Earlier this year, the American National Restaurant Association released its culinary forecast for 2014. The purpose of the report, which is based on a survey of over 1,300 American chefs, is to predict the food trends that will dominate restaurant menus in the upcoming year. While a few of this year’s findings are intriguing—Peruvian, for instance, is predicted to overtake Korean as the ethnic cuisine of choice—the takeaways are hardly Earth-shattering.
Local food is still big; chefs are determined to keep plying non-celiac sufferers with gluten-free foodstuffs; and buzz terms like “sustainable,” “estate-branded” and “nose-to-tail” aren’t going anywhere. Charcuterie, quinoa, pickled veggies, hybrid desserts and barrel-aged cocktails are the food items of the future—a bit of a snooze, really, since they’re also the foods of the present. Here, in no particular order, are five freaky food trends that could really change the way we eat in 2014.
Animal blood makes a great substitute for eggs, according to a report from Nordic Food Lab, a Denmark-based not-for-profit devoted to “investigat[ing] deliciousness and its systems.” The experimental lab subbed blood for eggs in a variety of desserts—including blood ice cream, blood meringues and startlingly scarlet blood pancakes—and got a panel of adventurous eaters to comment on the results. The only hitch? The difficult-to-mask “bloody aftertaste,” which reportedly caused “intense and unexpected responses” from some testers.
We’ve already become inured to the notion of dropping $15 on a single cocktail, not to mention $10 on a wedge of iceberg lettuce, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if fancy bread became the next big thing in Toronto. According to an article which made the web-rounds earlier this month, the trend is already huge in San Francisco, where diners are willing to pay up to $4 for a slice of luxury toast.
New Zealand dairy farmers have finally figured out a way to get slammed and maintain healthy levels of calcium and vitamin D.
Milk Money Vodka is twice distilled from milk and twice filtered for an end product described as a “full-bodied light cream taste.” At 40 percent alcohol by volume or ABV, the liquor is said to end with a “sweet clean finish” and is gluten-free. Interestingly, the product’s target market is females within the agricultural community ages 21 to 45, says Leche Spirits
According to NPR, the latest cocktail craze to hit the U.S. involves infusing drinks with pure, nicotine-rich tobacco. The resulting concoctions reportedly have a subtly smokey bouquet. They also burn on the way down and, according to at least one study, may be fatal in high doses. Cheers.
First there was chocolate-covered bacon. Now there is ChocoChicken, a soon-to-launch L.A.-based fast food chain from restaurateur Adam Fleischman, the owner of New York’s Umami Burger. As the name implies, the restaurant will specialize in chocolate-flavoured fried chicken. Gimmicky? Absolutely. But then, people probably thought Dorito-encased tacos were dumb, too, and look how they turned out.