Predicted Food Trend Were So Wrong, Here’s What’s Actually Trending This Year

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I’ve been to food events where the theme of the table setting was rustic yet cozy, where votive candles sat next to mason jars filled with winter flowers. And for a hint of drama, ribboned place cards were tied to German paring knives or spice blends collected from exotic locations around the world.

In these events, with these beautifully dressed up tables, we indulge in course upon course of meticulously laid-out meals, testing out the latest predicted food trends for the following year. Yet in my experience, they haven’t always been accurate. Hence why this piece is about what I have actually seen or tried that has been added to the food scene for 2019, now that we’re five months into the new year.

Tahini is basically sesame butter. At home, I’ve been replacing peanut butter in my baked goods for tahini and it works so well— tahini swirl brownies, tahini fudge, tahini toast­ — avocado toast you’ve been temporarily benched as I favour a spread made of tahini, maple syrup, cacao powder and a pinch of salt.

Goldstruck in Yorkville has been serving up one of my favourites for years — a sesame halva latte. Soon sells a chocolate tahini spread which I imagine is an updated version of Nutella, and at Bunner’s you can buy maple tahini cookies. Once Toronto gets a real taste of summer weather, I’m sure we’ll see dairy-free tahini sorbets and ice creams pop up.

I keep hearing about tahini and hummus being put on a level playing field. I have yet to see hummus being used in desserts the way tahini has grown in popularity. I can’t picture a hummus latte, I can however picture Middle Easterners and Mediterraneans cringe at the thought of Gwyneth Paltrow and her team of Goopers working on branding a hummus latte at this very moment. Somewhere in Santa Monica, California seemingly beautiful women, obsessed with soulcycle, shiny hair and steamed vaginas are throwing out ideas like “let’s call it ‘The Clay Latte’ to give it an earthy vibe.” As you roll your eyes, remember Indians in particular, did the same when “The Golden Milk Latte” became famous by hipsters a few years back.

Now that recreational cannabis is legal, the second wave of legalization will be about cannabis-infused foods and drinks, beyond candy and cookies. South East Asia was so ahead of the game. I backpacked there in 2005 and I had my fair share of “happy” foods and shakes. Fourteen years later, North America is just getting started. From savoury to sweet foods, the edible black market is currently thriving.

Now that butter machines have been engineered––Magic Butter, LEVO, Easy Butter Maker, producing herb butters at home has never been so easy, whereas before it was a long, labor-intensive process. Once you have the butter or oil, there’s nothing you can’t make. We have a long way to go before Happy Herb Pizza will legally become a chain in Canada, but cannabis food experiments at home are happening right now and I’ve sampled some and they’re delicious.

The topic on the minds of chefs, the agricultural industry, grocery stores, food podcasts, recipe developers and consumers is food waste. And it’s about fucking time. One third of the world’s food goes to waste every year and a lot of it happens at home. At home, the culprit is that we buy too much, cook too much, or don’t store it correctly. Grocery stores will often trash produce for atheistic reasons. Ugly foods are those that sellers and consumers often reject because of being naturally imperfect or bruised. The National Zero Waste Council has collected the data and found that everyday in Canada we waste lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, bread, bananas, milk and more. Food waste is now getting a much-needed global spotlight.

I’ve been to chef battles this year where the winner is based on the how little food waste they create. Contestants are encouraged to use leftover pulp from juicing machines, trimmings of meats and the skin of vegetables. I’ve been to cocktail bars that serve up excellent drinks invented by using the scraps of fruits and vegetables. I’m easily finding recipes online that use overly ripe fruits and day-old breads.

Several Toronto startups have also stepped up to decrease the food waste problem that really is a huge problem — Feedback, Terus, Flashfood are just a few. The ‘no waste food movement’ is here and reaction is forcing cooks alike to become more creativity in the kitchen.

In the same breath, food packaging is getting a makeover to become more eco-friendly. Earlier this year, I attended a large-scale food tradeshow where I noticed a majority of the vendors were using compostable packaging and wooden cutlery and plates. Packaging companies are pushing food containers that are made from compostable fibers, natural plant materials and are biodegradable.

Food and restaurant chains have taken steps to move away from single-use plastics —A&W Canada announced that it will ban plastic straws this year, while Vancouver became the first major Canadian city to already do so. Recipe Unlimited recently announced the removal of delivery and take-home plastic bags across its entire network of restaurants, including brands like Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s, East Side Mario’s, Burger’s Priest and Milestones. More importantly, Jason Momoa recently published a four-minute PSA on switching over to water sold in recyclable aluminum, as opposed and plastic and well…we should do whatever this foxy man says.

Orange wine is far from a new trend, however only now am I seeing it served at dinner parties and listed on wine menus. I’m not much of a Ontario-produced wine drinker, but these orange wines have certainly made me rethink my stance on them. Some carry notes of citrus and tandarines, yet they’re not made from oranges. Orange wine is actually made from white grapes, fermented with the skin on, also known as “skin-fermented white,” while white wines are usually made by pressing grapes to separate the skin from the juice. The skin has a lot to do with the colour. I personally think orange wine gives off more of a complex flavour than a generic white.

Dare I say, it might be the new rosé for the summer of 2019?

I’ve bitched about food trends we should say buh-bye to in 2019 because they’re over-the-top obnoxious. With the above list, I’m happy to say it’s quite the opposite.

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Published Storyteller on Bon Appétit, The Food Network Canada, The Huffington Post, China Daily, Post City Magazines and more. Follow me at instagram.com/d33pi/

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Deepi Harish

Published Storyteller on Bon Appétit, The Food Network Canada, The Huffington Post, China Daily, Post City Magazines and more. Follow me at instagram.com/d33pi/