The Specialty Food Association is pleased to announce the finalists for the 41st annual sofi Awards for the outstanding specialty foods and beverages of 2013.

A national panel of specialty food experts tasted and evaluated 1,885 products across 30 categories to come up with a list of 109 finalists for this prestigious annual award. A sofi is considered the highest honor in the $86 billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation.

This year’s finalists include Tasmanian Orangewood Honey, Cardamom Ice Cream, Cherry Seed Oil, and Spicy Korean Barbecue Marinade. The complete list of finalists is here:

The sofi Awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association, a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers, and entrepreneurs.

Gold winners will be announced at a red-carpet ceremony July 1 at the association’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. The event will be hosted by Marcus Samuelsson, the internationally acclaimed chef and restaurateur.

“Creativity, innovation, and excellence were in evidence across all the awards categories this year,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association. “The judges had a challenge to narrow down their favorites to come up with this great group of finalists.”

The judges evaluated the entries on numerous attributes, including quality, taste, innovation, packaging, ingredients, and pricing.

The panel included: Andy Arons and Michael Rafferty, Gourmet Garage, New York, N.Y.; David Clemens, Gateway Market, Des Moines, Iowa; Kate Collier and Erik Gertner, Feast!, Charlottesville,Va.; Kathryn Flouton, Dean & DeLuca, New York, N.Y.; Rachel Forillere and John Lawson, Whole Foods Market, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Adam Glassman, O, The Oprah Magazine, New York, N.Y.; Emiliano Lee, Farmshop, Santa Monica, Calif.; Pete Marczyk, Marczyk Fine Foods, Denver, Colo.; Leyda Martinez, Gardner's Market, Coconut Grove, Fla.; Steven Petrecca and Daniel Skurnick, STARR Restaurants, Philadelphia; Regina Ragone, Family Circle, New York, N.Y.; Jeanette Scarcella, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I.; Allison Schraf, Zingerman's, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Morgan Ward, City Feed and Supply, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; Scott Zoeller, King's Super Markets/Balducci’s, Parsippany, N.J.

In May, the Specialty Food Association will bring in judges to select sofi Finalists for two more awards: Outstanding New Product of 2013, and Outstanding Product Line.

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