New year food trends

Food trends are pretty interesting if you are into that sort of thing. We have reached full saturation point with kale, quinoa, and avocado. Middle Eastern cuisine is now considered everyday, and the once mysterious coconut water has become available in the chilled drinks cabinet in all but the most rural of shops.

There was a time when the flat white was the most hipster of all the coffees, but now it is as common as a cappuccino. We are rushing into 2019 to see all the new food trends it has to offer — seaweed butter, kelp noodles, beetroot, matcha, and turmeric lattes. There has been the rise and fall of hot dogs, ribs, and burritos as street food continues to be popular, and this year poutine promises to become the new nachos.

As we stand poised at the beginning of another gastronomic year, we take a look back at some of the top food trends and what is in store for our 2019 Instagram feed. Have you heard of 'motherless meat'?. It will be big in 2019 apparently, but since the lab-grown meat is still so expensive it is unlikely to end up here any time soon. According to the vegan society the number of vegans has doubled in the past two years with more and more of us giving up meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and even honey. Close to half are in the 15 to 34 age category, which would suggest the number of children adopting the lifestyle is also on the up.

Launched in the UK in January 2014, Veganuary encourages people to try a vegan diet and lifestyle for the month of January. As the annual meat-free campaign gets into full swing, it is clear this is not so much a 'food trend' as a mainstream lifestyle choice — and one that is only set to rise.

In Galway the choice for vegans continues to expand, good choices are The Light House, TGO Falafel Bar, The Quay Street Kitchen — even Milanos has got on board with an expanded vegan menu.

Galway's obsession with 'in-between' meals was noticeable in 2018 with brunch and afternoon tea continuing to gain traction. The trend in Galway for Asian cuisine continued with an explosion of noodle bars, at last count there was seven Papa Riches. And proving that the carnivores are still alive and well, gourmet burger restaurants sprang up in every nook and cranny.

While wine bars and whiskey bars are all very well, it was the gin bar that captured imaginations. The explosion in Irish craft distilleries was well placed to feed the trend — from Bertha's Revenge, Blackwater, Dingle, and Gunpowder to our own Galway Gin and Eglinton Pink Gin created for An Púcán.

Vegetables came to the fore last year with more households now cooking at least one vegetarian meal per week even if they are meat eaters. Trending ingredients included seaweed, celeriac, and broccoli leaves. Recipes for pickling vegetables abound online and in food magazines, whether preserving through traditional methods or using quick pickling techniques. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha, already common household names, continue to be popular. People are more willing to experiment, making their own mead, yogurt, paneer, and tofu at home. The yogurt aisle expanding with so much more than cows’ milk yogurt now for sale. You can buy Greek yogurt, labneh, skyr, and kefir.

There are plenty of non-dairy alternatives, like coconut, almond, and rice milk. Brands are replacing low-fat yogurts with full-fat varieties, as public opinion shifts to match the research showing that fat is not the bad guy it was once thought it to be, there is now such a thing as good fat.

The best news for 2019 is that healthy eating is no longer a trend, but a mainstream way that people eat on a daily basis, abandoning processed foods in favour of food made from scratch using good quality ingredients. 'Clean eating' will hopefully stay dead and buried, a cover for perpetuating the guilt associated with bad or 'dirty' food choices and an excuse for charging €10 for a 'smashed' avocado on rye.

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