If my New Years Resolutions had been diet-centric in any way (it is a resolution cliché after all), I would have already failed miserably.
What’s your vice? Cheese? Chocolate? Alcohol? You name it and that is what I spent my week eating. How could I say no? I was surrounded by the top gourmet food from all over the WORLD. I was lucky enough to get a job, and thus a virtual All-Access Pass, at the food industry’s most exclusive and largest showcase of the season.
The Fancy Food Show. Imagine a huge conversion center filled to capacity with 1,300 exhibitors representing over 50 countries. Isle after isle of booths featuring their tastiest products, some so new they are only available for pre-order. The competition is fierce; convention attendees are looking for products for their specialty stores, restaurants, hotels, etc. Exhibitors are all vying for those sales. Then there is me. Absolutely no connection to the food industry except what I put in my stomach. But I’m an actor and easily play the part of “Interested Buyer”. Every chance I got I let those exhibitors do their best to impress me.
There were so many cheese makers, from all over Europe primarily, with cheese aged to perfection. I didn’t come close to trying them all, even in three days. Most of the cheese I eat is from Trader Joe’s, I’m lucky if it’s aged a year. I never, ever eat cheese this good.
Then there were sweets, of all kinds. I have a sweet tooth and I indulged it, like the cliché kid in the candy store. I just went the dentist and learned I have two cavities. I should cut back on sugar, I really should, but how do you say no when you have glass cases of gorgeous looking pastries and truffles staring at you, with bakers begging you to take a sample?
Answer: you don’t! I can cut back on sugar tomorrow, this was an opportunity not to be wasted.
I had to walk by the Haribo booth every time I went to the bathroom. Haribo is something I can buy myself, at Walgreens…but..but..it was so visually appealing! Plus I love gummy candy! They had bowls full of absolutely every kind, making it so hard NOT to help yourself to a piece. It was too hard to resist.
Fortunately, many companies had packaged samples. Many people left this convention with several bags, full to bursting of samples. On the last day, I myself came home with a sizable bag. “It looks like Halloween trick-or-treating,” my mother remarked. More on that later. I did pretty well, considering my only time to walk around was on my half hour lunch break when my main priority was to eat lunch.
I could have filled up on cheese and sweets alone, but there were endless possibilities for more meal-like sampling:
Pasta and sauces from Italy, made and served by people from the country.
Surprisingly authentic frozen entrées from India.
Things you’d never seen before from Japan.
Endless tapenades made of my positively favorite things to eat: tomatoes, garlic, basil, onions, and artichokes. That one under the bread sticks was probably my favorite thing out of the entire show.
So what was I doing the rest of my day, when I wasn’t on lunch break? I was wearing a gorgeous red velvet dress. I don’t think I have ever gotten so many complements in my life. One man said to me “You look like a New York model.” (Note: this event was in San Francisco.) I grinned and thought, Ha. I could tell you a story that would make that compliment seem like an insult! Aloud I said, “Aw, thanks!”
Alas, they did not let me keep the red velvet dress that perfectly matched the Red Velvet Martinis I was promoting. The product won’t be on the shelves before Valentine’s day, which is truly a shame. It really did taste exactly like red velvet cake, pretty remarkable. It is very sweet, just like the cake, but I was strictly forbidden from saying those words. “‘Very sweet’ comes off as negative!” said the owner of the company, “Say, ‘Very flavorful.'” For the three days of the convention I slung those “very flavorful” martinis, from 10am to 5pm. Not exactly the kind of drink I would want anytime before dinner, let alone around brunch, but you’d be surprised by how many people tried them (and some people certainly thought they were too sweet). Just goes to show my charm as a promo model and the power of a fancy dress.
Has all this talk of food made you hungry? Are you jealous I get paid to wear a fancy dress AND have access to all this amazing stuff? Don’t worry, I anticipated that! I filled my bag with samples with you in mind! I just stuffed a Priority Mail package box full of (nonperishable, sorry no cheese,) samples I got at this show and I am sending it to one lucky person who comments on this post!
That’s right, it’s a give-away! To win this box of goodies, please subscribe to this blog in some way (follow it on WordPress, follow on Twitter, Like on Facebook, subscribe via e-mail: any one of those is great) and then leave a comment on this post! Winner will be selected (by random.org) on Tuesday January 24th and then they need to e-mail me their address by Wednesday January 25th. Good luck & thanks, always, for reading!