The 5 Most Interesting Facts I Learned at a Big Winter Food Convention

After spending three days in Las Vegas at the Specialty Food Association’s 2023 Winter Fancy Food Show, I know more about food than I even thought was possible. I tried a ton of new products, met some food legends, and had the pleasure of being educated by some of the most experienced food purveyors of our time. Now I want to share those bits of knowledge with you! These are the five most interesting facts I learned at the convention.

Valrhona is a brand (not a type of chocolate).

Valrhona’s booth was the most informative stop during my time at the Winter Fancy Food Show. And the most shocking thing I learned? Valrhona is a brand and not a style of chocolate. I’ve seen Valrhona on menus at fancy restaurants for years and I’d always assumed it was a type of expensive chocolate that was made in a certain style. That is wrong. All those fancy restaurants are using a singular brand of very fancy chocolate. Lucky for us, Valrhona is starting to make their products more accessible to people outside the restaurant world. P.S., it’s delicious.

Mixed-milk cheeses are saving small dairy.

After talking to many cheese makers at the Winter Fancy Food Show, we learned that selling mixed-milk cheeses can help make cheese more affordable, more accessible, and even more humane. Cow’s milk can be used to help stretch goat’s milk, giving your more bang for your buck and creating a delicious taste and texture. The best version of this I tried was Nettle Meadow Artisan Cheese’s Kunik, a triple cream goat and cow’s milk cheese made in Warrensburg, New York.

Sweet cherry juice has as many purported health benefits as tart cherry juice.

TikTok is obsessed with the purported health benefits of tart cherry juice. People have been sucking it down in hopes of having a better night’s sleep, and it seems to be working for many. According to the people at Tabletree, a cherry juice company, sweet cherries have just as many health benefits as tart cherries. I was floored when I tried their cherry juice. It’s so sweet and delicious and there is zero sugar added. Why suffer through drinking the tart stuff when you could consume the delicious nectar that is sweet cherry juice for the same health benefits?

Non-alcoholic spirits and mental health meds don’t always mix.

There are so many benefits to making the switch from booze to non-alcoholic spirits. There are, on the other hand, certain medical factors to look into before you start drinking alcohol-free alcohol. Some of these drinks contain herbs and adaptogens that don’t mix well with meds, particularly antidepressants. According to the University of California Los Angeles, you should talk to your doctor before sipping a spirit-free spirit.

White chocolate is real chocolate.

Valrhona strikes again with the chocolate facts. They enlightened us about the reality of white chocolate. Apparently, white chocolate is real chocolate. Well, good white chocolate. Nice white chocolate is made from cocoa butter, which is the fat from the cacao bean. Since they are using the cacao bean, it counts as chocolate! Cheap white chocolate, on the other hand, is typically made from oil and sugar, which means that it is not actually chocolate. Hey! The more you know!

About the Author

Jordan Myrick

Jordan is an L.A.-based writer and comedian who believes all food should come with extra sauce. When they're not writing for Sporked, Jordan is at the movies or sharing an order of french fries with their elderly chihuahua.

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