Quinoa took 2013 by storm. This very small, bead like grain has a firm texture and unlike rice or couscous is a complete protein containing the eight essential amino acids. Easy to prepare, quinoa (pronounced keen-waa) was a staple of the Incas who grew it on high in the Andes. Branded a superfood, quinoa is effortless to digest, gluten-free and packed with dietary fibre as well as iron and magnesium. 2013 also saw Peruvian food rapidly gain in popularity, the BBC called it the next big thing with dishes like ceviche (raw white fish cured in citrus juice and spices) going down a treat with Brits. And then of course there was the hype surrounding tiny desserts, from cake pops (think cake and lollipop combined) to cheesecake served in a shot glass.
But, what are the top food types and trends to look out for in 2014? Well, some of the weirdest include artisanal toast which is essentially really expensive, luxury toasted bread. Currently big in the US, this $4 a slice toast is a really thick piece of bread lovingly spread with your topping of choice. Or perhaps you fancy trying choco-chicken? Yes you read that right, chocolate flavoured fried chicken is soon to be available at a restaurant in LA (where else?)
A little closer to home, and a little less weird, youll continue to see locally-sourced, sustainable food on supermarket shelves this year. Organic food sales were high in 2013 and are expected to continue to rise. Customers are increasingly demanding real food that is simple and includes unadulterated, fresh, ingredients. They want to know exactly where their food was grown or reared and how its been prepared.
One food you should try in 2014 is kale. It comes in a range of varieties including cavolo nero (black kale) and curly kale. In season from September to late February, kale is a member of the cabbage family. Instead of growing in the usual cabbage shape youd expect with leaves forming a round head, the leaves grow in the same rosette way that flower petals do at the top of a stem. Highly nutritious and a hardy grower in the UK, kale works well in stews, soups, and with pasta. Kale has started appearing in fruit smoothies to provide an extra shot of nutrients and in 2014 a new kale ice lolly is being launched.
You should also look out for infused ice cubes featuring mint, herbs and other ingredients that will slowly release as the cube melts. And apparently, ice cream sandwiches are on their way back in while doughnuts and cupcakes are on their way out.
Of all the food trends predicted for 2014, this one might be our favourite look forward to low tea, a new, fourth meal served between lunch and dinner in the evening. Its inspired by the idea that more and more of us are eating little and often throughout the day rather than having three square meals. Low tea will be a light dish served around 4pm. Sounds like a welcome excuse to dig into sandwiches and snacks to us!