With every New Year, come new predictions for the next twelve months. Being in the event and food business, we pay close attention to what the culinary experts are forecasting. Colors, wedding trends for the year (more on this in another up-coming blog), florals, décor, and unique corporate gathering ideas are on our radar all year long, but food and drink trends seem to be the most universal and anticipated in the event and food industry. Here are fifteen culinary darlings (some daring) expected to be seen, heard, and of course, tasted in 2015.
1) Oysters – Everyone’s favorite bivalves will be making an appearance on happy hour menus, dinner tables, and even in cocktails this year. Thanks to detoxed inlets, oyster beds are being re-seeded and while oyster harvesters are at it, they are discovering more new oyster beds. The re-seeding and discovery of the new beds has made the once considered luxury food inexpensive and plentiful.
Oysters will be served with traditional sauces, cocktail and mignonette, and also paired with flavorful creative additions such as Thai flavors, kimchee (a Korean fermented cabbage condiment), or fried to top-off a juicy burger.
2) Root Vegetables – While the once little-known leafy green kale has gone mainstream, the newest vegetables to grace our plates may not be the prettiest. The funky looking celeriac, gangly kohlrabi, and wrinkly parsnips are given makeovers and slated to be the “it” vegetables of 2015. Chefs love their versatility and introducing the public to something new.
3) Japanese – The ethnic food of the year will be all-flavors Japanese. The growing popularity of ramen shops has made us think beyond sushi and sake. We are now looking to Japan for whiskeys, the latest gadgets for coffee and tea siphons, and Japanese fried tofu, agedashi, will be pleasing our worldly palettes.
4) Sweet and Spicy Condiments – Sriracha will always be a spice-head’s favorite sauce, but 2015 is all about contrasting flavors. Sweet and spicy house made condiments will liven up dishes. Think spicy honeys, sweet/hot butters, mayos, chutneys, and jellies.
5) Bugs – The rest of world eats bugs on a more regular basis (….um…more than never…) than we do in the States. In 2015, we expect to be eased into insect eating with bug powders and flours. For the more adventurous chefs, items like cricket tacos, mealworm burgers, and scorpion skewers are not too far behind. This trend is crawling into the year because of the public’s need for more protein packed foods, which bugs are extremely high in, interests in sustainable living, and foraging.
6) Micheladas – Beer cocktails were seen nearly everywhere in 2014, and that trend will continue into 2015, but look more closely at the Michelada, a Mexican standard drink of beer with hot sauce and sometimes a splash of tomato juice–like a bloody Mary with beer. Micheladas will be revamped with fancier spices and topped with an array of citrus juices. And for true fans of beer and booze, Micheladas will often have added tequila to make a more robust cocktail.
7) Local Meat – By now we all seem to know what grows locally. But now consumers also seem to be interested in what is raised locally. Meat from local purveyors has become equally relevant to kitchens, diners, and most importantly the environment.
8) Bitter– Spicy may have reigned supreme for a few years and the flavor still kicks around most menus and home kitchens. Foods like bitter greens and bitter chocolate are gaining ground as with the newest flavor of the year. Even sour craft beers, house made bitters, and coffees are getting on the tart train.
9) Large Punches – Dust off the punchbowl because the retro punch is back. Mixologists are both loving and loathing the trend of making one large punch to easily serve a crowd. Gone are the days muddling and mixing. Punches will be getting modernized touches with ginger beers, bitters, seasonal fruits and herbs. (We event planners love this trend because it makes finding and serving a signature drink for an event current and fun!)
10) More Full Fat – Sorry fat-phobics. Natural, animal-derived fat (not the yucky processed fat) is making a big comeback. Think back to your grandparents’ farm where whole milk and butter was all there was, chicken fat was used for cooking, and full fat yogurt was a treat… Natural fat has recently been acclaimed for better health benefits than their low-fat and fat-free friends; and cooks love it, because more fat equals better flavor!
11) Teff – Move over quinoa. There is a new super-food grain in town and its subtle nutty flavor is winning over health fanatics and chefs. The Ethiopian grain has been around for thousands of years, but 2015 will be the year teff shines. Teff flour is ideal as a wheat flour alternative, and the tiny grains make an easy savory or sweet porridge. Keeping in line with continued trend on all things gluten-free, teff is a refreshing new change from the same old grains.
12) Peas – The frozen food darling of yesterday is todays protein packed vegetable. With growing concern for soy grown with questionable GMO’s, we are looking forward to other non-GMO grown, protein rich vegetables to fill us up. However, peas will not be served as a side with their favorite partner, carrots– they will be making appearances as a powder for smoothies, in protein bars, and as snacks.
13) Foraging – The forager has been looking for more than unusual mushrooms this year. Other foraged items such as native greens and herbs, berries, and even wild turkeys will be turning up under more than just rocks in 2015.
14) Fermented Foods – With probiotics taking center-stage on the wellness scene, fermented foods are getting a major boost. The popular fermented kumboocha tea will continue to be on grocery shelves but also beginning to be artisanally brewed at cafes and farmers markets. The Korean condiment Kimchi will take on many variations, and even the humble sauerkraut will get a gourmet lift.
15) Waffles – The morning staple has gone beyond brunch. Waffles have more recently been seen in a favorite Southern dish, chicken and waffles, which proved to be prized on menus everywhere. This year waffles will be seen as savory, or spicy sandwiches, and will get an overhaul as decadent desserts to end your day, rather than to begin. As brunch weddings are gaining popularity we are even seeing waffle stacked wedding cakes.
2015 will be the year of bold foods! What trends are you looking forward to (or not) this year?