Be a fashionable foodie this autumn
You might well know your chia seeds from your lamb cheeks, but to help you stay ahead this autumn, Claire O'Mahony has all the latest foodie trends
You might well know your chia seeds from your lamb cheeks, but to help you stay ahead this autumn, here are all the latest foodie trends
Fat was in the dietary wilderness until it finally began to sink in that it was evil carbs that were contributing to our ever expanding waist lines. Pure, natural, flavoursome fats, which beef dripping contains, are having a moment right now.
"It's a wonderful gift from nature," says fifth-generation butcher Pat Whelan, whose dripping was recently declared one of the Top 50 best foods in the UK and Ireland at the Great Taste Awards.
"It's a heritage food and something we've all grown up with and once people taste it, it brings them back to a really nostalgic place of their childhood."
As well as making outrageously good chips and roasties, it's pretty special when slathered on bread.
Kouign Amann - the new cronut
Say hello to Kouign Amann, a traditional Breton yeasted pastry. A puffy creation made by layering dough with sugar and butter, it's tricky to make at home and none of the bakers on The Great British Bake Off had heard of it when it was set as a challenge.
But now Marks & Spencers, in what is one of the quickest product turnarounds ever, have the French pastry on the shelves in their Dundrum and Grafton Street stores.
Mexican - the new Middle East
If you think you've got your finger on the culinary pulse by serving up something with pomegranate seeds from Yotam Ottolenghi's new book at your dinner parties, sadly this is not the case.
Middle Eastern food screams middle-class foodie and those in the know are looking to other cuisines.
"Middle Eastern has been big for six years now and still it continues, but I think it's probably gotten more mainstream now and you can probably get the ingredients everywhere," says Rachel Firth, general manager at food emporium Fallon & Byrne. "Mexican is growing and growing for us in terms of cooking at home. We sell a lot of Willie's Cacao 100pc chocolate, which people are using to make Mexican moles. We do an enormous amount of different chillies and people are making their own tortillas and tacos at home."
Vegetable yoghurts - new frozen yoghurt
These are proving to be a surprise hit in New York after Blue Hill Farm rolled out a range of artisan yoghurts in flavours that include butternut squash and carrot.
It can't be long before something similar arrives here but in the meantime give a fruit/veg hybrid yoghurt a shot with The Collectiv Dairy's blackcurrant and beetroot version.
Seaweed - the new quinoa
You don't have to look too far for the next superfood. Irish seaweed is among the best in the world and it's bursting with vitamins, minerals and potent antioxidants. And it's not just for sushi. Snack on it or throw it into smoothies and soups.
At The Woollen Mills restaurant at Dublin's Ha'penny Bridge they have a moreish dillisk brown soda bread that serves as a fine example of how great seaweed is in baked goods.
Umami butter - the new chef's secret
Alongside Maldon sea salt, the on-trend foodie's larder must contain a flavoured butter. Irish butter has a worldwide reputation for its quality and a host of companies are creating their own spin on it.
The Atlantic Sea Food Company's Irish shellfish butter delivers the ultimate umami taste sensation. Also try the wonderfully titled Improper Butter - founded by Elaine Lavery and Hannah O'Reilly - in flavours such as Cashel Blue cheese, chive and black pepper. They bring a bit of glam to the humble baked spud.
Korean food - the new culinary trend
Food experts are suggesting that Korean food is about to get massive and we're seeing it already with new restaurant openings in Dublin like Hailn Korean on Dame Stree, which serves Korean BBQ.
Foodies are also trying it at home, according to Fallon & Byrne's Firth.
"More people are looking for kimchi and gochujang, a Korean red pepper sauce. It's picking up a little bit and it's really big in the States and I think it's something that's going to grow."
Craft cider - the new artisan beer
Now that craft beers have become ubiquitous, it must be time to jump on another drinks trend. You can banish the thought of the sickly sweet stuff of your misspent youth - because Irish craft cider is relatively dry.
The gluten-free movement is also fuelling its popularity, as it's not made with grain. Orpen's, Dan Kelly's and Longueville House are all labels to knowingly name check and it makes for a lovely autumnal drink.
Cauliflower - the new kale
There was a hipster panic earlier this year when it was reported that kale's popularity was leading to a world-wide shortage. But that's ok, because if you're up on your food trends you will have stopped buying into the cult of kale and are embracing the cauliflower instead.
Reasons to love it include the fact that it makes a superb and low-carb alternative to potato when mashed; it's packed full of vitamins; herbs and spices perk it up immeasurably; and you can slice them down the middle and grill them to make steaks for a veggie dinner with the wow factor.
The Happy Pear twins - ireland's answer to new Hemsley sisters
There's been a lot of noise made in foodie circles about the radiant Hemsley sisters, Jasmine and Melissa. The beautiful duo's first cookbook The Art of Eating Well, which advocates wholesome food and avoiding refined sugars, stormed up the best-seller list earlier this year.
In Ireland, we have our own version in the form of David and Stephen Flynn. The twin brothers behind the hugely popular Happy Pear cafe in Greystones, Co Wicklow, have brought out their first book of recipes and stories from their first year in business and the photogenic pair are a good advertisement for the healthy, plant-based diet that they promote.
Drinking vinegar - the new green juice
Sad face if you've just spent a fortune on your cold-pressed juicer, which was probably hell to clean anyway. But the new health beverage on the block is vinegar, with Gwyneth Paltrow and Miranda Kerr leading the way.
The medical benefits are said to be improved digestion, curbed appetite and glowing skin. Proof of its growing popularity is a new London restaurant Raw Duck in Hackney - its location guarantees it's on trend and it has an large menu of drinking vinegars.