Last week, the culture crew flew out to Vegas to attend the 2024 Winter Fancy Food Show—a trade show that together thousands of food professionals and showcases the newest and best food products. We spent two jam-packed days roaming the convention hall aisles looking for new cheeses, innovative products, and trend spotting to see what’s on the horizon for 2024 and beyond.
From pickles and spreadable salami, to marshmallows and South African cheeses, these are the top trends and best cheeses we ate at this year’s show.
“I predict ‘Nduja may replace some of our fave cured meat BFFs this year. The “how do you pronounce that?” spreadable salume was featured as a new product at a variety of charcuterie tables, and each had its own unique twist on suggested application, texture, or spice level. Spread it on crusty bread, plop it on pizza, mix it in a beany brothy soup, or whip up a creamy dip—whatever you do, don’t sleep on it!” – Mallory Scyphers
I sampled a lot of peppercorn-laced cheeses and noticed the spice replacing popular peppers like hatch and chile. It lends gentle heat with a sweet note, and I enjoyed the mix-in of whole peppercorns for added crunch.
We got to try Marin French Cheese Co.’s new Petit Garlic & Pepper—a triple cream with cracked pepper and just enough garlic to let you know it’s there without overpowering the entire cheese.
Pickled. Everything. From classics like cucumber and carrots, to colorful varieties like mango, pickled fare seemed to be everywhere. Plucky Pickle Dip and Beehive’s pickle-flavored cheese curds were two chickle-inspired snacks we couldn’t get enough of. Yes, chickle is a combination of cheese and pickle, and yes, it’s a thing.
The pickled green mango we tried with Klein River Cheese’s Gruberg was unlike any pickle we’d ever had—in a good way. It had a unique texture and mouthfeel and was a perfect tangy compliment to the South African brushed cheese.
Marshmallows! It was like a children’s book come to life:
In a tub or in a can
Dollop, torch(!) or spoon
Not your average mallow fluffs
They really made us swoon
Obviously our minds drifted to gooey, melty campfire cheese + s’mores combos.
Sh’mallow, the innovative marshmallow in a can that sprays like whipped cream and toasts like a classic jet puffed, immediately got us thinking about the seemingly limitless applications. And there were several vegan marshmallow brands that were so good we couldn’t tell the difference, including Funky Mellow’s vegan fluff made of aquafaba.
We swooned over Firehook’s yet-to-be-released chocolate crispy graham—which I think I may like even more than the original version! Summer can’t come soon enough.
Cheesy Dips and Spreads
I’m a sucker for kitsch, so full disclosure the throwback packaging of My Three Sons Gourmet pimento cheese drew me to their booth. It was the best new pimento cheese I’ve tried in quite some time—and I should know as a southerner with a discerning taste for pimento cheese. It’s used with freshly grated cheddar, eliminating that weird texture that can happen when mixing up pre-shredded bagged cheddar, and comes in three flavors. Spicy white cheddar was my fave.
Sartori’s new Garlic & Herb BellaVitano spread is another standout in an increasingly crowded spread category. Equally comfortable on a sophisticated cheeseboard, baked into a gameday dip, or smeared on a sandwich, the uses for this cheesy spread are plentiful.
Ever on the quest for spicy spreads and sauces to top alpine cheeses (we featured a harissa + hay flower rebel combo on a cheese plate a few years ago that I still replicate every chance I can), I’m pleased to report that Tari Peruvian Everything Sauce will now enter the chat. I especially enjoyed the Amarillo Pepper Sauce, made with yellow Peruvian peppers and slightly milder and tangier than its Rocoto counterpart.
Speaking of spice, we got to sample Artikaas’ new pepper line featuring flavors like peppadew and gochugang. These spice-forward varieties are not for the faint of heart!
The Best Cheeses We Tried
- Kinara from Forever Cheese – This thistle-rennet grana blew our socks off!
- Duetto from Quorum The Spanish Cheese Connection – A new mixed milk Spanish style cheese that was mild and snackable, but still had a complex enough flavor profile to make it interesting.
- Pikorra de Brebis from Agour – These earthy sheep’s milk buttons were aged to perfection and were so creamy we needed a spoon to scoop them up.
- A supremely aged version of Rogue Creamery’s Caveman Blue – Normally, this cheese is aged for a few months, but we got to try a wheel that had been aging for over 3 years. It was sweet, fudgy, and complex.
- Greek Kiss from Belle Chevre – A new grape leaf wrapped, fresh goat’s milk cheese that was tangy, bright and clean.
- Castelbelbo from Alta Langa – Creamy and dreamy, these Italian cheeses never disappoint.
“I loved everything we tried from The Spotted Trotter, but was especially blown away by the Tasso Ham. Which is actually not ham at all, but a cut from the pig’s shoulder which is then seasoned with traditional Louisiana spices for a slap-you-in-the-face burst of flavor.” – Josie Krogh
“I’m also excited about BelGioioso’s new Baking Fresh Mozzarella log, made with a lower moisture content to withstand baking and high-heat. The team prepared a tasty little panini with the fresh cheese and can confirm the cheese pull and flavor were .” – Mallory Scyphers
“Alcohol-free beverages are still on the rise, and I tasted Tost for the first time. What I loved about this one is its insistence to not imitate alcohol, yet still set itself apart from your standard fizzy drink. The original (my favorite) made with white tea, white cranberry, and ginger was botanical, fresh, and perfectly bubbly, begging to be sipped poolside under a fringed umbrella for ultimate ambience.” – Mallory Scyphers
“I tasted a standout creamed honey from California that hit the right balance of sweet and floral with a silky, spreadable texture. One of Chico’s owners turned the jar upside down (a-la-Dairy Queen Blizzard style), illustrating that the condiment is a practical replacement on a cheese plate since it’s not as messy as regular honey.” – Mallory Scyphers