10 Top Food Trends for 2012

Ten Top Food Trends for 2012!10 Top Food Trends for 2012

Identifying the food trends for the year ahead is a terrifically fun and challenging task!  Every source under the sun has its own opinion on the topic and communality across lists is unusual.  With a bit of editing, combined with my own thoughts about food, here goes!

  • Scotch Eggs:  previously a gastro pub staple, scotch eggs are headed home.  Hardboiled eggs, wrapped in sausage, coated in corn flake crumbs and deep-fried are all the rage!  (recipe to try at home:  Bon Appetit, pictured right)
  • Canelés:  another small and sweet dessert is staking its claim to replace the queen cupcake!  These French cakes are baked in fluted tins with a caramelized, crispy crust and custardy inside.
  • Butchers:  in search of the most flavorful cuts of meat, many are and will be turning to a traditional butcher shop.  Trained butchers are more knowledgeable about the many cuts of meat available and how best to prepare them.  From the butcher, look for a new cut of pork that is gaining popularity:  secreto.  Secreto is a thin steak from the belly of the pig and resembles a beef skirt steak.
  • Specialty Salts:  a finishing touch to both dishes and desserts, gourmet flavors are quickly rising in popularity.  Black Hawaiian sea salt, Bolivian Rose salt, Merlot-infused crystals and Yakima apple wood smoked sea salts are some varieties in the market place.
  • Improved Children’s Menus:  instead of creating separate (and limited) menus for young diners, restaurants will be offering smaller portions of adult fare.
  • Flavored Condiments:  both ketchup and mayonnaise will be chef-made, with high-end seasonings!  Look for ketchup enhanced with anchovy, oyster or mushroom and mayo with added flavors like foie gras and coffee!
  • Beer Based Cocktails:  bartenders are now using beer to add complex flavor and a refreshing bubbliness to the usual mixed drink.  Brewers are even turning to brewing beer in barrels that previously held liquors, so that the beer takes on a unique, “beer cocktail” flavor!
  • Yuzu Kosho:  this newcomer is a spicy, somewhat hot Japanese condiment that can be added to rice dishes, soups, fish and chicken. The texture is a bit like a rough paste or finely chopped chutney with a citrus flavor. Made from yuzu zest, chile and salt, a version can also be made substituting lemon, lime and grapefruit zest for the hard to find yuzu.  (recipeto buy)
  • Nordic Inspired Fare:  be prepared to find Nordic influenced dishes on restaurant menus this year!  Your choices may include: Kjottkaker (Swedish meatballs spiced with nutmeg), Glogg (Aquavit spiked punch), Jarlsberg cheese, Cloudberry (a tart, amber colored berry often used in jams), Gravlax (Salmon that has been dry-cured in a mix of salt, sugar and herbs), Smorgasbord (a buffet of cold fish, cold sliced roasts and warm meats like ham) and Skyr (super-thick Icelandic yogurt made from skim cow milk.
  • New Pasta Shapes:  restaurants that focus on regional Italian foods, have added to the array of pasta shapes yet again!  Paccheri are fat, wide tubes from the Campania region and are best in hearty baked dishes.  Garganelli is a thin, ridged rolled pasta named for a chicken’s gullet.  This pasta hails from the Emilia-Romagna region and is best with a meaty ragu.  Lastly, Trofie is from Liguria and is a short spiral pasta well paired with pesto all Genovese.

I hope that you are well prepared for your next dining adventure with this list!  It was such a pleasure to put this compilation together, and I’ll feel even happier when dining in a restaurant this year and feeling chicly well informed!  Bon Appetit! 

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