10 of the biggest food trends for 2020 – and where to find them in Norfolk
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From open fire cooking, to bubble tea and nut butters- where can you try the new year's biggest food trends?
There's no abating for this growing phenomenon, and vegan eateries and businesses are springing up here there and everywhere. Brands such as Moving Mountains have become the norm on loads of menus but if you are a true vegan at heart you'll seek out burgers made with actual vegetables.
At Wild Thyme in Norwich there's always a decent vegan burger on the menu - most recently a spiced black bean variety with curried mayonnaise, carrot, beet and pumpkin slaw, and thyme baked sweet potato wedges.
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Outlets serving this zany Taiwanese export are cropping up here there and everywhere. Probably the most Instagrammable drink ever, bubble tea is totally customisable. Do you go for milk or fruit tea? Jelly or tapioca balls? Moya Tea, upstairs at Castle Mall, in Norwich has an array of constantly changing flavours. We like the mango tea with passionfruit tapioca balls.
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There has been huge growth in the non-alcoholic drinks market - particularly beer. And spirits brands are responding too. All good bars tend to have a bottle of Seedlip non-alcoholic gin on the shelf these days, for example. As more and more of us choose to cut back on booze, so has there been an increase in mocktails and drivers' drinks on pub, restaurant and bar menus. Mr Postle's Apothecary in Norwich serves a darn good Virgin Pornstar, made up with fresh passion fruit, pineapple, vanilla syrup and lemon.
Nut butters and spreads
Have you seen the peanut butter section in your local supermarket recently? It's not just plastic tubs of Sunpat anymore is it? Nut butters have become big business and you can get everything from almond to sunflower seed in larger stores these days. These ranges are apparently set to increase further in 2020, with dark roast peanut butters (richer, more caramelly) becoming ever prevalent. Locally Bonkers Snacks look set to launch their own dark roast in 2020, and the twin sisters behind Nuoi Foods churn out everything from Pecan Pie to Chilli Peanut nut butters.
Got a gluten allergy? The options available to you have never been so varied, with manufacturers constantly bringing out alternatives to plain white processed flour. Loads of eateries are bringing them into their kitchens too - from teff to banana flour. In East Anglia seek out Nova Farina, making naturally gluten-free British-grown pea flours. And also Hodmedod's, whose (also British-grown) range includes everything from quinoa to marrowfat pea flour.
According to food trend experts 2020 is the year more of us choose better bread. And how lucky are we, in the 'bread basket' of England to have such incredible bakers. The craft bread market is truly alive and well here. In Norwich Timberhill Bakery (now only open in the latter part of the week) is an advocate of the slow bread movement, baking sensational long fermented loaves that not only taste delicious, but, well wrapped, will last for days in the kitchen. Flavours include chia and flax, and pumpkin and sunflower. Incredible vegan pastries and cakes too.
With Brexit looming on the horizon, food and drink prices have already been creeping up, and restaurants will be looking ever closer to home and to local producers for ingredients. In East Anglia, using local produce is something we probably take for granted. The majority of independent pubs, cafes and restaurants in our region are likely already using products from Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex on their menus - from Red Poll beef, to line-caught fish off the North Sea, and the freshest fruit and vegetables. Look out for local when you're dining out in 2020.
Family style dining
Not a fan of cooking the Sunday roast? No worries, because sharing roasts are becoming a 'thing' in pubs and restaurants. Simply rock up with your family and friends, choose your meat, and it will be delivered, ready to carve with all the trimmings, to your table. No washing up required. The Exchange at Jarrolds in Norwich serves a Host Your Own Roast every Sunday. Choose from sirloin of Aberdeen Angus beef, a loin of pork, or Norfolk-reared black leg chicken, served with goose fat roast potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshires and gravy. It's £14.95 per person.
Interactive food and drink experiences
We want more from our days and nights out. We want theatre, drama and fun. In Norwich, for fun and interactive value you just cannot beat the award-winning market, where you can have a bit of banter with the traders and regulars, and even take a seat at some of the vendors' stalls. Watch the guys at Sicily Kitchen roll out your pizza, before firing it to order. Spinkle your katsu curry with trimmings at Bun Box. Tuck into handmade pie and mash at Walsingham Farm Shop's outlet. And breathe in the cocoa-goodness as Cuppie Hut warms a brownie and smothers it in chocolate sauce for you. Outside of the city, how about seeing local venison sausages, steaks, pork and chicken crackling over an open fire in The Elk Room at The Gunton Arms. As an extra treat, all fire-cooked dishes come with delicious goose fat roast potatoes.
Open Fire Cooking
Big in Southern America, open fire cooking is a time-honoured way to bring intense flavours to everything from vegetables to fish and, of course meat. More kitchens in the UK are bringing in charcoal grills and Big Green Eggs to replicate the effects. But some are going the whole hog. At No Twenty9 in trendy Burnham Market diners can watch the chefs in action, preparing food over live fire - be that sealing Swannington Farm to Fork steaks, or slow cooking items in the dying embers. A recent plate has included whole fire-baked plaice with tarragon butter, pickled girolles, parmentier potatoes, pea puree, chard and lemon gel.