Trending Foods To Keep an Eye On This Autumn/Winter 2013

2013 started out with a bang in food revolution and consumers thinking outside of the box in the way they normally eat.  A few of the biggest trends to hit the restaurant scene in the beginning of the year were tasting menus, fermenting, food trucks, sustainable seafood, restaurant gardens, molecular gastronomy and charcuterie everything just to name a few.  With only a few months remaining in the year Local Roots Food Tours has been asked what else is there to look forward to in the upcoming months in the food arena?  We have picked out the top trends we are seeing right now or are on the forefront of trending in the beginning of 2014.

What’s Ahead……Top 10 Trends:

1.  Move over Kale….the new green on menus is Collard Greens. Collard greens are loaded with vitamins A and K, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and fiber.  This is a staple in the south with most any meat dish but the trend is moving nationwide and soon to hit menus in restaurants jumping on board the collard green movement.

2.  Prep for a crudite’ awakening as raw vegetables get posh.  In their most natural state is where the greatest flavors and health benefits come in to play – watch farmers getting creative with varietal colors in carrots, cauliflowers and potatoes but keeping it raw when they find themselves on the plated salads and sides.

3.  Customers want in on exclusive ticketed dining events (hence the reason Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Tower Bridge Dinner sold out within 48 hours once tickets were available!) so get ready for more local chefs continuing to collaborate with local farmers in some creative barn dinners, food and wine pairing symposiums and delicious themed dinners….but be ready to pay a hefty price.  The more exclusive the event, the higher the price tag……which results in bragging rights with your friends on which exclusive dinners you attended this fall.

4.  Smacarons – with cheese!  Forget the sweet, saccharine macarons you thought you knew, this savory sensation is on our list for snacking and will be replacing all desserts and cheeseboards this autumn so keep your eyes peeled at local bakeries such as Estelle’s Patisserie and Ettore’s Bakery and get ready for a tasting of Smacarons!

5.  Can I get a Drum(roll) with that Rum!  Rum is back — and it’s not just for pirates anymore. People are even distilling it in New England, as they did almost two centuries ago. Supposedly, rum is enjoying a “big resurgence” across this land of ours. The best part? This means it is finally cool to order daiquiris. ”It’s such a simple drink and it’s delicious and there are just three ingredients: white rum, lime juice and simple syrup,” a San Francisco bartender told Food and Wine. And who are we to argue?

6.  Ramen Burger Revenge!  Move over Cronuts…….there is a new food craze starting to sweep the nation whether it be thru a food truck window or a casual restaurant who “gets it” that ramen noodles are not just for poor college students anymore! The Ramen Burger is an all-beef patty, sandwiched between two ramen noodle “buns.” It’s garnished with a secret Shoyu sauce, arugula and green onions. The flavor is a salty-sweet combination, but the texture of the buns is what makes this burger so enticing.  Who will be the first on the food scene to announce their Ramen Burger Creation?

7.  Ginger is the new “it” spice and will continue to trend into 2014.  Viva la old fashion ginger ale….we are starting to see amazing creations with ginger in beers, sodas and cocktails.  Pairing ginger with apples in yogurts is becoming more prevalent in yogurt selections. Long gone are the days when ginger was solely associated with Asian cuisine, as well as the odd ginger nut biscuit and cake range; it can now be found remodeled in a variety of products, from wine mixers and popcorn to cordials and ice cream, and the list continues to grow. Full of a rich tangy flavor and packed with health benefits it’s no surprise the ingredient is undergoing something of a revival.  It can also be found dried, pickled and candied. It is known for its herbal health benefits that include aiding indigestion, reducing sea sickness and possibly lowering cholesterol, and it has always been popular among health aficionados.

8.  Food foraging -Connecting people and nature through the ancient craft of foraging is becoming more and more a part of many chefs daily routines world-wide.  What started as a few crazy food foragers wandering thru woods to find edible mushrooms, weeds and wild flowers has turned into a way of creating menus for many passionate chefs.  They are growing their inspiration for all things natural when they create their exclusive menus. Many executive chefs are trying to model the “Hank Shaws” in the culinary world by hiring professional foragers to show them the techniques and skills to forage their way into some pretty creative results. Get ready for some creative and indulging ideas in the wild food arena.

9.  Cookbook trends for this fall to watch for on your Kindles:  French pastry themed books thanks to the cro-nut craze earlier this year.Thanks to new parchments, new pans, new recipes, and tutorials, baking up fancy pastries at home is becoming a more realistic goal. Premium French pastries are getting incorporated into more desserts and into more breakfast/brunch items, and more people embracing the idea for home cooking.as well as fancy restaurants putting out their own cookbook sharing their top menu items you can create from your own kitchen.  Salt Block Cooking continues to climb in popularity…..check out Mark Bitterman’s newest Salt Block Cooking cookbook for inspiration. Himalayan Salt Blocks are just not for looks anymore.

10.  Pumpkin is becoming the new bacon! The health benefits and the flavor are turning the fall favorite into a year-round flavor in all kinds of dishes. Restaurant chefs have increased their use of pumpkin on menus by nearly 40 percent in the last two years.  Start looking for pumpkin seed crepes, pumpkin martinis and pumpkin-bacon coffee on menus this fall and winter.  You might find yourself all ‘pumpkined-out” by next spring!

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