In the food business, everyone’s looking for the “next” this, or the “new” that. Here are the foods and flavors we see making noise in the new year.
1. Small Pies. Pie, of course, has been around forever, but 2011 could be the Year of the Pie. Some are already calling it the “next cupcake.” We say, yes, pies will be hot in the coming year, but look for smaller pies to make it big—in both sweet and savory varieties.
2. Sausage. Look for a leaner, better quality sausage, sourced locally at farmers markets, to take on the role as the “new bacon.” Home butchery and the charcuterie trend that has led to renewed interest in cured meats are additional factors here as well.
3. Nutmeg. Researchers have discovered that nutmeg’s reputation as an aphrodisiac—especially for women—has some merit. Need we say more?
4. Moonshine. Moonshine has gone legit. Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery opened this summer, and the clear corn whiskey hootch can now be found in many liquor stores and even purchased online. It still packs a wallop.
5. Gourmet Ice Pops. Ice pops in exotic flavors like bacon, mango chile, and peanut butter are the latest to get the artisanal treatment. They’re known as paletas in Mexico. Watch for them to go mainstream north of the border in 2011.
6. Grits. Could this old southern favorite become the “new grain”? We see it moving beyond the breakfast menu and above the Mason-Dixon Line.
7. Sweet Potatoes. These super-nutritious tubers will be orange-hot in 2011. They’ll be especially molten as the alternative, better-for-you french fry.
8. Fin fish. We are still discovering so much about the benefits of fish. After all, it wasn't that long ago that we found out about Omega 3's, and we know that obtaining these nutrients directly from food is the best way to get them into our system. We're banking on more acceptance of farmed fish as it becomes more important to have a good supply of this lean protein.
9. Cupuaçu fruit. This is quite possibly the next superfruit, following in the footsteps of the acai fruit. Both are from the Brazilian rainforest. Cupuaçu has a number of antioxidants and minerals, and is considered a natural source of energy. We tasted it in a Brazilian candy that had us craving more. Speaking of candy, you might also watch for Brigadeiro. This sweet Brazilian candy is made by mixing sweetened condensed milk, butter and cocoa powder. It's usually rolled into a ball and coated in granulated sugar, but it can also take on other flavors. It's the national truffle of Brazil. Look for it to come to our shores in 2011.
10. Beans. The lowly legume will step up to the spotlight in 2011, as a great source of protein and a versatile ingredient in appetizers like white bean & rosemary bruschetta. And, yes, it’s still awesome in chili.