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The winners of the 2014 sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of the year were unveiled at a red-carpet ceremony held June 30 at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Presenting the honors was pastry chef Dominique Ansel, creator of the Cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid.
The 2014 contest was the largest in the Specialty Food Association’s 42-year history, with 2,737 products submitted across all 32 awards categories. East Hampton Gourmet Food's Lentil Rice Crispbread with Sesame and Pink Salt won the sofi Award for Outstanding New Product.
The other winners, by category, were as follows:
- Appetizer, Antipasto or Hors d’Oeuvres: Rick's Picks Smokra
- Baked Good, Baking Ingredient or Cereal: Callie's Charleston Cheese and Chive Biscuits
- Cheese or Dairy Product: Bellewether Farms Whole Milk Ricotta/Red Witch World’s Best Cheese (tie)
- Chocolate: Poco Dolce Confections Popcorn Toffee Squares
- Classic: Fran’s Chocolates Gray Salt Caramel
- Cold Beverage: Joia All Natural Soda - Orange, Jasmine & Nutmeg
- Condiment: Wozz! Kitchen Creation Triple Ale Onion Savory Spread
- Confection: Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Co. Bourbon Nib Brittle
- Cookie: The Sticky Toffee Pudding Co. Millionaire Shortbread with Smoked Hickory Sea Salt
- Cooking Sauce or Flavor Enhancer: Lillie’s Q Barbeque Sauces & Rubs Hot Smoky Barbecue Sauce
- Cracker: Castleton Crackers Governor's Cheddar Crackers
- Dessert or Dessert Topping: Fromagerie Belle Chevre Belle Chevre Goat Cheese Cheesecake
- Diet and Lifestyle Product: Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. Gluten-Free Lobster Mac & Cheese
- Food Gift: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery S'mores Kit/Rogue Creamery Oregon Tradition (Tie)
- Frozen Savory: Elegant Brie Mushroom, Garlic & Scallion
- Hot Beverage: Teapigs Licorice and Peppermint
- Innovation in Packaging Design or Function: Coop's MicroCreamery Handmade Hot Fudge
- Jam, Preserve, Honey, Nut Butter: Dave’s Gourmet Inc. Oatmeal Cookie Butter
- Meat, Paté or Seafood: Wagshal’s Imports Fermin Iberico de Bellota Smoked Panceta
- Oil: Lettieri & Co. Barbera Lorenzo No. 5
- Pasta Sauce: Cucina Antica Foods Corp. Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Pasta, Rice or Grain: La Pasta Inc. Beet, Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Ravioli
- Perishable Foodservice Produce: Vermont Creamery Bijou Food Service
- Product Line: Tonewood
- Salad Dressing: Wozz! Kitchen Creations Ginger Soy Infusion Dressing
- Salsa or Dip: Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dip - Original Blue Flavor
- Shelf-stable Foodservice Product: Argo Century Inc. Tonton Hibachi Sauce with Sake
- Snack Food: Dang Foods Toasted Coconut Chips
- Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili: Backyard Safari Co. Dinner Tonight with White Bean Chili Seasoning
- USDA-certified Organic Product: Silk Road Soda Co. Cucumber Mint
- Vinegar: Pok Pok Som Thai Basil Drinking Vinegar
"The creativity and passion our members bring to their foods and beverages was evident in the variety and quality of the contest entries this year," said Specialty Food Association President Ann Daw.
Last spring, a national panel of specialty food professionals met for eight days to taste and evaluate all entries and choose 125 finalists. To determine the winners, 275 buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show sampled the finalist products and votes for their favorites. The results were then tabulated by an outside accounting firm.
The Summer Fancy Food show, the largest marketplace devoted exclusively to specialty food in North America, took place June 20-July 1 at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
The awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association, a New York-based not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. “sofi” stands for specialty outstanding food innovation. The association (formerly the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade Inc.) owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows
See Managing Editor Bridget Goldschmidt's impressions of the sofi finalists at a tasting event held during the Summer Fancy Food Show.