It is the middle of September and most of the kiddos are back in school starting a whole new year of learning. I thought why should the kids have all the fun! (Besides the fact that they are kids and that is what kids do!)

My friends at Fortune Fish & Gourmet in Bensenville, IL gave me (and enough folks to fill the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier in Chicago) the education of a lifetime on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 by hosting the Chicago Seafood and Specialty Show.IMG_7236

The show provided an opportunity to taste and learn from over 160 of the finest Seafood and Specialty Food Companies from the U.S. and around the world. Fortune Fish is the leader in the class when it comes to assimilating a catalog filled the finest in fresh, live and frozen seafood and gourmet foods.

Fortune Fish does their homework and learns about the sustainability (check out their website for more information) of the products they promote and share that knowledge with their customers. (And their favorite blogger!)

Shedd Aquarium partnered with Fortune Fish to help spread the word of their sustainable seafood mission.
NOAA is another great resource to learn about U.S. Seafood and Aquaculture.

Going to a Fortune Fish & Gourmet event (like my Cheesecation this past summer) is like being told you got the “cool” teacher. You know that only good things are ahead.

With the jitters of a child on their first day of school, I ascended the first staircase into the show. (And like an overzealous parent…I took pictures of EVERYTHING!)

There were so many amazing things I tasted but I wanted to share some of my favorites and things that I hope will find their way to NW Indiana markets!  (I wonder if I can drop off Fortune Fish & Gourmet Catalogs at my local stores?)  Check out the websites and descriptions.  There were some really fascinating products.

Spindrift’s natural sparkling soda had REAL fruit juice in each bottle. REFRESHING!
Stu’sBloody Mary Concentrate is already in my pantry! Great mix of a homemade pickle brine and secret spices makes this the great add in to your tomato juice.

IMG_7231I got distracted easily when I saw this…it was like another Cheesecation!


It was like a cheese cheat sheet.
It was like a cheese cheat sheet.
I could stood at the Roelli booth all day!
I could have stood at the Roelli booth all day!!
I met LaClare Farms in Wisconsin this summer.  Congrats on your new "kid!"
I met a VERY pregnant cheese maker from LaClare Farms in Wisconsin this summer. Congrats on your new “kid!”
Martha's Pimento Cheese gives the south a run for its money.
Martha’s Pimento Cheese gives the south a run for its money.
Finally a quality olive oil in a spray at La Tourangelle.
Single Source Honey at Ames Farm.
Ames Farm knows Sex sells…honey! Just one of the many seminars available on Tuesday.
I loved the hand rubbed rind flavors. Tea and coffee on cheese is pretty amazing at Beehive Cheese Co.
Creminelli brought some awesome heat.

The Charcuterie was just outstanding too!

Olympic Provisions
Fermin-A Cut Above the Rest

And I have to give a huge shout out to Quince and Apple for an amazing Raspberry/Rose preserve!  It is one of their newest products not out yet but when it is…I will be ordering some.  It was memorable.

Time for Fish and Meat….

The fish tagging can tell you al the who-what-where-and whens of the fish you are eating.
Can't go to a gourmet show without a taste of cavier.
Can’t go to a gourmet show without a taste of cavier.
Spence & Co. is something I’ve bought before. I liked the concept of Lox in a Box.
Camel?  Don't knock it until you try it.
Camel? Don’t knock it until you try it.  (There were no camel samples to taste but it will be on my “try” list for the future.)
Nueske’s Bacon…you know I love them!
I have always loved this packaging (and product.)
Trikalinos Bottarga powder is essentially dried grey mullet. Use it like a salt or pepper as a seasoning. Very interesting.
Great Oyster Competition hosted by the Fortune Fish and Old 1871 Oysters.  (My video didn't turn out.  Boo.)
Great Oyster Shucking Competition hosted by the Fortune Fish and Old 1871 Oysters. (My video didn’t turn out. Boo.)


There were a few items that I am going to personally ask our buyers at our stores to look into purchasing for our area.

First, Big Fork Bacon Sausage. I am going to dedicate an entire post to them soon but to sum it up they are a Chicagoland natural, pork sausage.  Oh and they are delicious!!!

Next, Sugiyo‘s products were shockingly good.  I am so used to the surimi products in our stores that are like pressed logs of mystery fish that resembles string cheese and not fresh crab.  Sugiyo is stepping up and finally delivering a product that I would proudly serve.


Finally, if you try one new thing this year.  Please try American Tuna.  A family owned pole and line fishing company specializes in one of the best specialty tunas I’ve ever tasted.  The tuna is literally put in the can and pressure cooked.  So the oil found in the can is not added it is actually the natural oil pulled from the fish.  You don’t want to drain it, you want to mix in all those Omega 3’s and get some vitamins!

IMG_7273The knowledge the folks at American Tuna shared with me made me excited for tuna.  They really do have an incredible product and I hope more of our stores start carrying it.

I had a great day learning but was glad when the bell rang at the end of the day.  I really hope to share some of my notes with my local restaurants and stores so that they can take advantage of some of the great food I tasted thanks to the folks at Fortune Fish & Gourmet.