2011 Summer Fancy Food Show, Day 1

God damn it. My feet are aching, my belly is full of one-inch cubes of samples, and I'm ready to cry if I see another nut-based, gluten free snack. We have just finished the first day of the 2011 57th Summer Fancy Food Show, in Washington, DC. We kicked it off yesterday by meeting the Dalai Lama, too. He was pretty cool.
We started the day by getting our press badges. There was a press room at this venue, with many important and interesting people. None of them talked to us. It was okay. From there, we went into the show and headed over to the Italian area to toast the inauguration of the Italian Pavilion with members of the Italian Trade Commission.
The three golden scissors.
The ribbon cutting...
And the toast. A little Zonin prosecco in the morning, and I'm good to go.
I know I have crazy eyes. The crazed, blank stare of someone who elbows her way to the front and sometimes bites people with sharp, tiny teeth. It's not easy being three feet tall. You give an eight year old a camera and tell her to follow Miley Cyrus. You'll see.
After that, we had the whole day to mill around and experience the show. It's pretty much the equivalent of trick-or-treating, except everything is awesome. Lots of sumptuous stuff, all unique and tasty. Some of it is on display as edible works of art.
Rusty tools made of chocolate.
Gorgeous bread with the D'Artagnan Gourmet Food logo baked on top.
Two legs of meat, one Spanish, one Italian. Both succulent.

The day before, we received an invitation to attend a tasting of the sofi award nominees. Each one received a silver award for being nominated, but will get a gold statue (think Oscar with a chef's hat) if they win. 125 finalists, 33 categories. We tasted them all.
Nothing was bad here. These were the cherrypicked creams of the crop, and we ate our fill. It was a quiet and serious environment of judging and speculation.
Nielsen Massey Bourbon Vanilla Paste on a piece of baguette. Nothing short of excellence.
Vosges Black Salt Caramel, in all its gooey glory.
Delicate, paper thin pieces of fried okra.
Even after the tasting, there was a lot to see at the show. With two massive arenas, all sorts of events, and over 1,300 booths from over 80 countries, there's a ton of great stuff, like the portrait of a horseless Daniel Radcliffe made of Jelly Belly jelly beans.
And here's a panda who looks like a rabid baby raccoon!
A giant pile of truffles. They were slicing these up like apples and putting them on hunks of fresh baguettes with jamon Iberico and salted butter. Best sandwich ever.
Gorgeous tomato and pear nectar in all their natural glory. The taste of summer in a bottle.
And it wasn't just food! There were celebrities to touch! Oh, the celebrities! Here's me standing next to Cat Cora, while a portrait of Cat Cora looms in the background and I hold a signed photo of Cat Cora. Three against one. I was outnumbered. Cat Cora is actually pretty small, about my height.
And here's Swagger standing next to Baracka Flocka Flame!
The chocolatier and founder of one of our favorite companies, Michael Antonorsi of Chuao poses with a canister of the magical ingredient inside their newest bar- potato chips!
We enjoyed cheese marbled with elderberry wine...
And made our inner five year old's fantasies come true with endless piles of Haribo gummies.
It wasn't just good stuff, that much was apparent. It was weird stuff, too, just what we like. Innovation pushing the envelope and sending it right over. Mascarpone gelato with a balsamic fig topping? Hell yes.
A bouquet of purple artichokes would make any gourmand blush.
Runny, creamy cheese. The Sasha Grey of food porn, yessir.
It was a pretty phenomenal day, filled with samples, snacks, friendly people, and of course, enough food to feed Michael Moore. Tomorrow's highlights include dinner at the Italian Embassy, an olive oil tasting, and all of our favorite companies back for more. See you bright and early!

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