East Bay Food Companies Win Coveted Awards


Anneli Rufus

East Bay companies are among the Top Specialty Foods of 2015, as announced this week at the 61st Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. 

Announced Monday night at a red-carpet awards ceremony whose keynote speaker was Ted Allen, host of the Food Network's Chopped, the sofi winners were selected from a range of 2,715 entries in 32 categories. 

Laiki Black Rice Crackers, made by Fremont-based Grains of Health, won in the "Outstanding Cracker" category. 

Nona Lim Thai Curry and Lime Broth, made in West Oakland, won in the "Outstanding Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili" category.

These two categories have an amazingly wide breadth, so winning over all the other competitors is a serious pinnacle for both of these East Bay companies.

Laiki Crackers comprise only three ingredients: whole-grain Thai rice, palm oil and sea salt: crunchy simplicity personified. 

Singapore-bred tech consultant, champion fencer, food-delivery entrepreneur and Oakland resident Lim is a Green business owner and 2013 recipient of the Oakland Youth Friendly Business Award. She takes pride in employing international and UC Berkeley interns. 

Among the many other award-winners are Corn, Caramelized Onion and Thyme Ravioli from Massachusetts-based Nella Pasta in the "Outstanding Pasta, Rice or Grain" category; Dangerously Delicious Black Licorice Chocolate Toffee from New York-based Laurie & Sons in the "Outstanding Chocolate" category; Bay Blue from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. in the "Outstanding Cheese" category; and Blackberry Sheep Milk Yogurt from Petaluma-based Bellwether Farms in the "Outstanding Dairy or Dairy Alternative Product" category.

Topping them all as the grand-prize "Outstanding New Product" winner is Raspberry Rhubarb Goat Milk Caramels from Vermont's Big Picture Farm. Because when we think "rhubarb," the next word that should always come to mind is "goat."

These much-coveted accolades -- now in their 43rd year, open to members of the Specialty Food Association and judged by industry professionals and food journalists -- are known as sofi (specialty outstanding food innovation) Awards.

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