Where do the "cool hunters"the professionals who seek out what's hipgo to find food trends? Not to stores. Not to clubs. But to somewhere much less groovytrade shows. When I want to find out what's going to be flying out of shops in six months, I submit to the fluorescent lights and extra-long aisles of the Fancy Food Show, where I find more kinds of salsa than I ever knew existed, as well as new syrups, sausages, teas and hundreds of other items. I also check out the Housewares Show, where I get to see, touch and experiment with all kinds of high-tech prototypesprogrammable blenders, high-speed ovens, kitchen-friendly computers (the keyboards are immersible in water)some of which will make it to market, some of which won't. Here, the innovations you'll soon be coveting.
Pears, trendy? Apparently so, since they showed up all over the Fancy Food Show. F&W's Test Kitchen staff loved King's Cupboard Pear Cinnamon Caramel Sauce, especially served warm over vanilla ice cream or with apple slices ($7; 800-962-6555). Cinnabar's Pear Cardamom Chutney takes pear in a savory direction; try it with roasted meats ($6; 800-824-4563). Aunt Sue's Ginger Pear Salad Dressing, made in small batches using Bartlett pears, is a natural marinade for pork chops as well as a topping for greens ($6; 800-553-5753). Even our most finicky editors raved over the fresh flavor of Cuisine Perel's D'Anjou Pear Vinegar ($9; 800-887-3735); add it to pungent greens like dandelion.
Hitting The Sauce
Tequila has evolved from a rough-around-the-edges spirit into a pricey boutique one. Now it's even showing up in...chocolate sauce. Café Tequila's Dessert Sauce mixes El Tesoro with white chocolate ($12; 415-674-1772). F&W editors loved the spiciness of Rick Bayless's seasonal Spring Break Salsa, which has a splash of tequila as well as a hit of habanero pepper ($4; 800-509-4441). Cuisine Perel's Tequila Lime Vinegar is perfect for seafood marinades and vinaigrettes ($8; 800-887-3735). The Fancy Food Show was also awash in products that add restaurant quality to homemade tequila drinks, such as Nantucket Off-Shore Seasoning's Margarita Rimmer, a cilantro- and mint-infused French sea salt ($6; 508-994-1300).