The Next Big Thing(s): Food & Wine Magazine Taps the Year’s Must-Try Trends

foodandwine_jan2011.jpgThe most entrepreneurial, most cutting edge or just plain curious among us are always on the lookout for the next big idea. Kudos if we can actually come up with one ourselves. But if you’re a planner, Food & Wine magazine‘s January 2011 issue has the roadmap you need to navigate the year’s big ideas for cuisine, spirits and all things related.

Titled “2011: Taste of the Trends,” the feature previews several must-try trends per month with recipes included, of course, if you’re so inclined to do it yourself. Here’s some of the ones that stood out.

Fusion Infusion: Chefs will continue to “fuse” combinations of very different foods to create new and exciting dishes. The Duck Confit Tacos (recipe included) is but one example from chef José Andrés.

iPad Wine Lists: Just the sheer amount of information and depth this technology offers is certain to make them a hit. It won’t put sommeliers out of business, but it may boost many a customer’s wine-food pairing IQ.

Vintage Beers: You’ve heard that fine wine gets better with age. Beer too, supposedly, especially dark ones with higher alcohol content. One beer sommelier says aging brings to life subtle flavors not previously detected like raisins and toffee.

Big Breakfasts: Well, sandwiches at least. But expect an upgrade from fast-food fare when it comes to taste. Based on looks alone, feedback received through the magazine’s cover contest panned this trend as unhealthy.

Local, Local, Local: Whether it’s responsibly raised chickens, homemade honey, rooftop gardens or artisanal cheeses, chefs and others are taking locally grown products (and thus, food freshness) to a new level.

Pop Goes the Flavor: The kiddie favorite Popsicle is just the latest nostalgic treat to get a gourmet makeover. Shops from L.A. to Manhattan are experimenting with grown-up flavors like salted cucumber and lime, and Campari and grapefruit.

I Scream, You Scream: Call it a victory for the lactose intolerant: the invention of a dairy-free ice cream. Want to try it yourself? The recipe for Roman’s Dairy-Free Chocolate-Coconut Ice Cream is included.

Cocktails in Low Places: Imagine getting inspiration for a cocktail from the shelves of your local convenience store. One Boston bar did, and found the combination of green and yellow chartreuse and Miller High Life makes for an entertaining drink.

Filling Cupcakes: OK, so these are more like a meal and less of a cupcake, unless you count the size. Meat-loaf cupcakes, lasagna cupcakes, chicken-and-waffle cupcakes. Yeah, I can’t bring myself to think of them that way either.

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Michelle Ryan

About Michelle Ryan

Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.

  • Summer Huggins

    I hear cupcakes are out and pie is in as the hot dessert for 2011. I think I’d rather have pie than a lasagna cupcake for sure!

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s more the size of the lasagna, etc., why they’re referring to them as “cupcakes.” Maybe they prepare them in muffin tins? So they’re just smaller, but the thought of those two words together isn’t appetizing! I’ve seen lots of pie and cobbler type recipes lately, so that would make sense that it’s one of the next big things. I just got a new pie plate for Christmas, so I will have to put it to use! :)