2011 is just around the corner and I’m always blown away by the culinary strides that have been made over the past year. Extreme cooking and celebrity chefs have dominated the media, while Organic ingredients and a healthier régime have become the preferred way of life.
And now that culinary culture has secured a place in our minds and our hearts, I’m on the edge of my seat, eager to see what will unfold in the New Year. Flavor is King, with Queen Quality right at his side. Here are Foodie Gossip’s top 10 food trend predictions for 2011:
1. The Grilled Cheese Sandwich: Grilled cheese has gone gourmet! We’re expecting to see variations of this classic sandwich make more appearances in upscale restaurants, on food carts and in food trucks across the nation. Why? Because the ingredients are cost-friendly, it’s an easy dish to whip up and the grilled cheese sandwich is so mouthwateringly delicious!
2. Sausage: The wurst is just getting better. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes at this one, but we’ll see sausage take on new forms in 2011. Picture leaner, higher-quality meat. Then imagine some fancy additives like cheese, pineapple, or rum. Yes, I said rum. But the one that I’m predicting to make its way into mainstream cooking is the seafood sausage. It’s already moving up the charts.
3. Grits: Are grits the “new grain”? Southern comfort moves beyond breakfast and is making its way up North. Grits have been a Southern delicacy for ages, but add a little spice and grits become more conventional, a food we’ll all soon embrace.
4. Pies are the new Cupcake: With so many potential variations and comfort food playing a pivotal role in today’s food trends, it’s no surprise that the pie is being welcomed back into the fold. We’re already seeing an increase of bite-sized pies on food stands in farmer’s markets and in grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. We’ll see this pie-sized trend scale to larger proportions in the New Year.
5. Culinary Cannabis: With the first cannabis cookbook released on the mainstream market and 15 states having legalized the use of medical marijuana, we can only expect the culinary community to further embrace this herbal concept. Just Google “Cannabutter” or “Hemp Ice Cream” and you’ll see what I mean.
6. Sweet Potatoes: The French fry is getting side-lined for the sweet potato fry. Sweet-savory is more popular than ever and the health benefits from a regular potato pales in comparison to its sweeter cousin.
7. Bacon Fat: While I can’t imagine bacon fat replacing butter, this flavorful fat will take center stage in many gourmet dishes.
8. Macarons: Commonly mistaken for the macaroon, the Parisian macaron is a delicious and colorful Parisian pastry, composed of two ground-almond/almond paste meringue cookies bound together with buttercream, ganache or fruit filling. Many predict the macaron will replace the cupcake, which I think is a stretch, but the macaron will definitely be taking home the prize for 2011’s “Cookie of the Year”.
9. Discomfort Foods will become a bit more comforting: Chocolate bacon, fried cricket, Chocolate pasta, and blood sausage are just a few of the strange and unusual foods that will make more frequent appearances in culinary culture. They may sound crazy, but so did snails (escargot), raw beef (Carpaccio), and medium-rare pork when they were first introduced.
10. Gourmet Street Food and Food Trucks: The food truck craze is still going strong in cities like Seattle and Los Angeles. And why shouldn’t we see the economically-friendly food on wheels expand its reach across the good ol’ US-of-A? Food trucks and street food stands are a perfect stepping stone for the young and ambitious restaurateur. Unlike opening a new restaurant, the portable food venue is cost-effective and allows for greater ease in testing culinary creativity on patrons.
More Food & Cocktail Trends and Predictions:
Top 10 Liquor, Beer & Wine Trend Predictions for 2011Top 10 Cocktail, Beer and Wine Trends of 2010: A Year in Review
2010 Top 10 Food and Beverage Trends