Friday, December 5, 2008

Twice as many predictions of food and flavor trends

The value trend has apparently seeped into the Institute of Prognostication or wherever it is the crystal ball gazers congregate at this time of year to spit out forecast after forecast. The first sets of predictions to reach Restaurant Reality Check both disregarded the conventional list approach to cite two trends where one might’ve sufficed for each ranking in past years.

The McCormick spice company’s Flavor Forecast, for instance, predicts 2009’s Top 10 Flavor Pairings rather than merely the flavorings that will come into vogue. And’s New Food Trends cleverly cites what’ll be out as well as in.

Here they are in their entirety.


1. Peruvian is the new Thai: You thought Peruvian cuisine was all about seviche, maybe? Guess again: Peru boasts culinary influences from Spanish, Basque, African, Cantonese, Japanese, Italian, French, and British immigrants. Pisco Sour, anyone?
2. Noodle Bars are the new sushi joints: With some seafood being suspect or overfished and raw fish prices high, noodles make complete sense. If there's no ramen, udon, or soba shop in your neck of the woods,there probably will be soon.
3. "Value" is the new "sustainable": These days, the economy dictates our cooking and shopping decisions. Bargains are in, no matter where they come from.
4. Ginger is the new mint: Move over, mojitos. Ginger beers and ginger cocktails (like the Ginger Rogers, Gin-Mule, and Ginger Smash) are bubbling up at places like the Violet Hour in Chicago, the Clock Bar in San Francisco, and Matsugen in New York.
5. Smoking is the new frying: You know how everything tastes better fried? Well, almost everything tastes better smoked, too, and that includes cocktails. Bartenders (Eben Freeman at Tailor in New York, for example) are smoking their bourbons, and chefs, recognizing the national craze for BBQ flavor, are smoking more than just salmon and ribs: nuts, salts, even smoked steelhead roe (at Chicago's Alinea). Who says smoking's bad for you?
6. Regional roasters are the new Starbucks: It's come full circle. What started as a local coffee phenomenon migrated to other cities and turned Americans into java junkies. Then the chain overexpanded, and the little neighborhood coffee roasters thrive again, like Stumptown (Portland, Oregon), Blue Bottle (San Francisco), and La Colombe (Philadelphia).
7. Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon): Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check, and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, and Fore Street to start.
8. Rustic food is the new molecular gastronomy: Wacky weird-science cuisine that requires fancy-schmancy equipment doesn't necessarily make food taste better, and more often than not it adds needless complexity (there are exceptions). Most importantly, no one really wants to do this at home. Expect to see comfort food stage a comeback again.
9. "Top-Rated" is the new "Critic's Pick": Power to the people; single critics are a dying breed. Why believe what one person says when you can read and reflect on what hundreds think?

From McCormick:

1. Toasted sesame and root beer: An iconic soda is rediscovered for its versatility as a cooking ingredient, paired with the bold nuttiness of toasted sesame seed.
2. Cayenne and tart cherry: The flavors of two superfoods -- the heat of cayenne and sweet-sour tang of tart cherry -- pack a multi-layered punch.
3. Tarragon and beetroot: The hip pair creates a sensory feast that is anything other than predictable or restrained.
4. Peppercorn melange and sake: Japan's notable rice wine finds a new partner in the quintessentially French unison of multicolored peppercorns.
5. Chinese five spice and artisan-cured pork: Hand crafted artistry merges with a harmonious Asian blend to create an innovative taste sensation.
6. Dill and avocado oil: Mild avocado oil finds an elegant partner in clean, minty dill -- reflecting the healthy goodness that comes from pure, natural ingredients.
7. Rosemary and fruit preserves: Fresh-picked fruit flavors fuse with aromatic rosemary for a progressive interpretation of sweet and savory.
8. Garam masala and pepitas: A beautifully matched global combination of an intoxicating spice blend from India and a prized seed popular in Latin America.
9. Mint and quinoa: Nutritious, whole-grain quinoa is taken to new heights when paired with the exhilarating, cool taste of mint.
10. Smoked paprika and agave nectar: Smoky sweetness from the purity of nature celebrates a union of Spanish and Mexican ingredients.

No comments: