8 Trends That Have Us Talking

Chocolate for breakfast

A new day is dawning for chocolate lovers! Diners are now giving cocoa-infused teas, hot chocolate on a stick, Belgium waffles and chocolate granola the time of day — the minute the sun rises.

Eggs top it off

Although the egg as an ingredient is not new, the process of using it as a garnish will explode. From pork belly to fried rice, consumers will find their dishes adorned with chicken eggs, quail eggs and duck eggs.

From farm to fork

In their quest to reduce the food miles that an ingredient travels—and eat food in its purest form, consumers are taking an interest in where their fare hails from. Even the guidelines for organic are a bit fuzzy, and food with integrity has begun to replace “organic” with this trend continuing to grow in 2012.

Going gluten free

While a gluten-free diet is essential for someone with celiac disease, its popularity has surged among the mainstream population. The need for these products continues to grow, and it will be no surprise to see a variety of gluten-free menu items popping up everywhere — from kids’ menus to chic entrees.

Healing foods

Not only does food nourish but it also has the power to heal. Consumers are developing an appreciation for ancient herbal teas, mineral-infused waters, aloe and cucumber drinks, and microbatches of healthy beverages. Even tart cherry juice is known to help with wrinkles, insomnia and puffiness.

Modern cooking methods

Molecular cooking will become more popular as the processes once considered secret are revealed. Though not new, sous vide, will continue to surge as a preferred cooking method being that it offers a flavor/texture difference as well as a food safety/handling process.

Noteworthy noodles

The basic noodle is anything but these days. Gaining more flavor and nutrition now that yam, kelp, farro and spelt are making their way into the original dough, noodles are a versatile (and gluten free!) option that diners are trending toward.

A big surprise for pies

Move over cupcake, the pie has arrived. Whether full size or mini, pies — the ultimate comfort food — are all the rage. Seasonal ingredients are always in flavor and decadence is endless, ranging from savory to sweet. Look for pie happy hours cropping up as well as pies blended into milkshakes.