Well, there’s a lot of crystal-ball speculation out there and very little substantive data to indicate what will be hot in 2012. The people who have the best idea of what we’ll be buying and scoffing in six months time, such as the food trends experts for leading supermarkets, are keeping quiet to steal a “launch” lead on the competition. In their world a few weeks’ headstart can make all the difference.
The truth is, only a few trends really gain traction. It’s tough to say what will be the next “miracle” food “mash-up” to follow salted caramel and chocolate or the next baking trend to properly trump cupcakes (whoopee pie and macaroons, even if Laduree has now opened on Madison Avenue in Manhattan, just haven’t had the same viral impact); that said, there are no shortage of contenders.
Here are a few of the trends being talked about by industry insiders, food writers and on blogs. The Peruvian food stall at St Katharine Dock food market on Fridays always seem to do well with its mix of quinoa and chestnut corn, prawns, beans and chickpeas and braised beef. And a restaurant called Lima specialising in Peruvian ceviches (above) is due to open in London in spring 2012 but there are doubts as to whether the cuisine has enough of a back catalogue to sustain a whole menu or even has the sort of signature dishes that might really capture the public’s imagination. Perhaps Peruvian will be a micro trend at best.
There is talk of meatballs rolling on and even transforming into meatloaf, a classic catch-all, hard times dish but one rarely seen on menus in the UK. Maybe it will be available at boutique butchers such as the new Ginger Pig shop in West London, which could have been lifted from an upmarket food hall like Fortnum & Mason’s.
Crumbs blogger Lucy McDonald wrote a piece for the Times recently about tracking trends in Tokyo with the M&S tastemaking team and forecast that we could soon be eating Japanese pastries and confectionery in the UK. “One flavour they all loved was the citrus fruit, yuzu,” says McDonald. The handmade truffles came in lots of enticing flavours, too, including cherry, sesame, green tea and wasabi.
I’ll stick my neck out and venture that smoked black garlic will continue to gather fans for its remarkable texture and sweet depth of flavour. As will cheese made with unpasteurised milk, which is now available in Selfridges – drink it at your own peril. Made-over gourmet pub snacks such as Awfully Posh Anglesey Sea Salt pork scratchings and artisan versions of Peperami such as Serious Pig‘s premium air-dried snacking salami will perform well. In fact, after year’s trailing the Continent, experimentation with home-grown charcuterie is on the rise.
There’s still plenty of mileage in the street food revolution. Check out London’s latest hotspots at the Long Table night market in Abbott Street, Dalston, Eat St at King’s Cross and Maltby Street in Borough, where along with all the ethnic varieties punters can expect pimped versions of traditional British favourites such as Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and more gourmet pasties.
Finally, inspired by a diet of gorgeously shot food programmes and guilt over unopened cookery books and unused sets of knives people are keener than ever before to get hands on and learn a trick or two in the kitchen according to the latest food trends report from Food and Drink Towers. Le Cordon Bleu has just opened a new flagship school of culinary arts in Bloomsbury Square, London, while nationwide cookery courses, from home smoking to Lebanese cuisine, can be found at Looking to Cook‘s website.
Tell us about your predictions for 2012 in the comment box below.