The culinary world is being reshaped by innovative creations and cutting-edge ideas. So far, 2018 looks to be an exhilarating year for food lovers, with plenty of vibrant palates, floral notes, futuristic technology and scrumptious events to get your teeth stuck into.
This year, restaurateurs and home cooks alike are raving about the power of plants. While edible flowers have long been a source of decoration, consumers are now realising the healing and health potentials of botanicals. Plants and flowers are fast becoming an integral component in various beverages, baked goods and treats. Not only does this movement introduce some colour onto the plate, it also offers us some much-needed nutrients and minerals. Common ingredients to hit the market include ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), lavender, curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) and the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree.
Welcome to the future
2018 has already played witness to some significant culinary advancements. Particularly, there has been notable growth in companies focused on meat-mimicking technology. Brands like Impossible Foods are utilising heme—a molecule which makes up part of the haemoglobin compound—and sourcing it from the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of legumes. This component provides their company’s veggie burgers with an unmistakable meaty flavour. Meanwhile, cell-cultured meat is also gaining a lot of traction. Startups like Finless Foods are disrupting the agriculture industry with their work on cell-cultured Bluefin tuna. Tying in with this, the building popularity of smart cooking appliances is injecting the average kitchen with a distinctly space-age feel.
As the health brigade soldiers on, sugar remains at the top of the list for dietary no-nos. Consumers are demanding sweeteners have the same moreish flavour as sugar, but include fewer calories, a lower glycaemic impact and a more sustainable approach to farming. Manufacturers have responded with alternative syrups and granulated sugars made from coconut, dates, grapes, monk fruit and various other roots—all of which are growing in popularity. Additionally, the launch of the UK Sugar Tax has already rendered noticeable results in the food and drink industry. Various brands have reduced the sugar content of their products and are demonstrating transparency with their nutritional labelling.
London, 31 August-3 September
Herbivores, keep clear; this isn’t your scene. However, if you love meat in every form—whether its succulent lamb, tenderized steak or aromatic veal—this is the event for you. Meat vendors will fire up their BBQs and set up shop at the old Tobacco Dock in east London, offering roasted prime cuts to eager punters. Pop-up bars stocking fine ales, wines and spirits will quench the thirst of attendees and ensure the frivolities continue late into the evening.
Aldeburgh Food Festival
Suffolk, 29-30 September
Set against a scenic Suffolk backdrop, this charming event is for serious food lovers. Now in its 13th year, over 100 food and drink producers will be taking part in this two-day affair. Families and groups of friends will rejoice at the sight of the delicious food on offer: from organic vegetables, homemade pies and fresh sourdough to award-winning beers.
Seafood and Wine Festival
Hastings, 15-16 September
Every year, come September, the historic old town of Hastings plays host to swarms of people in search of satisfying sustenance. Approximately 40 food stalls will cater this event, with a huge emphasis on all things nautical. A plethora of freshly caught fish and molluscs will be served up with tasty accompaniments, all washed down with local wines.
For those who like their whiskey iced but not diluted, these nifty devices are for you. Spirit stones are cooled in the freezer and added to your whiskey or another spirit of choice—genius!
This digital micro coffee roaster is operated using your iPad or smartphone—a nifty way to get a freshly-made cup of Joe to perk you up in the morning.
Kilner Fermentation Set
The Kilner Fermentation Set allows you to ferment foods that are rich in minerals, vitamins and probiotic cultures. Make your own kimchi, sauerkraut or preserved lemons—the possibilities are endless.