Current Foodie Trends
Several weeks ago we wrote about Australian food trends identified by prominent local chefs and nutritionists, but much of our culinary culture is influenced by what’s happening in kitchens and restaurants beyond our shores. Below are 10 foodie trends that may have begun elsewhere but are definitely appearing here, too.
Artisanal refers to items handcrafted or handmade by skilled technicians, but is currently also used to sell products made in limited editions or small batches. Artisanal honey is often described in terms normally associated with wine, like balance, finish, and overtone. It provides a marked point of difference from mass-produced supermarket honey. Many chefs value the unique flavours, such as buckwheat, orange blossom, and sage, which make a wonderful addition to any recipe that requires honey (for example, here and here). The adjective is frequently misspelled ‘artisinal’ – it’s unclear whether this is due to pronunciation confusion or the unappetising look of the second half of the word.
A vegetable most children seem to hate, Brussels Sprouts have found their way into some exclusive kitchens. Part of their success is their versatility: they can be simply roasted (with chillies, salt, pepper, and olive oil), or just as easily take on the flavours of Italian, Mexican, or Asian spices. Chef Michael Fiorelli, of Terranea Resort in southern California, roasts whole Brussels Sprouts on the vine and tops them with pancetta and roasted apples. Chef Mark Mendez, of Vera in Chicago, makes a salad with thin Brussels Sprouts and apple shavings, carrots, parsley, chives, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Charcuterie refers to the ancient practice of curing meat, originally developed to preserve it in the days before refrigeration. Today, the idea of using the entire animal has come back into vogue, and charcuterie has once again gained prominence. The generic terms includes bacon, ham, sausages, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit.
Fennel pollen is a versatile spice with notes of liquorice, curry, and honey. Foragers roam the California hills to hand-pick fennel flowers after the bees have visited. The blooms are dried and sifted then sold as the world’s third most expensive spice (after saffron and cardamom). It’s good with fish, dishes that use mild cheeses, or even charcuterie.
We’ve mentioned these awfully scrumptious (or is that scrumptiously awful) bite-sized cakes on a stick before. They may be a fad, but they’re perfect for any occasion. Cake is never going to be health food, but it’s never going to go away either, we hope.
Hailed as adult popsicles, or at least popsicles that appeal to grownups, these frozen treats are comprised of fruit, some sugar, a little lemon juice, and not much else (although there are also scrumptious alcoholic versions). Some commercially available flavours include beet citrus rosemary, watermelon black pepper, and rhubarb rose riesling!
Mead is commonly recognised as the precursor of most other alcohols. It starts with honey and water, and may also contain a fermenting agent such as yeast, and sometimes other flavourings like fruit. The most famous Australian brand is produced by Maxwell Wines, which boasts at least three different varieties.
Pie (sweet, not savoury)
American dessert pies are making a comeback. Some old-time favourites include sweet potato, pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie. Instead of the standard whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, many restaurants are serving their pies with modern sides or toppings like burnt meringue and kettle corn ice cream.
Truffles & Truffle Oil
Truffles and truffle oil can be paired with nearly anything, including savoury or sweet dishes. Some sushi chefs are even serving truffle oil with sashimi. But if you want to buy truffle oil, make sure it’s not a synthetic blend. Many chefs prefer to use whole truffles rather than truffle oil.
In Japan they make chips of thinly sliced lotus root, burdock, and sweet potato. In the U.S. some restaurants serve eggplant, artichoke, taro, yucca, plantain, boniato, and even pineapple chips. Chef Aimee Olexy, of Talula’s Garden in Philadelphia, serves frilly, crispy kale leaf chips.
* Based on a story in Forbes.