Each New Year brings with it a round-up of what we were ordering most in restaurants and our must-have ingredients for the previous 12 months and also, of course, predictions on what might be tickling our tastebuds for the year ahead. With this in mind, we’ve reviewed last year’s trends and scoured through the food forecasts for Ireland and the UK to bring you our list of what’s hot for 2017.
We seemed to have finally maxed-out on our use and consumption of kale and stealing its limelight this year is – cauliflower. Cauliflower is low in carbs and calories and high in fibre, plus lots more good stuff like vitamin C, folate and potassium. The versatility of cauliflower as an ingredient and it’s part as a healthy alternative for things such as rice and pizza bases, has meant its rise in popularity.
Everyone loves pasta and the exploration of alternative types of pasta is only just beginning with the popularity of spiralised vegetables last year. Made from grains such as quinoa, lentils and chickpeas, alternative pasta will be adding a new lease of flavours and textures into Italian dishes. Plus, we’ll see seaweed such as kelp as an alternative to noodles too. Check out Irish artisan producer, Leaves, whose buckwheat and chickpea pasta is hot on this trend.
Seaweed is a game changer. It can only be described as revolutionary in terms of its health benefits, not to mention its incredible umami taste – the fifth taste to be identified on our palates. It is not only dulse (seaweed), however, but sea vegetables in general that are going to be in the spotlight – samphire, agar, kelp, wakame, to name a few. We can also expect to see seaweed used as an ingredient in lots of consumer products such as breads, snack bars and used as a salt alternative, or seasoning, in its dried form.
Something which is happening a lot already, but will be highlighted more in restaurants is chefs getting more involved with farmers, some chefs even buying or renting land themselves or partnering with farmers so they can use what’s freshest and best in season and have the option to use all parts of the plant or animal. This leads on to the trend of in-house products such as charcuterie, smoked meats and extreme dry-aged meat.
Getting specific about meat, goat meat will definitely become a lot more mainstream in 2017. This meat has long been part of a staple diet in North Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean and India, and is on the menus in restaurants with these cuisines. Goat meat is low in fat and higher in protein than some meats. Expect to see it in many restaurants, butcher shops and possibly your dinner table this year!
While Turmeric, the wonderfully colourful spice with all its almost magical properties, was big in 2016, it will be the super spice of 2017! This will include seeing it used in exciting new ways, for instance, the rise in popularity of the ‘golden milk latté’ made with fresh turmeric root and spicy breakfasts and desserts are also another trend so expect to see the flavoursome golden wonder give egg dishes a makeover and cheesecakes hidden richness!
This trend is particularly big in the U.S. already with start-ups and chain restaurants opening their own kitchens in locations staffed by professional chefs, whose sole purpose is the delivery of top-class food directly to the consumer. In New York, David Chang has two such companies – Ando and Maple.
Blackboards are just for classrooms and a piece of paper hanging on the wall is just not cool anymore. Individual menus are back, so you no longer have to stand awkwardly in the middle of a restaurant trying to decide what to order or trying to memorise the entire menu to regurgitate to diners at your table!
Cooking with fire
Ever since we saw Francis Mallmann creating and cooking in firepits on the first season of Chef’s Table, the world fell in love these techniques and traditional flavours, so the trend of cooking over fire has become widely popular. Jamie Oliver’s new Barbecoa Picadilly, London, opens this February, which will further fuel our obsession with charcoal, flame and grills. In Dublin, new restaurant Ember in Milltown and the long-established Asador on Haddington Road are both ones to try.
Stem-to-root is like the plant-based version of nose-to-tail. It is using every part of the vegetable. Expect to eat salads with veggie leaves and roots and recipes for things like potato skins. This trend is partly to do with raising awareness of the serious issue of food waste, but also that there are lots of reasons to use up whole vegetables including the good nutritional content in the roots and stems. Plant butchery is also developing fast, such as YamChops in Toronto, which uses soy, pea and other proteins to create realistic-looking, and tasting, meat alternatives. According to Mintel’s 2017 global food and drink report, plant-based diets are set to explode into the mainstream this year.