Food Trends 2017: Activated Charcoal, Insect Flour, And Everything In-Between

It’s that time of the year again, when we recap the year gone by, reminiscing the highs and relieved about the lows that took their leave. While we play that reel in our mind, how can we forget about the one element that threads it all together? Whether it’s a celebration with F&F over cocktails and canapés or digging into a tub of ice cream to lift ‘em spirits, food is never off the table. So, we decided to take a pause for the culinary cause and take a look at the food movements that created waves this year.

Last year it was matcha, turmeric lattes, and avocado. This year the baton has been passed on to activated charcoal, insect flour, and everything in-between. As the flashback week comes to a close, we bring to you the top food trends of the year that left their mark on the 2017 yearbook.

 

Activated Charcoal

DSSC Food Trends 2017
Waffles made with activated charcoal; Image: heykumo.org

Black is back. That was the motto of the food world this year. With rainbow frappuccinos to rainbow grilled cheese having stormed the scene for months, it was only a matter of time before the other end of the colour stick got its spot under the sun. While activated charcoal had trickled in and teased with black-bun burgers and wellness foods for a while, it only escalated this year with black-hued ice cream, croissants, pizzas, and more taking over supper tables and social media. Activated charcoal is akin to regular charcoal, but deemed safe as it’s derived from burning coconut shells, wood, or other plant materials. The charcoal is called ‘activated’ because of its negative charge, which helps bind positively charged ions, i.e., help remove the chemicals from your body. Though, before you hail it as the food that pleases you on both, the outside and the inside, the quantity of activated charcoal used in foods is not enough to impart health benefits, rather just make them as dark as the night. As the handsome food trend won over food makers as well food takers, we sincerely hope you have at least one shot of black ice cream cone gracing your Instagram.

 

Boozy Desserts

DSSC Food Trends 2017
Cucumber margarita popsicle; Image: garlicmysoul.com

This trend brings together the two offerings before and after the main course, and we aren’t even complaining about skipping the food! Stepping beyond Tiramisu, alcohol infused desserts got experimental this year, offering up treats like Tequila Lime Cheesecake, Honey and Bourbon Cake, whiskey macarons, and beer popsicles. While boozy desserts have kept the ‘gram buzzing, the ‘spirited’ desserts seem like they’re here to stay, with ice cream giants like Häagen Dazs introducing a new range of alcohol-infused ice creams. There may be time before we see those in India, but establishments in the capital are already serving concoctions like Red Wine Sangria Popsicle and Rum and Raisin Cheesecake, promising to not let it be just a passing trend (and are we thankful!).

 

Zero Waste Cooking

Image: food52.com

‘Root to stalk’ or ‘nose to tail’, the wave of utilising all parts of the vegetables and meats you’re cooking with has peaked this year. Like many a trends, this isn’t a brand new concept, rather a long-forgotten tradition making a comeback. Sparked due to the growing food waste across the world, zero waste cooking started off as an attempt to salvage the same and soon took over kitchens because of the health benefits it comes with. One of the simplest ways to ensure micro and macro nutrients, along with supplements in our diets, one can only wonder how did this practice ever fade away! With chefs and households taking to this way of cooking, we can’t help but be reminded that yet again an old indigenous way of cooking has the world starry-eyed (remember turmeric latte aka haldi doodh?).

 

Kombucha

DSSC Food Trends 2017
Lemon peach kombucha; Image: barerootgirl.com

Speaking of old traditions making a comeback, the ancient Chinese concoction, Kombucha took over 2017 for yet another inning. Made from active bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), this fermented health drink has the fit nuts swearing by its goodness. Made with either green or black tea, this effervescent and sweet & sour beverage hits the home run with its properties – detoxifies, boosts immunity and energy, regulates the gut, and carries probiotics and vitamin B. It’s also claimed (though scientifically unproven) that it fights high blood pressure, cancer, and heart diseases. Easy as a pie on the taste buds and health? Really, how have you not caught on to kombucha yet! Worry not, we’ve got just the recipe for you to make your own pitcher here.

 

Insects

DSSC Food Trends 2017
Pancakes made with cricket flour; Image: sfchronicle.com

Protein source, check. Sustainability, check, Taste, check (yes, really). Crickets have been doing the rounds as an acceptable food option. Before you get goose pimples thinking of biting into these creepy crawlies, the industry has come up with more ‘regular’ variants of digging into these critters. Think insect flour, snack bars, smoothies, cakes & bakes, and the like. With the special ingredient having no overpowering flavour of its own, it easily takes on the flavour profile of anything it’s cooked with – making it less cringe worthy for you to take a bite. So go on, stir the adventurer in you, do your bit for the environment, and inject some insect in your diet!

 

And that’s a wrap. Here’s to an experimental 2017 and and even better 2018!

 

Featured Image Courtesy: hiptruck.com