Top 5 Food Trends for 2011

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope we all had a lovely evening last night celebrating with friends, family, loved ones. As we’re getting into gear for the new year, here are some of the food trends that are already getting us off to an enjoyable start in 2011. My new year’s resolution is to enjoy life as much as possible, and here are 5 ways to get started!

1) Bubbles make a splash!

This is my favourite food trend of all. Whether it’s Prosecco, Champagne or sparkling wine cocktails, bubbles aren’t just for New Year’s Eve anymore!

There is nothing like sparkling wine over lunch, as an accompaniment to fine cheeses, or to start off an elegant supper with friends, family or à deux. Every day is a special occasion, after all! The fact that more and more restos are offering bubbly by the glass is a testament to the growing recognition that sparkling wine is indeed just that – wine – and therefore can, and should, be enjoyed in almost any setting. A great way to add even more “sparkle” to your life in 2011!

2) Veggies go mainstream

Chefs have started placing vegetables centre stage, and deservedly so. Root veggies and greens have great flavour and texture that can be showcased marvelously. Look for more veggie mains on the menu, something more creative than the standard pasta offering, and meat being used as a garnish rather than the main event.

3) Small plates

Why choose only one app and an entrée when you can nibble many different flavours in an evening? Small plates have come a long way from just Tapas. Think Japanese Izakaya at Toronto’s Guu, wine and small plates at Ottawa’s b/Side or the bar menu at St John’s Chinched Bistro. Added bonus: this trend goes excellently with food trend #1 (see above)!

4) Comfort food gets a makeover

There’s a reason some flavours are called “tried, tested and true” – they’ve been around forever, and for good reason. Exotic foods are ever-popular, but sometimes there’s just nothing like the food mama used to make.

We’ve been seeing a resurgence of foods that were traditionally seen as “comfort food” being presented with a fine-dining twist, like the Jigg’s dinner app at Bacalao or the upscale riff on chicken wings tasted recently at Chinched Bistro: Buffalo quail and pickled carrots with a blue cheese vinagrette? Yes, please!

Buffalo quail at Chinched Bistro

5) Sustainable seafood

Most menus list the usual salmon and tuna mains. However, these larger, predatory fish have long life-cycles and are difficult to harvest sustainably. Smaller fish that reproduce quickly and are lower on the food chain are just as tasty and make a refreshing change both to our palates and to our planet.

Shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams are easy to farm sustainably and can actually be beneficial to the environments in which they’re grown. Plus, they’re delicious and add flare to any meal.

This trend has been on the upswing for awhile now, but we expect to see more and more people interested in supporting sustainable aquaculture and fisheries. This increased demand, coupled with the increased availability of sustainable seafood, makes this a food trend that may even help to make the world a bit of a better place.

Happy eating in 2011!

All images are either property of The East Coast Foodie or reproduced with permission.

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One Response to Top 5 Food Trends for 2011

  1. Johanne says:

    Wow- great trend preview! I saw similar trends mapped out in the paper over the weekend- so interesting that comfort food is getting a makeover! I agree that we all love our basics because they’re perfect pairings- like mac & cheese- and I think a little dress-up serves them right. Just because food is ‘common’ or easy to make doesn’t mean it’s not good enough for a dining menu. I’m happy that comfort food is experiencing a revival!

    I’m also seeing a lot more emphasis on hand-cured meats by chefs here in Toronto. More and more places that are carnivore-centric are opening up, which is nice since meat can be delicious and go beyond our usual cold cut plate. I was reading about a new place called Porchetta & Co. where they make porchetta sandwiches from the hand-prepared porchetta. Looking forward to experiencing meat in different ways and as a sidekick to veg, too!

    Your bubbly prediction makes so much sense- I’ve noticed that the liquor store is now offering many more varieties of bubbly than ever before! How wonderful for us bubbly lovers! I’ve recently discovered the Cremant de Loire from France and at $19 it’s worth every penny! It really is creamy and delicious- our fave bubbly.
    -J 🙂

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