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Around the World

presented by ArcaMax

Around The World: Get Ready, Get Set…EAT!

Jennifer Merin

The holiday celebrations and their continual rounds of parties and feasts are hardly over, but January is one of two months when the food industry puts on big sampling festivals, otherwise known as The Fancy Food Show.

If you love fine food, this show’s for you.

Actually, the Fancy Food Shows are the specialty food industry’s premiere events and showplaces for producers and purveyors of fine and fancy -- and always delicious -- foods to meet up and do some serious business.

Gourmet food producers and manufacturers set up their show booths to display and give out samples of the very best of what they have to offer for the season -- the winter event is staged in January, and the summer event takes place during July -- and the owners or buyers for grocery stores, gourmet shops, top quality caterers and restaurants come to taste and buy the goods they’re going to offer to their customers during the next six months.

This year, the Winter Fancy Food Show is set for January 16 to 18, 2011, in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. The 2011 Summer Fancy Food Show will take place from July 1- to 12 in Washington, DC., at the state-of-the-art Walter F. Washington Convention Center. The summer show is usually staged in New York City at the Jacob Javits Center, but has been relocated for 2011 because the Javits Center is scheduled for renovations.

Yes, The Fancy Food Show is a commercial trade show, but its ambience is actually more like that of a well-attended but quite exclusive ‘let’s celebrate great food’ party -- with thousands of hosts serving up hundreds of thousands of gourmet specialties to tens of thousands of guests.

Yes, it’s that big. And it’s amazing!

And, while the primary purpose of the Fancy Food Show is to make business connections between food manufacturers and food outlets, fortunately the event is also open to nonprofessional foodies who simply love to cook and eat and share treats with friends and family.

In order to attend and enjoy both or either of the Winter or Summer Fancy Food Shows, all you need to do is register and pay your fee.

Of course, registration isn’t cheap. If you register for the Winter Fancy Food Show online at this time or register at the event itself, the fee is $60 per attendee. To register online go to and, under Winter Fancy Food Show, click on register now.

On the Website, you’ll also find information about this year’s Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, including lists of exhibitors and schedules for the various food seminars and demonstrations conducted during the shows. You can sign up to attend seminars when you register for the event.

Note that online registration for the Summer Fancy Food Show is set up yet, but if you’re thinking of attending it, keep checking back. Early pre-registration costs just $35, and that’s a very good saving.

However, even the $60 fee is good -- no, great -- value.

From the moment you walk in to the show, fabulous aromas embrace you, luring you from booth to booth, enticing you to stop for just a nibble of whatever is being served.

Walk down one aisle and you’ll find Indian delicacies, and around the corner there are Italian cheeses, salamis and olives, and across the way the stalls feature chocolates and marzipan and other rich confections, and then, over in the corner, there are ice creams set up next to tea and coffee booths, and across the room, you‘ll find Mexican preparations. And don’t forget the Greek, Turkish, Chinese and Cajun displays -- all with yummy tidbits to sample.

The Fancy Food Show is a gourmet chef’s sampling menu from around the world, all for the price of your attendee badge. Just think the event as the sort of rich food experience you’d enjoy at a fine restaurant where you‘ve ordered a chef‘s sampling feast. And, think of how much that sort of dining experience costs in comparison.

Of course, at the Fancy Food Shows you‘ll eat off of plastic plates instead of shining china, and the napkins will be paper, not linen. And, you’ll be eating on your feet -- but the good thing about that is that you’ll be burning calories as you consume them!

And, you’ll find the people behind the counters extremely friendly and nice. In general, most people who work in the food business genuinely love what they do, and the get satisfaction from seeing the satisfaction their products bring to people who enjoy them. So, you’ll be warmly welcomed at the booths, and you’ll get really good answers to the questions you ask about the food you’re eating, and its preparation.

The Fancy Food Show is really a unique and wonderful day trip around the world of gourmet foods from around the world. And, like any good tourist, when you set out on the trip, bring an extra bag with you to fill with samples that are given to you and stuff that you buy on the spot. Take the day trip home with you and share it with friends!

The Fancy Food Show doesn’t book travel for you, but the Website does feature information about affordable accommodations, with special rates attached to attendance at the event. So, check before booking your hotel in San Francisco, or in Washington DC.

Copyright 2011 Jennifer Merin