It’s that time of year isn’t it? Some people love and some people hate food trends. Indeed, one journalist has summed it up very succinctly here. Personally, I love them, as whether consumers like it or not, their purchases and behaviour are determined by what a select group tends to come up with in their crystal balls.
I don’t claim to have any real expertise in all of this – but I do like eating and cooking, and admittedly, I have been working in this wonderful industry for a little while now, so just *maybe* I know what I’m talking about.
In any case, have a very Happy New Year, and here’s to 2015!
FOOD PRODUCTION TRENDS
Moving on from the popularity of pickling this year, people are going to be doing more experiments with fermentation – not just beer making, but in particular Lactofermentation. Lacto-fermentation increases the vitamin and enzyme levels, as well as digestibility of the fermented food. It’s believed that lactobacillus organisms produce antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances that may contribute to good health.
The diets of every traditional society have included some kind of lacto-fermented food. In Europe they have been primarily dairy, sauerkraut, grape leaves, herbs, and root vegetables. The Alaskan Inuit ferment fish and sea mammals. The Orient is known for pickled vegetables and kimchi in particular. Today at Sous Chef, you can buy your own Kimchi kit, but look out for Kombucha, and more sour flavours/pickles.
Expect to see vegetables in all sorts of guises – moving away from just your meat and two veg. Ottolenghi’s Plenty, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstal’s Veg Every Day have been partly instrumental in encouraging people to eat less meat and explore vegetables in new and interesting ways. However 2015 and beyond is going to see veg in more innovative ways. M&S already did a sprout juice which did brilliantly at Christmas, so expect to see more vegetable juices, and veg in other forms, such as hummus, cake, and even in yoghurt (there is a company in the US making veg yoghurts – see http://www.bluehillyogurt.com )
Apart from the water, which has been around for a little while now, look out for more coconut oil and coconut sugar. Both have health benefits. Although the oil is a saturated fat, the saturated fat in coconut oil differs from most fats because it contains a unique blend of short and medium-chain fatty acids. Medium-chain fatty acids have an unusual chemical structure that allows the body to digest them easily. Most fats are broken down in the intestine, transformed and transported into the bloodstream. On the other hand, medium-chain fatty acids are absorbed intact and taken to the liver, where they are used directly for energy. Meanwhile, coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index compared with normal sugar, and nutritionally, it is said to have more nutrients.
Blame the Great British Bake Off, but this year will be the year of French style patisserie. The macaron is already well known, and thanks to the last series the Kouign amann has now been brought out by Marks and Spencer, but expect to see more French classics, such as the Canele (there’s already a New York bakery specialising in them http://canelebyceline.com) as well as Financiers and Madeleines. Books to look out for include Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Simple and Richard Bertinet’s Patisserie Maison.
Simplicity is going to be key here – we’re now a little tired of cocktails with smoke and 15 different ingredients. There will be much joy to be had from a simple (but excellent) Martini. My goto book on this will be Kay Plunkett Hogge’s Make Mine a Martini. Also, look out for punch/ communal drinks.
The Negroni has really captured London’s imagination, but the bitter and herbal notes form Campari will give rise to more interest in herbal notes and bitters, such as Kamm & Sons’ bittersweet aperitif, but also classics, such as Italy’s Strega and Spain’s Fernet Branca.
No to the sugar
Coke has already released their Life drink, which is coke with natural sweeteners. As more people are trying to steer clear of sugary drinks, look out for more alternatives, be it flavoured waters, low sugar juices or tonics.
Regionality in cuisine is going to be a big thing in general anyway, but I think Spanish cuisine is really going to be pushed this coming year – especially since so many chefs have been influenced by El Bulli and Ferran Adria The UK has already embraced small plates and the idea of Tapas, and being a relative short journey away, most people have experienced Spanish food and drink in some form or another, but with Ametza recently opening, as well as Copita del Mercado, Spain is really going to make a push. People such as Radio 4’s columnist Rachel McCormack are pushing little known food traditions – such as Calcotadas.