Here are some of my picks for upcoming trends or an extension of current foodie trends. These ideas are not in any order of nominal importance.
#1. Specialty Beers
I think that consumers will begin to pair beer with meals, appetizers and cheeses when entertaining. This will lead to having beer tasting parties, and will allow the men to be more active in cocktail parties. There are programs that allow you to choose from imported and domestic beers to be mix and matched for a flat fee of a six pack. They have the six pack holders in a holder by the beer cooler isles and you just choose. We have that program in Little rock at my local Fresh Market; I just love it!
One of my favorite lunch parings is a cold Peroni beer, with a chicken salad sandwich on french bread. This is such a great pairing when you add a little cayenne pepper to your chicken salad.
Cheese and wine was all the rage when I was a young woman in the 80's; and yes, I'm telling my age! There were parties that all there was was the basic wine and cheese pairings. Now cheese has taken its rightful place in society and is used to pair with wine, used in cooking, and as healthy snacks for kids and adults.
I was never a lover of goat cheese until I sampled Cypress Grove Chevre goat cheeses.
Garrotxa Goat CheeseI truly love the Humboldt Fog, Truffle Tremor and Purple Haze goat cheese. My son Evan, who suffers from Autism loves the firmer Midnight Moon. Evan has become a gourmet cheese lover; I allow him to sample the cheeses to get a kids point of view.
I love to break chard's of Garrotxa, which is a Spanish goats milk cheese and pair it with sparkling wine or champagne. The flavor is mild and slightly nutty.
There are so many cheeses to try, and if you go to a gourmet shop, most are willing to let you sample cheeses and give you wine pairing information.
#3. Appetizers or Small Bites
I think that the idea of variety makes us feel "privileged" when we are eating. This is so appealing in our time when we feel the financial pinch of the economy everyday. So, having a few things that are tasty on a plate is more appealing than one big thing, whether it be chunks of cheese, mini cupcakes, mini crab cakes, crostini, or bruschetta; more is better. Appetizers pair well with wine, and some can be made ahead, store bought and quickly assembled. Mini cheesecakes pair well with Riesling wines, and sparkling wine is always a crowd pleaser.
#4. Sparkling Wine
In the world of wine. I see wine drinkers drinking more sparkling wine. This is a conclusion that I have come to because of a few factors:
We are tired of feeling deprived! Having a rough economy has dampened our spirits and sparkling wine can make us "feel good" ; if we feel good we have a better view of life, and faith that the best is yet to come. You can purchase great sparkling wines for $11.95 on upwards to around $40.00. But many can be found under $25.00. Here are a few of my picks.
Bread baking is an art to many young and old cooks. My daughter is in her twenties and she loves baking bread, and giving it as gifts. I bought her some baking tools for Christmas to assist her in her bread baking.
#6. Gourmet Ingredients
True foodies will "save up" to purchase quality ingredients to utilize in their cooking. Salts, spices, extracts, olive oils, assorted oils( like grape seed), and herbs are mainstays in their kitchen. Window sill and patio herb gardens as well as roof top gardens will continue to be popular. You can have the herbs year round and you can keep them organic. Also, the herbs in the grocery store are expensive, not so fresh and if don't use the whole package, you waste money.
#7. Becoming an Oenophile
Wine is here to stay and becoming more popular than ever. It is an hobby that grows and becomes a part of your identity. Seeking out QPR wines will be a continuing trend due to the economy, and one can purchase more bottles to add to their wine cellars or wine fridges which are becoming more popular as becoming an oenophile is a trend that will last for years. Blind tastings will be something done with brown paper bags to have a great time and learn about different red and white grape varietals. All reds are not Merlot and all whites are not Chardonnay; the blind tastings will educate your guests to those facts. Pairing wine and food will become a natural part of "everyday dining" in a wine lovers home; not just saved for special occasions or company.
We will be eating more vegetables prepared in different and tasty ways. Herbs, olive oils, citrus and cheese will be used in the preparation of familiar and unfamiliar vegetables. Mushrooms of all kinds will be incorporated into dishes to add complexity to the final product.
#9. Screw Caps
Even though we may not like how they look, or how they take that romance out of opening a bottle of wine; screw caps will continue to be a trend in the world of wine. The keep wine from spoiling as fast and help deter the idea of "corked" wine. I must admit that I find merit in screw caps. I know on an expensive bottle of wine we don't want to see them, but I think we will.
#10. More Men Will Begin to Cook
More men will cook due to being unemployed, to assist in the home. They will begin to enjoy cooking due to mastering different dishes. Sometimes positive things come from not so positive origins.
Also, this may be a trend we may have to look more to movies, television and spirits marketing , but I think Cognac will be the after dinner drink after formal or "casual elegance" style dinners in many households who love to entertain utilizing their fine crystal, china and flatware.
These are just a few of my predictions for the New Year...