A brand-new year is here, so it’s time to adjust your radar to some new food trends for 2019.
Brother Luck, owner of Four by Brother Luck in Colorado Springs, already has his eye on one of them: Afro-Caribbean cuisine.
“(It’s) the rage across the states,” he said. “It’s not just about down-home comfort food. Chefs are taking the influences of the South and combining them with flavors of the islands.”
His nod to the cuisine is an Ethiopian-style spice mixture called berbere, which he rubs on trout. He calls the flavors “elevated.” The dish is served with his father’s recipe Creole-style dirty rice.
He pointed to other national trends already in the works locally:
• Food halls continue to boom, the warehouse-like structures where chefs rent space to try restaurant concepts for less investment. (Locally: Todd Baldwin, owner of Red Leg Brewing Co., plans a food hall project for 2019.)
• Poke, a raw seafood bowl, is all the rage. (Locally: Joe Campana, owner of five local eateries, will open a Hawaiian poke house in early 2019.)
• Local butcher shops continue to pop up. (Locally: Jason Neuart, owner of The Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, will open Beasts and Brews in early 2019, a butcher shop with a restaurant.)
• Chef Signature Concept restaurants will continue opening. These are eateries known for their famous chef owners and award-winning cuisine.
• Breads served at restaurants are being baked in-house. (Till Kitchen is one example locally.)
But that’s not all for 2019. Trends matter to Food and Drink Resources, a Denver agency that offers consultation and recipe development for restaurants and food and beverage manufacturers.
“Recognizing trends is critical to the work we do here,” said Ric Scicchitoano, a managing partner.
“If we’re going to develop menus that consumers will want to enjoy 12 to 18 months from now, it’s essential we know what’s coming to the mainstream plate.”
He walked us through the Top 10 trends the agency is tracking:
• Loaded cocktails: They’re served with over-the-top garnishes, such as fruit-filled glasses or unique flavor combos on sticks.
• Israeli-inspired fare: Mintel, a market research firm, reports that 66 percent of American consumers are interested in Middle Eastern foods — especially dates, pistachios and mint. This fits with the continued trend toward veg-centric dishes and healthier eating. Heart of Jerusalem Cafe and Taste of Jerusalem Café are local examples.
• Wild greens on the plate: They’re seeing less kale and more dandelion, mustard and chicory greens.
• Fermented everything: Their favorites are fermented turnip greens and mushrooms.
• Life-affirming butter: It’s another way to say “fermented.” Yes, even butter can be fermented, or “cultured.” Because it is cultured, the lactobacillus (good bacteria) create a complex creamy and acidic flavor that is unlike other butter. Get it online — it’s likely you won’t look back.
• Veggie fine dining. Vegetarian main dishes have moved front and center at nicer restaurants all over the country.
• Nootropics: These are ingredients linked to improving memory. These “functional” ingredients support the health of your body or mind. Be prepared to hear more about how eggs, extra virgin olive oil, blueberries and other foods could improve your brain function.
• Georgian (as in the country) cuisine and wine: Georgian orange wines have been all the rage, so the cuisine naturally follows. For the past two years, Food and Drink Resources has had this trend on its list, and in 2018 a Georgian-style pizza called khachapuri made the cut.
• More authentic and creative Latin cuisine: Move over burritos or tacos — they’re talking about Peruvian, Guatemalan and Mexican dishes that grandmas from these cultures still like to make.
• Not-your-ordinary ice-cream: The agency’s folks are enjoying rolled ice cream. The ice-cream maker pours a liquid ice cream base onto a frozen griddle. The mixture’s spread thin so it can freeze before it’s scraped up in rolls, stuffed into a cup and topped with a selection of sprinkles and fresh fruit. You can find it locally at i-Cool Thai Ice Cream.
You can keep up with emerging trends at the agency’s blog, foodanddrinkresources.com.