Food Trends: What’s Cooking for 2017
At events, when it comes to food and beverage, the “wow” factor is always a priority. While fresh, good food never goes out of style, certain dishes and ingredients can garner buzz. Food is something that we love to talk about and to photograph, and will inevitably be a factor in how your attendees evaluate the event. The most discriminating event planners know the significance of good food and make innovative choices around menus.
Here are some of the food and beverage developments that you can expect to see in 2017. Choose wisely!
Local base ingredients, exotic accessories
In northern climates, products like root vegetables, local game meats and regional wheat-based breads are safe bets for even the deepest winter months. (We’re looking at you, February.) Sure, a menu sourced from regional ingredients is ideal for the environment and local economy, but many caterers are loosening the cuffs of the locavore craze. The truth is that most consumers still want feel-good staples such as coffee, avocados and chocolate. The trick is to maintain a reasonable ratio. Can you create plates that are three parts local and only one part import? Then, how can you educate your attendees about what they’re eating?
Wines from lesser-known regions
While a Syrah from southeastern France and a Chardonnay from California are never going to go out of style, more discerning crowds are looking to discover “boutique” wines. Adventurous event organizers might include a Xinomavro from Greece or a Piedra del Sol from Mexico. Additionally, planners who prioritize “local” will be ordering cases from up-and-coming vineyards within a hundred miles of their events. (Shameless plug: Québec-produced wines have come a long way!)
Consumers are slowly coming to realize that eating fat doesn’t necessarily lead to gaining fat — something the folks in France knew all along. We’re returning to butter and cream and cheeses, and not feeling guilty about it.
Chicken, pork, beef, fish — these are the traditional safe bets for large crowds. Many attendees are tired of those options. While some will simply opt for a vegetarian alternative, others will be even more eager to sample a locally-produced meat. Options such as venison and bison will continue to pop up on northern menus, while crocodile, boar and goat will appear in the south. Go beyond the same-old barnyard!
See the seaweed, kill the kale
We’re more than happy to say goodbye to the kale craze. The year 2017 will see chefs exploring the flavour potential of seaweed, which is low cost and available in abundance. Expect to see it augment the “umami flavour” in broths and diversify the chip aisle. We’re curious to see how it can be paired with cheeses or transformed into viable appetizer options.
Collectively, we adore fermented beverages — wine and beer are the social lubricants that bring many events to higher echelons of entertainment. But fermented treats need not be reserved for the post-five o’clock crowds. Drinks such as kombucha (fermented tea) and kefir (fermented milk) are making big waves in the beverage industry. Montréal’s own RISE kombucha is a perfect example!
Telling the story of food
Say goodbye to all-you-can-eat pasta buffets. The movement is toward higher-quality foods, even if it means smaller plate portions. Instead of copious amounts of food (which usually leads to copious amounts of waste), serve a side of education: where did the ingredients come from? Who prepared it? What factors influenced the menu choices? Tell the story of your food.
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[Photography from UNSPLASH. Click on each image to view source.]