Andy Richardson: Forget about macarons, it's the year of the eclair
The food world was filled with epicurean delights in 2013.
We witnessed the rise of high-end veganism, macarons went mainstream, octopus became the new prawn, pop-ups replaced dinner parties, tortas replaced tacos and Korean food became the world's most in-vogue cuisine.
So what does 2014 hold in store? Weekend food writer Andy Richardson gazes into his crystal ball to predict the top 10 food fads for the New Year:
Éclairs – cupcakes are so 2008 and macarons are so last year. But éclairs are totally on-trend. Parisian pastry chef Christophe Adam was the first to give éclairs a make-over by adding such contemporary flavours as popcorn, salted caramel and yuzu. The fat, stodgy, calorific éclair much-beloved by the high street cafés is out – the high-fashion green tea-sesame éclair is in.
3D food – in years to come, we'll no longer be making dinner, we'll be printing it. F1 teams routinely print new parts. Food is the next kid on the block. The new Foodini is a 3D printer that prints ravioli, makes chocolate snowmen and even creates sushi. 3D printing is tipped to do for food what email did for communication.
Seacuterie – charcuterie has become ubiquitous in recent years. Air-dried ham, bresaola, artisan salami and chorizo have replaced the pork pie and sausage roll. Such products are locally available – Maynards Farm, in Shropshire, makes a sensational chorizo, for instance. Seacuterie is next. Octopus cured in molasses, sea bass with cilantro and peppercorns and salmon pastrami are next up.
Bridgnorth is the new Ludlow – former Michelin star holder Will Holland will open his new restaurant, Will's Place, in Bridgnorth this spring. The popular chef, a regular on the nation's TV screens, could have a galvanising effect on the town's food culture. Bridgnorth is ripe for development – and Will could be the man to put it on the foodie map.
Whole fish is the whole hog – forget pork. Fish is the new hog. The whole fish is returning to presentation plates. Restaurants aren't the only ones catching on. A number of fish courses have sprung up in the past 12 months.
Real food is new fast food – if you want fast food, the answer is simple. Cut out the cooking. Bin the burgers. Ditch the dim sum. Fringe foods like vegetable juice, quinoa, seaweed, chickpeas and miso can look forward to a day in the sun as we go fresher, healthier and more cosmopolitan in 2014.
Vegetables are the new meat – no, really. They are. Last year, $26 roasted mushrooms and $30 cauliflower steaks found their way onto the menu of the poshest restaurants. Brace yourself for cucumber sorbet, barbecued vegetables, flourless beet chocolate cakes and new varieties of vegetable chips.
The end of food festivals – food festivals seem to fill every weekend of the West Midlands calendar. In 2013, their popularity peaked. Even Wolverhampton, formerly a desert for foodies, has one. The calendar is full to bursting events – we can't take any more.
Bitter is the new sour – we've swooned for sour flavour in recent years. From sweets to cocktails, from entrées to mains – we've been all about pinching in our cheeks as though we've just swallowed a lemon. It's time for bitter to step up to the plate. Bitter liquers, grassy green juices, charring and tannic teas will find their way onto the menu.
Street food is the new Michelin – And, we might add, bar snacks are the new tapas. Blistering flavours from around the globe are now available on street corners. Birmingham's at the vanguard of this particular foodie revolution.