Food is nutrition, celebration, culture, history, travel and more. Nothing binds us globally more than the shared passion for food. As universal as food is, it is also equally diverse, as across the world the art of cultivating, cooking and eating differs.
As we gear up for the festive season, thinKitchen goes on a journey of culinary trend spotting to take a look at the food and drinks that are capturing the interest of consumer palates and making their way globally to the dining table.
In India, a Godrej Food Trends, 2021 summarises that the more aspirational aspects of the flavours of the Southeast Asian cuisines would be most sought after. It mentions equal enthusiasm for the mountain cuisines of India, the micro cuisines of the North East, followed by the Bengali, Oriya and the micro cuisines of Kerala. So get experimentative with the cuisines you serve your guests this festive season
Broths as a base for grain bowls, broth bowls and soup are likely to find interest. The 2021 Bailleys Treat Trend Report mentions that consumers are likely to opt for sophisticated flavour combinations that mix diverse flavours like sweet, sour, umami and pickled flavours. Consumers are also likely to explore myriad nut and seed spreads. This is a great tip to keep in mind as you plan your appetizers and nibbles.
Foods inspired by heritage, health forward foods, food with a story, culinary travel driven food and plant forward foods are likely to be appreciated by diners. Globally and in India, chefs are being inspired by the flavours of food that they grew up eating and are returning to their roots.
At a simplistic level, people are simply seeking delicious food, yet today they are more aware of the ingredients that are good for them and the value of freshness and quality in raw produce. Health, traditional family recipes, the use of local and seasonal produce is something that you can plan for even as you plan your festive menus.
Interest in small plates is likely to pique interest in people trying out more than one dish at a time. So why not offer a tasting menu of sorts set on an Indian thali platter to your dinner guests this Diwali?
In the beverage space, there is equal interest in Made in India artisanal and small batch alcobevs. Internationally, people are likely to appreciate craft seltzers, a surge in Mexican spirits like Tequila and Mezcal, a continuing use of whisky in cocktails, classic vodka presented in a low calorie versions and with unusual flavours like yuzu or kumquat. So also with the overall emphasis on general wellbeing bear in mind that your guest might want to choose drinks with ‘less alcohol content’.
In the non-alcoholic segment, gourmet Indian coffees, immunity and functional health boosting beverages, infused waters, vegetable and fruit juice pairings and cold brew tea and coffees are likely to have takers. Botanical drinks which have ‘calm’, ‘focus’, ‘glow’ and ‘rest’ are piquing interest. Served in exquisite glassware, these can be the focal point of your parties this season.
Fermented beverages like hop water, kombucha and kombucha-like beverages are likely to gain acceptance, as they already have in markets like Singapore. Exotic algae drinks are making their way on the global stage. Boba Tea from Taiwan has made its way to the US. So has the rice based, horchata, popular in Mexico and Guatemala. Sounds impressive, right. Why not choose one of these as the mainstay for the card party that you have in mind and create a buzz?
When it comes to sweets and deserts, there is a lot to be aware of. Be it desserts with healthier claims such as fruit based, naturally sweetened, gluten free etc. or locally sourced artisanal chocolates with complex, nuanced flavours and gourmet mithais, all of these are likely to wow your guests.
Culture smashes are doing a free flow on the global stage. In the US, Asian influences are making their way to the desert menu. In recent times Japanese mochi appears to have the most momentum in desserts.
Iced Vanilla Matcha Latte
Similarly diet based desserts, think vegan ice cream, keto brownies etc., bite sized portions, clean fats and low sugars are likely to find favour. In the UK nostalgic desserts are being sought but then they are re-makes of traditional recipes with the use of more functional ingredients. The 2021 Baileys Treat Trend Report mentions globally, desserts with a fine and light texture and a mix of sweet and savoury are likely to find takers. Now, that’s quite a bit of inspiration to move away from the tried and tested deserts.
Vegan Chocolate Cake
Finally, no matter what you serve, you will always be appreciated as a host if you are able to serve authentic preparations, rich in taste and flavours, well laid out in a warm, happy vibe.