Food Trends & Inspirations

Earlier this year, celebrated food and wine matching expert, Fiona Beckett visited the South African Winelands and while her focus was on Wine Tourism, wine and food is such an integral part of the tourist experience, that the visit turned into a wonderful week tasting the best food and wine the Cape Winelands have to offer.

Food and Wine Matching expert, Fiona Beckett Picture source

As we did last year, we thought it would be interesting to look back at the food trends of 2013 and forecast what we can expect in 2014 – and who better to help us with a global perspective than the well-travelled Fiona.

Here are some of her observations to which we have added the thoughts of other authors as well as our own.

Middle-eastern food

The popularity of Middle-eastern food increased in 2013, triggered by the Ottolenghi programmes and books where Yotam Ottolenghi travels the southern and eastern Mediterranean to introduce the cuisine of these far flung places into the UK’s kitchens.

Ottolenghi programmes and books Picture source

Marks & Spencer supermarket in the UK even launched a whole range of Eastern Mediterranean wines on the back of it!

Craft beer and craft beer bars

This trend is huge both in the UK and US and addresses a new younger audience who drink both wine and beer – the one doesn’t exclude the other.

We have seen the same trend in South Africa, a traditional lager country, where micro-breweries are popping up and some good quality beers are being produced.

South African Craft Beer Picture source

Flavoured beers also seem to be the craze, especially in America. Expect anything from – from crème brulee to banana nut bread!

American-style barbecue

Braai or Barbeque Picture source

What we braai and how we do it, might change, but there are not indications that braai will go out of fashion in South Africa anytime soon. We are however not alone in enjoying the flavours of meat grilling on an open fire. Barbeque restaurants has been big in London for about a year now with American-inspired barbequed dishes like pulled pork, smoked brisket and ribs at restaurants like Pitt Cue Co and Smokehouse N1.

This barbeque trend ties in with two other trends:

All things pig – from snout to tail. “I came across a whole restaurant devoted to pork in Sebastopol called Zazu kitchen and farm”, says Fiona. South African viewers of Masterchef South Africa might also recall Pierneef à La Motte’s Chef Chris Erasmus demonstrating a pig’s head terrine that caused much reaction. According to Chef Chris, the “nose to tail” was 2013’s big trend in South Africa. And smoking – of food of course, not cigarettes! Smoking your own food is also part of a DIY food trend – people are making their own, cheese, yoghurt and above all pickling and preserving. This certainly ties in with the Cape Dutch traditions Fiona experienced on her visit to the Cape Winelands. This is also a definite trend in the Pierneef à La Motte kitchen – preserving summer’s bounty for winter.

Local ingredients

Sourcing local ingredients has almost become something that goes without saying these days. Any self-respecting restaurant sources food locally. And despite all the emphasis on meat there are signs that chefs are beginning to take vegetables more seriously with a focus on sourcing organic and biodynamic ingredients.

Chef Chris Erasmus believes that “nose-to-tail” should extend to vegetables and that we should also follow the “root-to-tip” approach. For 2014 he foresees the use of healthier, vegetarian dishes, with ingredients sourced fresh from the garden, such as this potato dish.

Warm vegetable salad with organic baby potatoes,preserved lemon and wood roasted black olives, grilled pears, chick peas and curry butter

And on the ‘natural’ subject – it also goes for wine. According to Fiona, “natural wines” is the main wine trend along with obscure and indigenous varieties. More and more winemakers emphasise that they do not use artificial herbicides or other chemical treatments in the vineyard and the minimum of additions in the winemaking process.

Agreeing with the continued trend for all things ‘natural’ are Larry Olmsted who writes an article on food trends in the US for

“The biggest underlying theme of this year’s show was craft, artisanship and tradition versus processed foods, though there were still plenty of those. Hard to find regional ingredients are not only becoming much more commonplace, they are increasingly available in much higher quality.”

So is Greg Kaminski, executive research chef at Synergy Flavors, who says the following on food trends: “two key trends I think will continue to grow in 2014 are the ‘farm to table’ concept and gluten free.” He continued, “with the farm to table trend people are looking for fresh herbs and spices, basil, cilantro, lemongrass, things that are fresh-tasting.”

Pop-ups and food trucks

Pop-ups have proved to have had more staying power than supper clubs – people obviously like the novelty and, like food trucks, they’re a good testing ground for new restaurant ideas. Pubs in the UK are getting food truck operators to take up a residency rather than run their own restaurant.

Limoncello Food Truck in Cape Town Picture source

South Africa – Cape Town specifically – also has a small community of food trucks that focus from tea to gourmet take-aways

Food matching

“Well, I would say this, wouldn’t I” Fiona well known for her website jokes. “Given the anti-alcohol agenda prevalent internationally, a lot of producers and generic bodies are seeking to link their wines with food, creating an experience around wine.” And it is not only for wine, Fiona has even been asked to come up with matches for vodka and cognac recently.

Food and Wine Matching Picture source

Food and wine matching definitely is a big thing in the SA Winelands with pairing opportunities and events hosted by many estates. Drinks International wine tourism award winner for Best food and wine matching experience for 2013, La Motte wine estate in the Franschhoek Valley offers an intricate experience incorporating food and wine in all kinds of ways.

And on the sweet side?

While the beauty and delicate detail of pastries is definitely not a thing of the past, and will stay popular and fashionable, Pierneef à La Motte Culinary Consultant, Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche feels that naked cakes are the current trend when it comes to sweets. Cakes without too much icing or decoration, clearly homemade with a somewhat skew or unsymmetrical shape.

Naked Cake Picture source

And that is what we have to put on the table. What did you find the biggest trend for 2013 and what do you see will be the culinary inspirations for 2014?

Use #FoodTrends and join the conversation.

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