What you will read below is a very subjective list of last year’s trends in the world of wine and gastronomy, including the great return of Chardonnay as a strain and our growing appetite for brunches, those breakfasts that turn into lunches. But let’s not waste time. Let’s review all of them:
1. Fermented and healthy
There is no magazine or blog that does not shout about the importance of healthy foods. Many of them today talk about some harmful products (anti-gluten multiply at the speed of light), while others promote miracle recipes for our colon and good digestion in general. Let’s go to the bone. Bone broth and fermented foods are best for the health of our colon. So is. Among the fermented foods with the highest amounts of probiotics are the famous kimchi, miso and kefir. But do not forget the humble prebiotics like onions and garlic. They are fundamental. Another very important ferment is wine, especially natural, organic and biodynamic, which today is the real boom, especially in the European market and in some Asian countries.
2. Latin flavors
From my point of view, 2018 was a great year for Latin America. The Mexican, Peruvian and Brazilian cuisine, along with the Japanese-Mexican fusion, shined with their own lights. The Colombian and Venezuelan arepas [cornbreads], the Peruvian ceviche, the chicha [a Peruvian drink of fermented corn], the Chilean and Peruvian avocado, and the old grains, such as quinoa and chía, have definitely reached stardom. On the other hand, purple potatoes, white and purple corn, black quinoa and kiwicha seeds are on the rise.
In terms of wines, the consumer is beginning to privilege the territorial pairing. However, several of the mentioned countries do not yet have a wine industry that is too developed. We know that Chile, Argentina and Uruguay dominate the continent. The Latin consumer prefers his own wines or at least those of the neighbor, but not only the classic ones of always. Today he also looks for oddities like Chilean País or Argentine Bonarda.
3. Vegan, vegetarian and “brain food”
A year has gone by with a tremendous awareness for health. We are learning about healthy foods, not only for our intestines, but also for the proper functioning of our brain. Today we activate and search the markets for products such as turmeric, salmon, eggs, dandelion leaves and jicama (Mexican yam).
With this same spirit, the importance of local products grew a lot and, on the other hand, the irruption of vegetarian and vegan diets. Today there are more and more chefs that include ingredients such as tofu, tempeh or chickpeas in their menus.
Finally, for several seasons rosé wines are gaining an important space in our tables, a style of fresh and light wine, which matches perfectly with many dishes that contain vegetable protein. In my travels around the world, this year I saw everything pink.
4. Native & ethnic
The last trend that caught my attention is the growing presence of ethnic food. The chefs taught us to incorporate exotic ingredients into our usual meals. It was the irruption of the merken a few years ago (the spicy and smoked Mapuche mixture of chili and coriander seeds). Today the local color and the rescue of the native flavors is more than a fashion in the whole world. It is a trip without return.
It is super subjective to define a perfect wine food marriage. About our tastes nothing is written. There is not a single style of wine that harmonizes with all the vegetarian or oriental recipes. But I do dare to recommend a style that presents a symphony of aromas, weights and sweetness. I’m talking about sparkling wines. In 2018 they simply exploded and left us with a tremendous lesson: bubbles are not reserved only for special occasions, but they are the perfect companion for countless occasions, from a brunch to a romantic dinner, from a veggie burger to sushi, from the appetizer to the dessert.
I still do not say goodbye in 2018, because very soon I will comment on the trends for 2019. Stay tuned for what is coming.