Studio 5 Contributor Amy Richardson is our “Today’s Gourmet” correspondent and has identified some of the big trends this year in gourmet foods.
Brownies are the new cupcakes
Cupcakes have been gaining in popularity over the last few years. But now, brownies are poised to take their place as the new “treat de jour”. But these won’t be just any ordinary brownies. Look for exotic flavors and dense, rich gooey treats. One of the leaders in the trend is Mari’s Brownies in NYNY. You can learn more about them at their website.
Artisan and single origin foods
Foods and ingredients that are of a single origin—that come from a small, localized region—or are of artisanal craft and quality are becoming more recognized as different from their mass-produced factory-made counterparts. Chocolate or honey, for example, produced from a single locale will have a purer, more distinguishing quality because of the area and climate from which it comes. The internet has made these small, artisanal sources much more accessible.
Exotic and Imported Spices and Ingredients
As cultures and regions meet and meld, it is natural for new culinary ideas and flavors to be introduced. Many are surprised to find, for example, that Chicken Tikka Masala is not an Indian dish, but is really from Scotland. As the flavors and spices of the world become more available, these interesting and exotic ideas broaden our palettes. India Tree Spices is one of the leaders in tracking down exotic spices and interesting blends. You can visit them on their website.
Unusual and Innovative Flavor Combinations
It is becoming quite the interesting and wonderful trend to find foods and dishes that bring contrasting flavors colliding together in unusual ways. New impressions and aspects to old familiar flavors are thus created. Who would have thought, for example, that a green apple and garlic jellied preserve could be so delicious?
New and Exciting “Superfruits”
This may be the leading current health trend: New or somewhat overlooked fruits that possess some health benefit are now more easily available. Tahitian Noni, Agave, Acacia Berries, and Mangosteen are a few of the many “new” and hip sources of beneficial fruit. Some extracts and nectars are even seen as healthy substitutes to refined sugars.
A Return to Comfort Foods
In contrast to all the high-concept trends out there, I see a deliberate return to the classic comfort foods: Casseroles, Crock Pots and other faithful stand-bys are making a return to fashion, sometimes dressed up with a gourmet twist. The classic comfort foods we so love are finding new, well deserved appreciation.
Moroccan Spiced Brownies
1 cup sugar
½ cup + 2 tbsp Butter
6 tbsp E. Guittard Cocoa Rouge Rare Red Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder, or
other unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp Ras El Hanout Moroccan spice blend
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and blend well.
Mix in vanilla, cocoa, flour, and Ras El Hanout until smooth.
Divide batter evenly into eight 8 oz. ramekins OR an 8×8″ greased cake pan.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes; or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
To serve, dust with powdered sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream.