6 food trends poised to blow up big in 2017

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      This time last year, we shared in this space predictions for 2016 food trends, with Baum + Whiteman, an international food-and-restaurant consulting company, pointing to poké as one.

      Boy, was it right: with the Poké Shop, Pacific Poké, and Poké Time just some of the eateries that specialize in the Hawaiian dish (of cubed raw fish) that have opened in Vancouver during the past 12 months, poké spots proved almost as popular as Pokémon Go stops last year.

      The year ahead, according to that New York–based powerhouse, will see a rise in breakfast sandwiches and tacos, fried chicken for the first meal of the day, the use of vegetable stems and trims (think beet greens, horseradish leaves, and carrot tops), and various types of squash, among other items. Plus, look for radishes everywhere.

      Here are a few more foods that are expected to be hot in 2017.

      Purple veggies

      Violet is where it’s at, with purple cauliflower, asparagus, sweet potatoes, and corn gaining popularity, and not just because they look striking on a plate.

      “We talk about eating the rainbow and eating a variety of different colours,” says Grant Daisley, Whole Foods Market’s associate marketing coordinator for Western Canada. “We’re really familiar with greens and reds and oranges, but purple is popping up more and more.... They’re really nutrient-dense and full of antioxidants.”

      Some of the things that produce that colour are anthocyanins—pigments with antioxidant properties—that give the veggies their bright hue and may have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anticancer benefits.


      Cowichan Pasta

      New noodles

      Look for pasta made of quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, veggies, and kelp.

      Cowichan Pasta, on Vancouver Island, has been pursuing this particular passion since 2010 and claims to be the first pasta company in Canada to make stone-ground noodles with ancient grains such as spelt, emmer, Khorasan, and red fife.



      Savoury seaweed

      Greens such as fresh and dried kelp, wakame, dulse, and nori will shine even more brightly this year, with Japanese-inspired eating beyond sushi becoming more mainstream.

      “We’re seeing nori everywhere—in kids’ snacks, even,” Daisley says. “Japanese cuisine, and the idea of eating fish and lots of vegetables, is associated with a healthy diet and lifestyle. We’re seeing more Japanese condiments, too,” like ponzu and plum vinegar.


      Amanda Siebert

      Craft cider

      Just as the craft-beer industry has exploded in these parts, a cider sector could well flourish. Some breweries, such as Central City, make their own cider, while other local companies, like the Fraser Valley Cider Company, are specializing in the beverage.

      “The raspberry cider they made this summer was so delicious,” says Angie Quaale—founder of Well Seasoned, a Langley gourmet-food store—of the latter. “There are so many interesting takes on craft cider. It’s a fun way to change the flavour profiles seasonally with the addition of local fruit and herbs.

      “For people that don’t want to, don’t like to, or actually can’t drink beer because of allergies, cider is a great, fresh alternative.”



      Nashville chicken

      Quaale is a barbecue expert (she has competed throughout North America), and she sees this smokin’-hot version of the crispy comfort food as the next big thing in the dish’s local evolution.

      “Nashville ‘hot’ is one of the hottest regional specialties in America,” she says. “It’s for fans of classic fried chicken who like to enjoy food with bursting flavours, particularly on the extreme side of spice.

      “The original recipe comes from a place called Hattie B’s. It is a dry-brined chicken, dredged in a seasoned-flour mixture after being soaked in milk, eggs, and hot sauce. The chicken is then fried until crispy and finally tossed in a saucy mixture of melted butter, lard, and, of course, lots of cayenne pepper and a bit of brown sugar.

      “It’s served with white bread and sweet pickles. I prefer mine considerably less fiery than the original version, but it’s that intense bit of heat, paired with the crispy hot chicken, that reminds you that you are alive.”



      Coconut flour

      Alternative flours are becoming more commonplace, and this particular type comes with numerous health benefits. It’s gluten-free; high in protein, fibre, and “good” fats; and low in sugar and calories.

      Flour made from the versatile nut/fruit/seed is appearing in wraps and can be used in other products.

      “Coconut flour or other alternatives cannot replace wheat flour cup for cup in baking, but they can be used in many recipes as a replacement,” Quaale says. “Dredged fish made with coconut or almond flour is phenomenal. Coconut flour also works well when used as an ingredient in the crumble topping of a fruit crumble or cobbler.”