Gourmet Food Trends in 2008

What to watch for as the year unfolds:

Bold Flavors: As we age, our senses of smell and taste start to diminish. With the onset of the aging baby boomer group, consumers are demanding spicier, bolder flavors. Look for yogurt with chocolate and chili pepper, strong cheeses like Bleu and extra sharp Cheddar, and spice-laced beverages.

New Spices: Goodbye cumin, sage, marjoram, and coriander. Hello Balinese Long Pepper, Saigon Cinammon, Fennel Pollen, and French Basque Pepper!

Meat Cookbooks: Artisan meats are big this year and cookbooks like “Pork and Sons” are preaching the practice of using all parts of the animal, with “head to tail” becoming a popular catchphrase for the movement.

Local Wines: All 50 states now make their own variety of wine (Hawaii makes a pineapple wine and Alaska has a salmonberry version). More Americans already make a point to “buy locally” when purchasing food, and this emphasis is being extended to wines, as well.

Fair Trade: Already a big movement in Europe, Fair Trade will become as big of a buzzword as “organic.” The push will be in coffee, chocolate, foods, and textiles.

Bacon: Artisan, nitrate-free version are popping up on restaurant menus everywhere and also in unexpected products such as cookies, ice cream, boutique brittle, and chocolate bars.

More Chocolate: Premium chocolate sales are dominating the confections industry. Also related to the aging population, chocolate is growing in popularity because of the medical research that suggests it has the potential to reduce rates of stroke, heart failure, cancer, and diabetes. Expect more adult flavors such as chocolate with spices or mango, and high cacao content.

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