It’s been quite a year to say the least: I’ve mourned the demise of the Twinkie bar, and watched New York’s Board of Health legislation against a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and cinemas take effect.
Meanwhile closer to home, we’ve had some drastic weather, which combined with various droughts and storms around the world look set to have a knock on effect on staple crops, such as wheat and corn, as well as pushing up the cost of animal feeds, which will make meat even more expensive.
But it’s not all doom and gloom: we’ve seen the continued rise of British street food, the march of the noodle bar and the new love affair with chicken and American style comfort food. Food markets and pop ups continue to grow and innovate, and the food ‘rave’ now seems derigeur. At least in Hoxton.
As usual, I’ve put together a list of things that may be making an appearance next year. Trend predictions are always a funny thing: I know some journalists hate them, and to be frank, most of the time it’s the equivalent of sticking a wet finger in the air, but do have a read, and let me know what you think.
The Real Ale movement has been going on in the Uk for quite some time, and there have been efforts to offer menus specifically matching beers with food (e.g. at Le Gavroche and Quilon). However next year, expect to see a different approach.
Beer is not only going to appear on the drinks list (with luck we should see more small British breweries gaining prominence), but also used as an ingredient – think beer based sauces, confectionery and even bread.
Pundits could argue that we’re already in a pickle, but the art of preserving using vinegar is set to gain in popularity. We’re not just talking about the humble pickled onion: the likes of Meateasy and Pitt Cue have already popularised sweet and sour cucumbers, but look out for an array of veg (and interestingly fruit).
Pickles won’t just be Western style – look out for more Kim Chi, Achars from Malaysia, Chinese preserved cabbage and radish and Japanese umeboshi plums and daikon.
Tony Conigliaro may have developed barrel aged cocktails a few years ago, but barrel ageing is going one step further.
In America, you can find Ocean aged bourbon (jeffersonbourbon.com), Aged Sumatra coffee beans (which have a distinctive wood and tobacco flavour – wateravenuecoffee.com) and aged demerara sugar with vanilla, which is left for 6 months in bourbon barrels, imparting a caramel scent (249sweet.com). It’s only a matter of time…
The Goldenberry (physallis) used to be ones of those pointless garnishes in the 80s, but no longer. Goldenberries contain anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids and are also a good source of vitamins A and C.
Look out for them in jams, dried and also as a fresh juice.
London has now been populated with independent coffee bars, each one carefully sourcing beans, the right milk etc. So next year, it’s tea’s turn.
Although Teapod and Teasmith have already stolen a march, look out for a new teabar from Kusmi, while Palais de Thes, having had a pop up at Harvey Nichols, may be looking for something more permanent.
Whole animal or whole bird dinners are set to gain in popularity. New York’s Momofuko offers a $200 Korean “bo saam” family-style meal of a dozen oysters, a whole roasted pork shoulder, bbq sauce, kimchee and lettuce in which to wrap the meat.
London’s A La Cruz did a whole lamb feast earlier this year, and other restaurants do offer whole animal options with advance booking, but expect to see this start to appear on more menus, and from a variety of cuisines.
Jewish food is well known for its comfort food – think of chopped liver and knishes, bagels smothered with cream cheese and lox..the list goes on. Because of its origins, the cuisine has sometimes erred on the heavy side, but chefs such as Yottam Ottolenghi and Canadians Noah and Rae Bernamoff are producing Jewish food that is modern and incorporates newer flavours. At New York’s Mile End, a tongue sandwich uses pickled lamb tongue, sliced lengthwise, griddled and served with pumpernickel toast and red wine onion marmelade.
While it’s with a heavy heart that I have to acknowledge the cupcake is never disappearing, two new sweet treats should be rising in popularity in 2013 – the madeleine and the choux bun. Both classically French, look out for these one or two bite morsels, which won’t just be served at afternoon tea, but also given as gifts to rival macarons. Both On Patisserie (oncafe.co.uk) and Choux (choux-london.co.uk) already offer them in a variety of flavours and colours.
I’m not referring to the likes of Monin which offer a whole range of syrups commonly used in flavoured coffees, but artisan produced produced ones which have been infused with interesting botanicals, herbs and fruits, and can be used in cake making, cocktails and desserts. The Sonoma County versions shown above do a fantastic lavender syrup, while Brooklyn Bitters use organic and local ingredients to create unusual flavours, such as their Rhubarb bitters.
Forget relegating veggies to your salad plate. In 2013, you’ll find garden-grown foods as main courses, carb replacements (think courgette ‘pasta’ ribbons), and even delicious beverages (celery juice cocktail anyone?). As such UK growers who can supply chefs with unusual varieties of fruit and veg that differ from the standard conventional ranges will be in huge demand – think purple carrots, white alpine strawberries, striped beetroot.