Chai Russian cocktail

The hottest food trends for 2017 | An expert guide

Coconut everything, Wales and Colombia as the hot new foodie travel destinations, ants in desserts, crickets in gluten-free flour, camel milk and perfume-inspired cocktails, plus Rastafarian vegan street food and more – here are the 38 food, drink and travel trends the olive magazine team predict to go big in 2017…

Co-co-coconut

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It’s the trend that keeps on giving. Coconut oil and coconut water have been seriously hot ingredients over the past few years but the next step for coconut fiends and experimental bakers, this year, will be coconut flour, coconut sugar and coconut extract (just arriving in supermarkets, and as used in our white velvet snowball cake recipe on our Christmas front cover).

olive magazine Christmas 2016 cover

In trendy US ice-cream parlours coconut ash (from the shells) is being used to flavour and colour black ice cream. Coconut jam (kaya) has been big in Asia for years – it’s a popular breakfast snack in Singapore, spread on toast and served with a poached egg. Is there anything you can’t do with a coconut?


DIY

This year we’re going to see home cooks make everything from cheese and yogurt to charcuterie in their kitchens. Lakeland has seen huge growth in sales of cheese-making kits, smoking guns, curing salts and craft brewing kits, and we’re seeing more and more professional cookery schools, such as The School of Artisan Food, now teach skills which were previously at threat of becoming extinct. Visit nationalcookeryschoolguide.com for a school near you.


Next-level gluten-free flours

You’ve heard of rice flour, potato flour, tapioca and maize flours, but in 2017 we’ll see even more gluten-free flours become available. Banana flour, made from green bananas, is high in starch, naturally sweet (so useful in low-sugar baking) but has no discernable banana flavour. Chia flour, made from ground chia seeds, will become more mainstream rather than a niche product for the health conscious.

Coffee flour, milled from the (usually wasted) fruit that surrounds the coffee bean, promises to be more protein-, fibre- and iron-rich than regular wheat flour. And, if you’re feeling brave, how about cricket flour? Yes, it’s exactly how it sounds, ground up crickets, but it provides a huge hit of protein without having to crunch on the little critters, bushtucker trial-style.


Exotic fruit and veg

In a game of fruity one-upmanship, this year you’ll see more exotic and unusual fruits appearing on supermarket shelves. Kumquats, mangosteen (originally from Indonesia), rambutan (think a creamier, richer lychee), persimmon (also known as sharon fruit) and kiwi berries (grape-size kiwis you can eat whole), as well as unusual hybrid varieties like cucamelons, granadilla (a member of the passion fruit family) and kalettes (a mix of kale and sprouts) will all become more commonplace.

Rambutans_getty

Quick pickles/sousing

We love a pickle, and they’re all the rage for 2017, from fennel to give a lift to rich meats to cucumbers for a bit of ping, zing’s the thing!


Got the hump

Think milk and you’ll no doubt think cow, goat, sheep, maybe almond… but camel? An unlikely new superfood, camel milk has 10 times more iron and three times more vitamin C than cow’s milk. Research suggests it can also help those with diabetes, dairy intolerances and gut and bowel problems. QCamel Dairy is on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains. Here, Live It Tours offers a three-hour Camels and Canapés experience which takes you behind the scenes of Australia’s first accredited dairy producing pasteurised camel milk, before sampling camel milk canapés (from camel’s milk panna cotta with pomegranate to tzatziki) with a glass of champagne.

The dairy has also teamed up with Maleny Cheese to produce camel milk curd and cheese. Other camel milk companies include Desert Farms founded by Walid Abdul-Wahab after stumbling upon the stuff while visiting his family in Saudi Arabia. He set up the company in the States, to market Amish farmers’ camel milk there, but now works with several farms in Europe also. And, in the Netherlands, you can visit a separate enterprise, the Camel Dairy Farm in Berlicum.


Go with the grain

From barley risottos and siyez salads (as seen in branches of Granger & Co) to getting freekeh with salads, grains are a healthy, filling way to go, and pseudograins amaranth and quinoa are excellently low in carbs too – we’ll be seeing this trend continue to roll this year, bolstered by the ricing of beetroot and yet more cauliflower couscousification.

Freekeh salad

Vegan and again

As fashion drives options beyond vegan foods’ ethical origins, expect to see animal-product-free food get ever closer to the mainstream, unshackled from mimicry and pushed by creativity. Sainsbury’s coconut-based vegan cheese, in answer to a curmudgeonly outcry about it not being actual cheese, was (momentarily, in social media land) renamed ‘Gary’ in 2016. It’s food’s own Boaty McBoatface moment, and a reason for national pride.


Getting hygge with it

Believe it or not, we haven’t yet reached peak-hygge. That hard-to-pronounce word to describe the Danish way of life is still on everyone’s lips at the moment. Roughly meaning ‘cosiness’ or ‘life’s simple pleasures’, hygge (“hue-gah”) is a concept to get on board with. Head to Snaps and Rye in London and snuggle up with a comforting liquorice hot chocolate, or try a cinnamon bun from Danish bakery The Bread Station in London Fields.

Baltzersens in Harrogate, too, lays out freshly baked cinnamon, cardamom and sultana buns on its counter every morning. Look out for warming, hygge-friendly recipes from new book Scandinavian Comfort Food in the February issue of olive, or check out our list of European trips to give you that hygge glow here. For something closer to home, in Dorset the Urban Beach Hotel has created a dedicated ‘hygge’ dining experience – guests eat outdoors, wrapped up in blankets around a fire.

Food comes straight from the farm with a menu that includes wood-fired slow-roast Dorset lamb, beetroot and gin-cured gravadlax, and maple and rosemary glazed ham. While in the heart of the Cairngorms, courtesy of Danish-owned farmhouse Killiehuntly, you can skinny-dip in an ice-cold river, then return to curl up amongst sheepskins in front of the farmhouse’s log fire and eat produce from the surrounding estate.


Preserving it up

Escabeche isn’t just for summer! Confit was back in a big way last year, with French regional cooking staging a comeback, but the Spanish have a riposte in escabeche, usually seen in fried fish allowed to settle to room temperature and dressed with vinegar, but we expect inland versions – guinea fowl, partridge and quail – gracing our plates this year.


Deep South

Po’ boys, chargrilled oysters and other Louisiana-style dishes are becoming the UK’s hot new street food. Grab a crusty white baguette stuffed with Cajun-spiced chicken and juicy shrimps blackened on the flat grill, squeaky American cheese, zingy habanero jam and ’slaw from the guys at Slingin’ Po’ Boys (Rupert Street, Soho).

Slingin Po Boys – Alex Crossley

Look out for Birmingham-born Tom Browne’s ode to Louisiana in the form of his chargrilled Maldon oyster cart, Decatur, at Druid Street Market in South London (and a residency at Pamela Bar in Dalston – order the creamy, comforting shrimp and grits along with Deep South fried chicken ‘biscuits’). Join one of Slap Ya Papa’s raucous Louisiana-style feasts that pop up across the country, or head to new restaurants Chicken Shed in Bristol and Chick ‘n’ Sours’ in Covent Garden for Deep South-style fried chicken.


Why so serious?

As Japanese whisky has grown in popularity (try the ceremonial mixing
of blended whiskies with water, mizuwari), people are also rediscovering drams from closer to home. Whisky has always been somewhat aspirational and one of the spirits to get your head round if you want to be taken as a serious drinker. But now we’re also seeing brands having more fun within the category, including new launches like Haig Club Clubman designed to be an approachable way into whisky.


Back to basics

Forget elaborate garnishes and cocktails appearing from a cloud of smoke, we’re seeing bartenders strip-back their creations to present complex flavours and twists on classics with simple serves. Sometimes less really is more.


Caffeine kweens

As people have got geekier about their coffee and small-batch roasts have become the norm, we’ve also seen coffee cropping up in cocktails a lot more. Espresso martinis have become ubiquitous but, thanks to coffee’s impressive number of flavour compounds (around 300), it pairs with a lot of other ingredients. Try it at home with our chai white russian recipe.

Chai white Russian

Get the tinnies in

You read right, tinnies are officially cool and are now being used for everything from craft beer to aged negronis. They’re actually one of the best ways to store booze as no light or oxygen can get to the liquid once it’s in there, meaning it stays as fresh as the day it was brewed (or shaken). Happy days.


Tiki time

It’s time to loosen-up. Cue the tiki revival: next year is going to be all about tropical fruit, carved mugs and A LOT of rum. But, don’t worry, Hawaiian shirts will be left at home and cocktails will be given subtle tiki twists. Look out for banana as a key ingredient and don’t miss out on the Night Watchman at Dandelyan, London (number three in the World’s 50 Best Bars 2016) – two types of rum, pistachio shell orgeat, coffee distillate and ancho reyes chile.


Talking trash

One person’s trash is another person’s, well, cocktail ingredient. Nose to tail, root to leaf, and generally keeping wastage to a minimum has been prevalent within restaurants for some time but bars are now catching up, using flavour-packed ingredients such as tomato vines, coffee grounds and avocado stones that would otherwise be thrown away.

Head to Duck and Waffle in East London to try Richard Wood’s ‘Urban Decay’ menu, or track down Trash Tiki, a pop-up from Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths that takes off-cuts, unsold products, and basically anything headed for the bin, and uses it in their pop-up tiki bar that’ll be touring the world.


Micro-distilleries

Move over microbreweries, the new craze for 2017 is craft distilleries. Gin distilleries might be two-a-penny right now but the Isle of Harris Distillery is a particular stunner, a state-of-the-art building with contemporary tweed-walled interior, informal tours and a cosy café. In Dorset, Black Cow pure milk vodka is a farm-diversification success story while in Hudson Valley, New York State, a couple of outdoorsmen Paul Coughlin and Gerald Valenti opened the Taconic Distillery this year (in a big barn down a dirt track) to produce the quintessential American spirit: farm-to-bottle bourbon.

Then there’s whisky. Scotland might be its homeland but it doesn’t have a monopoly. Japanese malts have been known to beat their Scottish counterparts in international competitions and now it’s Tasmania’s turn. Not only is the country producing award-winning malts, it even has enough distilleries to warrant a Tasmanian Whisky Trail. 


Poké

This delicious Hawaiian raw fish dish (found in London at street food stall, Eat Poké, or Soho’s Tombo), is ready to go big.

Tuna poke

Skål!

We’ve fully embraced Scandi food but now its time to get on board with the booze, too. Aquavit is a spirit distilled with botanicals, most commonly caraway and dill, but also cardamom, cumin, fennel and coriander seed, often with a kick of citrus. It pairs really well with fish, and is a great cocktail ingredient. We’re expecting to see a lot more of it in 2017 – keep an eye out in bars, or track down a bottle from amathusdrinks.com.


Colombia

The whisper on the street is that, for the foodie traveller, Colombia is the hot destination for 2017. For the past few years Peru has been hogging the limelight as a foodie hotspot but Colombia is snapping at the heels of its neighbour and of Mexico, which has just hosted the prestigious Latin Top 50 Restaurant Awards. Next year the awards will be held in Bogota and Colombia has its own flag-flying celebrity chef in the form of Harry Sasson.

A growing number of innovative Columbian chefs are also taking the country’s traditional Andean cuisine and giving it a contemporary makeover, including TV chef Leonor Espinosa. Other chefs to check out include Daniel Castano, whose years Stateside lend his restaurant, Gordo, a Brooklyn vibe and Luz Beatriz Velez Abasto, whose part-restaurant, part-grocery showcases the country’s natural produce. Try Columbian food in London with the help of Esteban Arboleda, founder of Columbian Street Kitchen, a street food pop-up that’s currently in residency at the Green Rooms Hotel.


Follow your nose

Perfume-inspired cocktails (the idea is that barflies sniff the perfumes behind the bar before scouring the cocktail list) is a trend we’re backing this year. In London’s botanically biased Green Bar – part of the Hotel Café Royal – you can choose from 10 different cocktails put together in collaboration with Givenchy. Including Iris Harmonique, a concoction of coconut-infused vodka, kumquat liqueur and lemon zest that takes its name from the perfume brand’s newest fragrance.

In Berlin the Ritz-Carlton goes even further with its Fragrances bar, creating a menu of 30 drinks inspired by perfumes such as Nuit D’Issey by Issey Miyake and Voyou by Guerlain. The cocktails smell like the iconic fragrances and are crafted using rare spirits such as Brazilian Leblon Cachaҫa or Japanese Tantakatan Shochu. And High Line, a bar in Hong Kong, is purportedly dabbling with the perfume-inspired cocktail concept, in association with the Penhaligon perfume brand.


Wales

Things are really hotting-up in the valleys. The last Michelin guide awarded two new stars in Wales – at Sosban on Anglesey and to James Sommerin in Penarth– bringing its total to seven. With chef Gareth Ward wowing guests at the Michelin-starred Ynyshir Hall and Michael Caines working as ‘culinary mentor’ at the new Palé Hall, Wales looks, more than ever, like a very attractive option for a foodie weekend.

Restaurant James Sommerin
Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

Orange wine

Early adopters such as Fera list these ancient, tannic wines (made by fermenting white grape juice with the skins). Expect to see orange wine in a bar near you, soon. 


Ital

This Rastafarian diet brings a jerk- spiced heat and a citrussy spark to vegan food. It’s a small scene, but the popularity of purveyors such as Liverpool street food outfit, Ital Fresh, suggests that Ital could be just the thing for those millennials moving en masse to healthier diets – a change that’s fuelling a growth in healthy restaurant concepts (Rude Health, the Food Yard, Foodilic).


 The Great British Bake Off War

The race is on as to who can get their new version out first, BBC or Channel 4? Whose side are you on? Mary’s or Paul’s? Forget Brexit, this is the true national fault line.


Microchips

Last year, Just Eat trialled robot delivery in London. In Japan, Pizza Hut is testing a humanoid robot waiter. The future is automated, touch-screen, tech-led and, faintly, terrifying.


Botanicals

The explosion of interest in gin is leading bartenders to explore how savoury botanicals, plant ingredients such as parsley root, pine, coriander seeds, fennel, sorrel and sea buckthorn, can be deployed in cocktails.

Sea Buckthron
Sea buckthorn (image courtesy of Getty)

Regional specificity

At Covent Garden’s Laos Café, a new venue from Rosa’s Thai, or the London outpost of Naples’ famous L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele (Stoke Newington), 2017 will be all about the regional nuances of global foods. Not least at Soho sushi joint Yoobi, London’s first temakeria, its inspiration taken from Brazil’s Japanese expat community.


Oils in cocktails

Yes, oil floating on or infused through cocktails (think: sesame, coconut) are now hitting London. Try the Worship Street Whistling Shop’s Imperial Feathery Fizz (Tanqueray, lemon, olive oil, baobab, yuzu, lecithin), and remember where you read it first.


The second Mexican wave

Mexican has kind of flatlined as a ‘thing’, but star chef Martha Ortiz’s forthcoming restaurant at the InterContinental London Park Lane, the Hart/ Barrafina brothers’ El Pastór taqueria in Borough Market and new Soho restaurant, Corazon, will bring fresh heat to UK Mexican food.


Modern preserving

Pickles, smoking, fermenting, tempeh, kombucha, kefir – whatever you choose, get preserving.

Beef with pickles
Korean-style BBQ steak with cucumber pickles

Travel the world for breakfast

Travel around the world before breakfast is over, from mulberry molasses and sesame bread with honeycomb and kaymak clotted cream (and a shot of raki) at Turkish restaurant Yosma, to tea-smoked hake kedgeree on black rice with soy sauce-cured egg yolk and aromatic coriander from Hoxton brunch spot, Friends of Ours. Balham’s Milk puts 40 hours into making batches of South American rice milk drink horchata for brunches. Whisper it, but avocado on toast simply just will not do any more…


Ultra customising

We’ve all ordered a Domino’s half and half before (haven’t we, haven’t we?!) but now restaurants, bars and beyond are taking the idea of customising your order one step further. Dough pizza restaurant, in Bath, lets you choose not just your topping but also your base (the team make a seaweed base, a turmeric base, a gluten-free base, and more). Artisan ice cream parlours across the pond, too, are offering cones made of pretzel, waffle and cookie dough…


This is your (miso) moment

There’s more to miso than ramen, you know, and 2017 is the year to experiment. Mash it with sweet potato, pair it with Marmite and caramelised onions in soup, ramp up your rarebit (cheese on toast), or even add it to caramel in and/or on ice cream, like the guys at Jidori, Roka and Xiringuito. See our January issue, out on 2 January, for more great ideas.

Smoky miso aubergines
Smoky miso aubergines

Sweets for my savoury

…And if you like the idea of sweet and savoury, look out for yet more savoury doughnuts this year (Chiltern Firehouse’s famous crab doughnuts feature in its new recipe book and here, or try Le Bab’s glazed lokma doughnuts filled with spiced chicken liver parfait) and even seafood sundaes (as spotted in top Parisian patisseries on our trip with the M&S development team this winter).


Insects (again)

Every year pundits predict the rise and rise of insects in our everyday cuisine… but 2017 might just be the year. With ants ‘crawling’ over a cheese custard tart at experimental Birmingham restaurant Wilderness and Rude Health’s winning dish at its annual Porridge Championship featuring Kentish wood ants and a crab apple compote from Native, we reckon this sustainable, protein-rich food stuff might be ready to go mainstream.


Side of o2 with your steak?

Flowers on the table, or a pot plant in the loo, simply will not do anymore. We’re seeing more and more restaurants go all out with living trees in their restaurants – from the twinkly trees in Tom Sellers’ Restaurant Ours in Knightsbridge to the mini forest brushing the ceiling of the newly refurbed Bluebird in Chelsea and the olive tree taking pride of place in the centre of Provence-style bistro, Bandol.

Bluebird restaurant interior

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