One of my favorite events each year is the Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center. It is a huge show, with thousands of products and people. It can be daunting to try and see and do everything related to this show, and talking and eating fatty foods all day long zaps my energy. For sampling, I like trying new things, but also gravitate towards old favorites liked cured meats, cheese, and chocolate. Although I work in a booth, there is enough time for me to patrol the floor and take in everything. Rule Number One of working the Fancy Food Show: bring business cards and wear comfy shoes! There is ample chance to network, but you won't likely be sitting much if at all.
Rule Number Two: Dress to impress, with a little flair. This tradeshow is different from other business events. The attendees are generally happy. My guess would be they love being around food and seeing old colleagues. Women and men both wear more colorful and creative looking things, but there are a fair share of suits. European men stand out for their suits with brown shoes; it is rare to see them in black shoes, I've noticed. Also, several of the Euro women look stunning, with wide leather belts, accessories, and form fitting clothes. Bottle their secret, or tell me what it is, so I can get some of that! I tried to mimic them by wearing scarves and slightly darker lip goo than usual.
Teas that flower and bloom seem to have a growing presence this year. Ditto for nuts and brittle. There are so many salsas, prepared pasta sauces, ethnic food kits (the kind that have sauce and noodles, just add meat and or veggies) and dressings, continuing in popularity. Chocolates, sweet biscuits, crackers, dessert sauces, and other sweets also dominate. Rule Number Three: start with no breakfast or if you must, eat a bowl of fruit, since that is likely the only "healthy" eating you may do during the show hours. Did I mention there is lots of wine, port, and beer to "sample"? In years past I have imbibed (ah, now maybe that's why everyone is all smiley?), but was too tired this year.
The show can be extremely social. I saw: Sam from Becks and Posh, Amanda Berne, Chef Dorothy Whittenburg, Marc Vogel, Joseph Schmidt, Bruce Hill, Brian Kenney, Martin Yan, and Tony Tantillo. I decided not to run after Tony when I saw him. I wanted to thank him for always being so kind to me when I was an intern at CBS years ago. He'd give me any leftover produce after the taping of his segments, and was friendly and helpful wit food related information. Perhaps the thanks would've made him happy, but I felt awkward about doing it.