by Susan Able, Edible DC What will you see next at the grocers? Among the 22,000 attendees at the largest specialty food trade show held June 28-30 at the Javits Center in New York were trend spotters. And they had their work cut out for them. There were 2,600 purveyors of drinks, sauces, cheeses, condiments, chocolates and more and over 50 countries representing a global spectrum of food.
An overarching trend was present throughout the show: The push of savory into sweets, and sweets into savories and the interest in sharp, unusual flavor pairings. Think pepper ice cream or sugared bacon spread or chocolate with pine tree oil.
From the press office, the panel of professional trendspotters who follow food trends for a living paired their picks down to the five top trends:
1. Gazpacho to Go--an number of companies offered individual bottled portions of an amazing variety of gazpachos--green, red and even beet. Companies like Bodega & Co. and Tio Gazapacho were examples of this product trend.
2. And Beets. Beets showed up everywhere, in nutrition bars, kombucha, hummus, prepared salads, and yes, gazpacho.
3. Major Flower Power. Edible and herbal flowers were definitely a theme in chocolates, nut mixes, jams and preserves, ice cream, popcorn, cheese and even marshmallows. Think roses, hibiscus, lavender.
4. Cocktail Themed Products. Bitters and more bitter flavored foods, bourbon barrel aged maple syrup, hopped pickles, beer vinegars, Manhattan flavored gelato, jam made with stout beer.
5. Corny Corn Corn. Many many flavored popcorns and varieties thereof--mini kernels, half-popped kernels, tandoori yogurt popcorn, sweetcorn chip snacks in various shapes. My personal corn favorite was an new machine from Korea that produced corn tubes for the purpose of holding soft serve. I tried it. Jury? Still out.
I liked Floede Bolle, a Danish, well I guess we'll call it a candy cookie? It is a fluffy egg white thing covered in a thin shell of chocolate. It was great, like a very sophisticated version of a marshmallow. The founders are hoping to bring it to the U.S. in the next six months, and are looking to set up their production in Frederick, MD.
Switchel was new to me, although I've tried and been a fan of Bragg's apple cider drinks and shrubs. Switchel dates back to Colonial times like shrubs, was always intended with water as a refreshing drink. It was also known in old times as Haymaker's Punch. CideRoad is based in New Jersey, but sells their products at Whole Foods in our area.
And on the vinegar trail, Som sipping vinegar was tasting several flavors of their sipping vinegar, developed from a chef's inspiration from Thailand. My favorite was the Thai Basil.
Still in recovery from all the sampling, and thinking I should have tried more of the cleanses.