2009 Food Trends

Popular online food site Epicurious.com has released its annual list of what they think will be the hottest food trends in 2009.  Epicurious.com editors think you'll make more dining decisions based on value, see noodle shops open alongside sushi restaurants, and notice a surge in smoked flavors as opposed to fried. Check out their predictions, maybe we’ll see some of them come true in Vermont.

•    Peruvian is the new Thai: You thought Peruvian cuisine was all about seviche, maybe? Guess again: Peru boasts culinary influences from Spanish, Basque, African, Cantonese, Japanese, Italian, French, and British immigrants. Pisco Sour, anyone?

•    Noodle Bars are the new Sushi Joints: With some seafood being suspect or over-fished and raw fish prices high, noodles make complete sense. If there's no ramen, udon, or soba shop in your neck of the woods, there probably will be soon.

•    "Value" is the new "Sustainable": These days, the economy dictates our cooking and shopping decisions. Bargains are in, no matter where they come from. (Check out the Bulk section at the Co-op for great savings.)

•    Ginger is the new Mint: Move over, mojitos. Ginger beers and ginger cocktails (like the Ginger Rogers, Gin-Mule, and Ginger Smash) are bubbling up at places like the Violet Hour in Chicago, the Clock Bar in San Francisco, and Matsugen in New York.

•    Smoking is the new Frying: You know how they say everything tastes better fried? Well, almost everything tastes better smoked, too, and that includes cocktails. Bartenders are smoking their bourbons, and chefs, recognizing the national craze for BBQ flavor, are smoking more than just salmon and ribs: nuts, salts, and even smoked steelhead roe. Who says smoking's bad for you?

•    Regional Roasters are the new Starbucks: It's come full circle. What started as a local coffee phenomenon migrated to other cities and turned Americans into java junkies. Then the chain over-expanded, and the little neighborhood coffee roasters thrive again. (Great news for Vermont coffee roasters!)

•    Portland (Maine) is the new Portland (Oregon): Abundance of great chefs, restaurants, and local foodies? Check, check, and check. Want examples? Visit Five Fifty-Five, Hugo's, and Fore Street to start.

•    Rustic Food is the new Molecular Gastronomy: Wacky weird-science cuisine that requires fancy-schmancy equipment doesn't necessarily make food taste better, and more often than not it adds needless complexity (there are exceptions). Most importantly, no one really wants to do this at home. Expect to see comfort food stage a comeback again.

•    "Top-Rated" is the new "Critic's Pick": Power to the people; single critics are a dying breed. Why believe what one person says when you can read and reflect on what hundreds think?