Plant proteins, mocktails and florals - will you be trying the food trends of 2018?
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We've had bowl food. Superfoods. Tacos. Clean eating. But, the turning of a new year heralds the beginning of a whole new set of trends on the food scene.
Let's take a look at what experts from around the globe predict we'll be munching on in 2018…
Unless you live near a fancy pants grocers that just so happens to stock perfectly packaged flower heads, this one's a little bit out there. Flowers can, though, bring a great deal to any dish- and you don't need a Michelin Star to use them. Nasturtiums have long been used in salads for their peppery flavour and grow easily in the garden. Grow roses and lavender to infuse into puddings. And look out for chive blossoms and wild garlic flowers in season, which will add a little je ne sais quoi to any plate. To bring a delicately citrusy floral twist to your baking buy a bottle of Fiori di Sicilia extract – available from Suffolk-based Infusions 4 Chefs online.Root to shoot
In 2017 respected American chef Dan Barber set up a zero waste restaurant in London in collaboration with Selfridges, and it sent ripples of inspiration across the country, with other chefs in turn becoming more experimental with kitchen leftovers. Scrub those veg peelings and use them to make a freezerful of stock. Pick off carrot tops and turn them into pesto. And throw beetroot tops into your stirfries. Former Masterchef contestant Mat Follas' book Vegetable Perfection is a good place to start for ideas.
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This is one that's not going to go away. From tacos laden with guac' to South American arepas, posh mac and cheese and Japanese snacks such as curry-filled kare pan, chefs and street vendors will be going all-out in 2018 to produce the most exciting, innovative snacks. And we can't wait to get out mitts on them.
Flexitarianism (eating more veg, less meat) is only going to rise, led mostly by a merry band of Joe Wicks-watching Generation X-ers. Instead of mince we might turn to lentils. And beans, tempeh, tofu, vegetable extract, seeds and nuts are expected to form a much bigger part of our dinnertime story.
The rise in popularity of street food has spawned a whole new breed of burger makers, who've perfected the art of the patty. Experts predict more and more competitive cooks will be churning out their own secret burger sauces, relishes and pickles to take their buns to the next level.
Food as medicine
The health benefits of gut-friendly fermented foods were praised in 2017, and more people than ever are including miso and kimchi in their diets. Kombucha – a fermented tea drink, has become so popular that it's now stocked in supermarkets, with the Equinox brand (available at Waitrose) is leading the way. Give it a try – your gut will love you for it.
Aside from pickling ourselves in gin, a lot of consumers are looking for delicious alcohol-free alternatives to booze. Cue the appearance in 2018 of trend-led juices, mocktails, posh cordials and more. Belvoir are at the forefront of the revolution, having released three new drinks, Wine Without the Hangover, just before Christmas. Choose from Rose, Shiraz and Chardonnay – all alcohol-free.
Just 10 years ago how many of us would have been putting hummus in our trollies? Today it's practically a weekly shop staple for many households. In 2018 it's thought our love for Israeli, Egyptian, Moroccan and Iranian food will grow. So stock up on jars of preserved lemons, ras-al-hanout and Baharat and get experimenting.
Rene Redzepi's Noma is a tour de force, and the Danish restaurant's ethos and cooking methods have rippled across the globe, with chefs all over the world trying to replicate its simple, delicate plates of food. When you're eating out you may well sample some of these influences. Cured fish, flowers, pickles, foraged ingredients, charring, hay-cooking, charcoal oils and more can be traced back to the notoriously hard-to-book eatery.
Insta-friendly, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free snacks, bakes and puds have been cropping up on social media for a couple of years now. And this is a trend that's not going anywhere as more people seek the holy grail of healthy eating – naughty treats made with good-for-you ingredients.
We're talking coconut milk fudge, chia seed and date brownies, avocado everything. Oh She Glows is a brilliant blog to check out if you're on board with this trend.