Day one of the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show flew by in a flurry of energy and activity, and exhibitors and attendees were treated to a new show feature as the exhibit halls closed: the opening night party.

In celebration of Specialty Food Week, which continued into day two yesterday, exhibitors and attendees were invited to enjoy craft cocktails, specialty food bites, and sweeping views of the Hudson River in the sunlit River Pavilion at the Javits Center for the picnic-themed party.

There to welcome the crowd were Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez of Back to the Roots, a specialty upstart that flourished virtually overnight like the company's signature mushroom garden, sold nationwide and spurring many a conversation about sustainability and rebuilding consumers' connection to their food. 

"At the end of the day all that really matters is doing what you love with people you love," Velez said to a gathering of several hundred. "This community right here this embodies exactly that."

Back to the Roots' Alejandro Velez (left) and Nikhil Arora

Arrowhead Farms provided cocktail mixers, in such concoctions as the Spitfire Margarita, while various member companies contributed food and other libations. Salon du Chocolat had a captivating presence in the form of chocolate dresses, worn gracefully by models who happily took photos with the crowd. 

The Fancy Food Show's evening festivities continue tonight, with the Lifetime Achievement Awards and sofi Awards ceremony, starting at 5 p.m., followed by a cocktail party with snacks and samples featuring 2015 sofi finalist products.

Follow all the Fancy Food Show activity with Specialty Food News' live blog, including the announcement of the sofi Award winners tonight. 

Photos: Eva Meszaros