Now that 2013 is well underway, it is time to look ahead to what we can expect on our plates over the coming year. Often we find food trends stick around longer than the latest fashions (cupcakes and bacon anyone?) but, it is fun to speculate about what the new “in” foods will be and who will love them, or not care at all.
Popping onto the scene this year is gourmet popcorn. Popcorn is the versatile snack that has been on the verge of wild popularity for a few years, but 2013 is predicted to be the year for the familiar snack. Expect to see over-the-top sweet flavors like dark chocolate, coconut, drizzled with white chocolate, or savory spicy kernels like wasbi or mesquite, and many variations in between! The best part about popcorn is that it is relativity healthy, can easily be found in stores, and can easily be experimented with by the home cook. Aside from gourmet popcorn being more readily available in your local grocery store, look for shops like Chicago’s Edmonds, famous for their cheesy caramel flavor, to explode this year.
Spicy food lovers rejoice! There is a new spicy sheriff in town and it is not salsita, or Sriracha. The hot condiment of the year is gochujang, a Korean chili paste made from fermented soybeans, red chili, glutinous rice, soybeans, and salt. The distinctive sauce can be used on burgers, eggs, mayos, and anything else that might need a kick.
Blazing out of restaurateurs’ and caterers’ ovens, expect to see artisan breads. With the gluten-free fad mellowing out a little, the lovely bread basket is expected to make a comeback to a table near you. The buzzwords at many restaurants are becoming “bread program” (In 2012 it is was “cocktail program”). Chefs are expected to even go as far as having bread courses showing off the range of skill and flavors going into different flours, techniques complete with a range of butters to pair with.
The drink of year will be tea. Gone are the days of heavy dairy lattes and flavored coffees. Tea is a more health conscious way to get your caffeine kick without a million calories. White, green, herbal, floral, earthy, and, spicy teas will be the choice beverages of the year. Tea is also expected to be appearing in dishes like tea-poached salmon, or deserts like Earl Grey cookies. Also, tea will be seeping behind the bar with many bartenders featuring the new beverage darling both iced and hot.
Of course, these trends may come and go faster than you can say “foie gras,” but we look forward to a year of putting them to the test!