Highlights from the Summer Fancy Food Show
Breakfast drinks didn't always have to work so hard. They weren't lazy, necessarily—coffee had to be bold and buzz-inducing, and OJ was ideally freshly-squeezed—but functionality wasn't necessarily at the fore. However, if a bounty of new drinks being touted at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show is any indication, breakfast beverages are about to get a wake-up call. Double-fermented superfood coffee, mushroom and chocolate kombucha, mood-enhancing herb-infused water, and protein-amped drinkable yogurt may not bump your morning cup off the table quite yet, but for the forward-thinking breakfaster, the future is just a sip away. (Plus they all just taste really good.)
Mate soda has long been a staple in the European club scene because of the clean buzz its natural caffeine and copious sugar delivers. White Label enhances its blend of the organic South American leaves and organic cane sugar with stress-relieving ashwagandha and molasses for an appealing kick that can keep you dancing, or help start your day with an extra burst of energy.
Now doesn't that just sound all fancypants and opera-attending? No need to bust out the gloves and bow tie before noon, though. The cultured in this case refers to the natural, controlled secondary fermentation process the beans go through to enhance the flavor while reducing the bitter factors that can sometimes lead to stomach irritation.
Admittedly, we initially visited this booth because it was billed in the Fancy Food Show program as Powerful Men, and that seemed mildly odd. What we found instead was an actually delicious Greek yogurt-based drink that delivers a massive whallop of protein and calcium ideal for fueling folks about to embark on a 10k run—or strap themselves into a desk chair for the day.
Don't mistake this zingy drink for a tea or a fermented kombucha. Rather, it's a long-brewed broth of ginger and ginseng based on traditional Chinese wellness drinks. It can be drunk hot or cold, and the merest whiff just might chase any possibility of a cold or upset stomach away.
Cacao and mushrooms aren't necessarily the first ingredients that come to mind when most of us think about kombucha, but this fizzy, organic, raw, probiotic tea could change all that. While most commercial kombuchas tend toward the tart and fruity, this surprising combo is a gloriously light and almost savory start to a day of good gut health.
Not gonna lie—these are some pricey, fancy-ass waters, but they're not just drawn straight from a kitchen tap and meant to wash down your short stack. These nonalcoholic, herbally-enhanced waters contain mood enhancers like vervain, rhodiola, and angelica and are meant to be paired with food in the same way that wine would. Non-drinkers sometimes get short shrift on ceremony, so it's refreshing to see a drink like this decanted from a lovely bottle, and categorized as a accompaniment to a meal, rather than a compromise.
Chugging coffee from a can usually seems like an exercise in masochism. You're on the go, attempting to fuel up or stave off a crash, and you can just taste the gastric upset from the get-go. Not so with this organic, antioxidant-packed unroasted coffee that's meant to be swigged cold like an iced tea. It's gentle on the stomach and pleasantly light in flavor while delivering a solid dose of caffeine. Though a cane-sweetened version has been around for a little while, Sunup has just added stevia and unsweetened options to the lineup.
Recently on this very site we had a mild freak out about the highly processed and rather confounding ingredients in most non-dairy creamers (spoiler alert: there's some dairy in there) and just about swore them off. The makers of Nutpods took an opposite path and instead, made the vegan, soy- preservative- carageenan- added sugar- hydrogenated oil- and corn-syrup-free version of our dreams. Bonus for travelers: The mini cartons don't need to be refrigerated until they're opened.
Can we first agree that the word mylk is terrible and should never be typed or printed again? Marvelous. But let's move forward to the fact that these chai, coffee, and chocolate drinks are just delightful. They're made with spring water and all kinds of organic and responsibly-sourced ingredients so you can feel all virtuous about your rebellion, and appreciate that they taste just lovely.
Ubons Barbeque of Yazoo is famous among meat lovers for its feisty ribs, brisket, and chicken, and folks on the competition have become happily accustomed to the bloody marys that freely flow at their competition booths when they're out on the circuit. It stands to reason that they finally decided to bottle the blend of spices, sauce, and dill pickle flavors so that the geographically-challenged among us might feel the heat as well.
We are living in peak cold brew times. In a less enlightened era, we made do with plain, hot coffee poured over ice and up-charged up the wazoo, but no longer must we suffer that sort of indignity. Chameleon's made a splash with its bottled brews and concentrates, and now offers pre-measured and ground coffee in mesh pods ideal for at-home or travel use. Just add cold water and check back in a few hours—no special equipment required.