New England’s full of finalists for Sofi Awards
Lightly sweet, with an earthy walnut flavor and a touch of caraway, the new ryecakes from Effie’s Homemade became a finalist for the annual Sofi Awards, a top honor from the Specialty Food Association, announced last week. Sofi stands for “specialty outstanding food innovation.”
Effie’s, which is based in Hyde Park, has won two Sofi Awards, and this year shares the spotlight with 10 other local food makers, including Batch Ice Cream, available in Boston-area markets and on its food truck, and Sauces ’n Love of Lynn.
The Specialty Food Association, started in 1952, is a group of food artisans, manufacturers, importers, and retailers of gourmet products. This year there were 2,700 entries in 32 categories and the judges, who are merchants and wholesalers of high-end foods, chefs, food writers, and bloggers, typically select items that are new, different, and stand out. “We’re looking for things that are not only flavorful but innovative,” says Jerry James Stone, a San Francisco food blogger and cookbook author, who was a judge.
Batch’s brown-sugar bourbon and pecan flavor won over the judges, who tasted hundreds of foods a day for two to five days. “The bourbon combo was a killer. It was a wow,” says judge Ken Blanchette, an importer and purchaser for the New York delivery service Fresh Direct. He was also impressed with the Brussels sprouts, caramelized onion, and Asiago ravioli from finalist Nella Pasta in Boston. “It was not overblown or too frou-frou,” says Blanchette.
Other Massachusetts finalists are Coop’s MicroCreamery of Watertown, which makes super-premium frozen items; produce and specialty foods wholesaler Sid Wainer & Son of New Bedford; Klara’s Gourmet Cookies of Lee; Late July Organic snack chips of Barnstable; Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co. of Topsham, Maine; newcomer Wozz! Kitchen Creations of Hardwick, Vt., makers of dressings and glazes; and Vermont companies Castleton Crackers of Castleton, Vermont Creamery of Websterville, and Vermont Smoke and Cure of Hinesburg, meat smokers who were nominated for their spicy turkey sticks.
The awards will be announced at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York June 29 through July 1.