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The Reign of Tea, The Rise of Gin, Vermouth Back in Style, Tasting Only Menus, No More Bread.... All attention grabbing headlines seen in the past few months as the media jump onto the food trend bandwagon with their predictions of what's going to happen in 2014.
We've done our fair bit of predicting for the year with a number of pieces focusing on the rising food and beverage trends, and now, with all logic thrown out the window, here's a look at some of the weirdest food trends you can expect to see in 2014. From toast bills so high they require customers to re-mortgage their home, to the rise of the Eclagurt and plates that are not really plates at all, more portals to a futuristic world of lucid animation.
Get ready, here's 2014 in 5 Weird Food Trends.
1 - Artisanal Toast: Yes you heard us right. That's two slices of bread so lovingly baked, sliced and toasted using the heat of a hundred penguins cuddling, that it carries the tag 'artisanal' and the price tag 'astronomical'. Expect paying $4 for a slice of toast to become the norm and that's before you opt for the creamy butter - freshly curdled using liquid nitrogen and a hand whittled wooden spoon - that's $11.50 a smear. Don't even bother with the hand picked, bee approved, berry jam or the squirrel hunted peanut butter. This is not a joke, your pathetic attempts at soggy looking homemade toast are about to be surpassed by the sour dough starters and organic jams of your newly opened Toast Shack or Toasties - whatever they eventually call it.
2 - Hybrids: Cronuts, Ramen noodle burgers, s'morecicles. It seems that if you can successfully combine two food words to form one funky, more modern sounding languination, all you then have to do is work out how those two foods can be squeezed together in the kitchen to form some sort of sweet Frankenstein love child. A love child people are happy to pay $12 for and wait 16-hours in line to taste. The Cragel is the latest to step into the fray - half croissant half bagel - who knows what's next - the Yo'clair? A chocolate eclair style casing filled with different flavored yogurts? Sounds way more appealing than the Eclagurt, that's for sure.
3 - Off-the-Plate Dining: Food is no longer the only reason you go to eat out. A whole movement of multi-sensory dining experiences with scents, touch, sights and sounds harnessed by chefs who want to provide a 360-degree approach to edible experiences. Edible firework displays, el Somni by the Roca Brothers, Ultraviolet in Shanghai. These ideas being pushed by the Avant Garde will slowly make their way into the mainstream during 2014. Projections on tables, augmented reality menus, tables with touch screen displays and theatrical dining experiences that see chefs, waiting staff and a whole range of artistic disciplines come together to provide unique, one-off dining experiences like those seen at Secret Restaurant in London.
Topping it all off, the normal stuff that does happen 'on-the-plate', may not actually be done on plates at all, as this list of 6 futuristic dinnerware designs shows.
The Roca Brother's el Somni .
4 - Wiki Cells: Get ready to eat your burger wrapping, bite your cocktail glass and welcome back the overwhelming childlike confusion of not knowing exactly what is and what isn't meant to be put in your mouth. Developed at Harvard University, Wiki Cells are an edible casing that can be flavored in a number of ways. There's now a Wiki Cell bar in Paris, one expected to open this year in Massachusetts and a series of pop-up events planned all over the world. Expect Wiki Cells and the thin edible layer they create to pave the way for ice creams that don't melt when touched, yoghurts that can be eaten without a spoon and cheeses that don't need to be wrapped in foil.
5 - Flexitarians: With the rise of Meatless Mondays - a day dedicated to eating only vegetarian foods and one that has even proven popular with regular carnivores, it seems meat eaters opting for vegetarian options, veg only days and vegetable alternatives are on the rise. Of course, if they're ever going to be sold to, these people need a label and the demonic demographic naming committee of the world seems to have opted for Flexitarians, carnivores who are happy to eat only the best quality meat but those who feel equally happy with a plate of pure veg. This movement will be driven further by chefs at the top of chain intent on developing vegetable driven menus, chefs like Alexis Gauthier and his Vegetronic cuisine: non-vegetarian vegetable tasting menus with dishes such as carrots lovingly bathed in lamb juices. Could we see Vegetarians opting to take part in Meaty Fridays? One day of the week when bacon is allowed?
2014 Hope: The knife and fork to be replaced by something better, who knows what, just something better - perhaps a spork meets 'chopstick style' device.