Classic cuisines have held their character through heritage recipes passed from one generation to the next. Yet populations shift and merge, and this often has a synergistic effect on our culinary traditions. With this in mind, we wanted to take a look at what foods we might see more of in 2016. Here is what we think are some of the major 2016 food trends.
Beyond Nutrition – Food as medicine
If only because it is New Year and New Beginnings, let’s start by talking about food and health.
Personalising your diet – age, sex, health, DNA.
We have seen the rise and rise of healthy food bloggers, many of them growing from their own personal health challenges. We wonder if some of this has become a little bit of hero worship – if I eat like her will my skin glow as brightly?
More recently there has been a bit of a backlash against the broad spectrum exclusions in so called clean eating diets – gluten, dairy, grain free.
However, this is a trend that continues to hold fascination. When a glowing, smiling Jamie Oliver releases a book on Everyday Superfoods, you know this is something that has gone mainstream.
There is a lot of hyperventilation about the potential for food to influence your gut health and overall wellness. We talked last year about how the composition of the bugs in our gut are influenced by all we experience. Conversely, this ‘microbiome’ in your gut also has a profound impact on your metabolism, immunity and health.
There is lots of evidence that metabolites from the gut bacteria have actions affecting immune cells, lungs, heart and brain.
So food that modulates these little bugs, nurtures them and shapes their composition and diversity could in theory alter your body shape, affect allergies and even improve your mood.
Let’s see if 2016 demonstrates a CLINICALLY meaningful cause and effect rather than a lot of reported associations. Though I say this as a convert – on a personal level as well as my clinical research work which has a focus on gut and host relationships in health and disease.
Things to look out for
Beyond Kimchi, fermentation continues to be popular. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and kombucha Many ways to think of helping the composition and diversity of the healthy bacteria in your gut. Take a look at this fermented dill cucumber recipe to see how easy it can be to make your own fermented vegetables.
and this Kefir, goji berry and cacao smoothie combines nutrients with probiotics for a truly super laden superfood smoothie.
Nutraceuticals in food.
Yoghurts with omega essential fatty acids – alpro for example has soya yoghurt with omega 3 oils.
You can find omega3 rich eggs too – from hens fed with a diet rich in flax seeds. Though personally we prefer to source more hen-friendly free range eggs, and get our omega 3 intake through seeds and nuts.
Anti ageing chocolate– formulated to be rich in biologically active antioxidants, the makers promise results in weeks from eating this treat. How it tastes we have no idea.
Free from being more accessible and more gourmet.
Since one in five people report symptoms of food intolerance or allergy, food labelling is getting savvy. It is getting easier to source decent options, and apps like Food Maestro make food shopping and eating out a much easier experience for those with dietary exclusions.
Plant based diets and restaurants.
Vegan and vegetarian food is increasingly popular, partly due to healthy food intentions, but also perhaps because people want to eat food that is less processed, eco-friendly and frugal. Moreover, better quality vegan protein sources make it easier to achieve a well balanced diet with plant based foods.
Korean goes mainstream
We talked about this as a trend for 2015, but now that the Daily Mail has picked up on it, you’ll no doubt be seeing it picked up beyond the urban intelligentsia. Check out our bibimbap and beef bulgogi recipe here.
An archipelago of over 7000 islands, the Philippines is a tropical Asian paradise whose cuisine is less well known than some of it’s South East Asian neighbours. A fusion of cultures influences the flavours you will find in Filipino food, including Malay, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.
In the UK, the scene is still pretty small. Lutong Pinoy and Josephine’s are amongst a handful of Filipino restaurants in London, as well as some supper clubs and pop up’s such as Pepe’s kitchen and the Adobros.
There is plenty of online inspiration if you want to try out Filipino cuisine at hope. A classic recipe is Adobo – braised stew of Pork or Chicken, like the one below – picture reproduced with permission from Manila Spoon, where you will find a great collection of classic Filipino recipes.
Some reports suggest Middle Eastern and African cuisines are going to be resurgent next year. We think Ottolenghi has championed this for some time, but it would be great to see something of Sub Saharan African cuisine. South African street food bunny chow has been selling well in London for some years. Perhaps this area of the world is fertile for more regional recipe inspiration.
New and unusual Ice cream flavours
Infused Ice Creams – Subtle, delicate. Clever infusion of grain/cereal flavours by cooking the cream in Popcorn, Cereal Milk, Jasmine Rice, Green Tea for example then using it to prepare ice creams. David Chang started this at Milk Bar and Thomas Keller at the French Laundry.
Not an ice cream but we used a similar method to infuse the flavour of Jasmine rice into cream for this Pannacotta.
Savoury elements might get a look in next year – Ras el Hanout (at Moroccan restaurant Momo), Smoked Ice Cream.
Seaweed- the new kale?
Avocado was a big hit last year, and whilst we have all been slurping kale laden green smoothies, it seems that seaweed is likely to hit supermarket shelves in a big way in 2016. We rather like furikake – a Japanese seasoning of kelp flakes with sesame seeds. Adds an umami flavour and lots of nutrients to a meal. We use as a soup topper as in this rather virtuous miso and tofu soup.
Turmeric – anti-inflammatory wonder root
Turmeric is a core component in Indian cooking. It is rich in curcurmin – a potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory molecule. We have talked about it’s benefits in the past. Like ginger and garlic, this tasty root is a great addition to your kitchen. Whether you use it fresh or in powder form, a little turmeric, with some oil and pepper (which aid absorption of the bioactive compounds) is a great way to boost your immunity in the Winter months. You will see more of turmeric spiked seed and nut milks in the coming year.
Adding ash from deliberately burnt bits of food is not new – you may have come across it in restaurants. It is an easy way to add depth of flavour and a hint of bitterness. We were inspired by a dish we had at Cambridge restaurant Midsummer House, to make this roasted celeriac with a brown butter and celeriac ash dressing.
Have we missed something? what do you think will be a food trend in 2016? And does it really matter?