laurel Foods were crunchy and herby, and would be a perfect addition to any cheeseboard. Pistachio butter from Peppertux Farms was another nutty win. Available in both sweetened and unsweetened, we could see ourselves devouring a jar of either variety. Also their pistachio butter fountain was quite impressive!
Freeze Dried Candy
While this last one has absolutely nothing to do with cheese, we couldn’t help but be amazed at the number of booths shilling this new-to-us product. Freeze-dried candy seems to be taking the world by storm. There was freeze-dried skittles, gummy worms, jaw breakers, and pretty much any candy you can think of. While the concept seemed a little strange, they were actually pretty good. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to catch a glimpse of these puffed-up candies in the wild!