With summer all but a distant memory, many of us are already starting to think about Christmas. Whether you’re planning a meal for loved ones, an office Christmas do, remember that it’s the food that people will be talking about long after the festivities have been and gone.
With this in mind we’ve taken a look at some of the top Christmas foodie trends!
1. Meat Free
Veganism is no longer reserved for the hipsters. According to Marks & Spencer Foods, 3.5 million people in the UK now call themselves vegan, and many more have cut down on meat and have at least two meat-free meals a week. It’s not all about meat either, vegan wines are also on the up.
Rum is on the rise and strongly tipped to be the next big thing in the world of alcohol. Small-batch craft rums and those made on home soil, have seen the successes Gin has had and want in on the action.
3. Low or no alcohol
It’s not all about alcohol over Christmas for some, low or no alcohol is apparently the rising trend in bars and pubs across the UK. According to recent research, the number of Brits who do not drink at all has reached 5.4 million, up 35% from 2013. This Christmas, expect to see lots of 0.5% ABV craft beers and alcohol-free spirits.
4. Afro-Caribbean Flavours
Afro-Caribbean cuisine is one of the hottest cuisines right now. With its rich and vibrant flavours and subtle use of chilli, it has mass appeal. Expect to see more exotic fruit, such as guava, passion fruit and dragon fruit, but also more unusual dishes such as cuttlefish and shrimp paste.
5. Healthy fats
Forget the low-fat foods that have been trendy for decades, fats are officially ‘in’ again. But don’t expect goose fat on your roast potatoes. It’s the super-healthy coconut and avocado oil where it’s at, alleviating you of any fatty food-filled Christmas guilt.
Fancy a serving of goat on your Christmas plate this year? Since the campaign to stop the waste slaughter of male Billies in the goat dairy industry, goat meat is popping up on more and more menus of trendy restaurants across the country. Meat from young goats is mild-flavoured, tender and comparable to lamb.
7. Raclette Get Together
Nostalgic dishes that instil people with a sense of togetherness and comfort are making a comeback. So why not get your guests to do some DIY raclette cooking, it’ll guarantee a few laughs.
8. Red Cabbage
This Christmas red cabbage will be served with pride. Aimed specifically at healthy eaters, cabbage is the next big thing in the foodservice industry. Expect to see red cabbage chips or crisps, or a starter of red cabbage enchiladas.
9. Ugly Veg
It’s slowly becoming more acceptable to serve fruit and veg which aren’t looking shiny and perfect. So this Christmas expect to see some ugly sprouts, misshapen parsnips or bruised roast potatoes.
10. Alternative Greens
Greens are the stars of the show this year, and next to your cauliflower and cabbage, expect to see some lichen or sea kelp. As foraging for ingredients and sustainable sourcing are popular, anything Mother Nature gives us that’s remotely edible is now cutting-edge.
11. Hidden Veggies
With high fat-low carb-low sugar diets gaining in popularity, many people are keen to increase their intake of vegetables, but without forgoing life’s indulgences. Expect to see more hidden veggie dishes such as ‘courgetti’ Bolognese and cauliflower pizza bases.
12. British meat
Research suggests at least 82% per cent of us will still be serving up the traditional turkey for Christmas. But what’s new is the increase in demand for British-reared meat. The popularity of Norfolk Black and Bronze turkeys are on the rise and expect the pork crackling to be made with British, not Danish pork this year.
13. Za’atar Spice Mix
This Christmas, expect your turkey to be basted with some exotic spices, such as za’atar. Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix consisting of oregano, thyme, sumac, ground sesame seeds, and salt and is sure to add an exotic twist to your meal.
14. Extreme Ice Cream
Move over vanilla and make way for some unique and exciting ice cream flavours. Served as an appetiser rather than a dessert, expect to taste savoury swirls of black pudding, pork-pie, seaweed or cheese ice cream.
15. Ocean-inspired flavours
By capturing the essence of the sea, natural ocean-inspired foods are set to delight tastebuds. Start infusing butter with seaweed, crisping salmon skins and folding ice-cream with lobster meat. Bringing the fresh taste of the sea to the plate in a unique way.
16. Cheese Feast
A guaranteed winner with all, the traditional cheese board is making a comeback on Christmas menus. It will satisfy most festive diners from the meat-eaters to the veggies.
17. Bitter Flavours
As we’ve seen bitter cocktails like Aperol Spritz and Negorinis gaining in popularity, the ‘bitter’ trend will set into the general food & drink market too. For your Christmas meal think black coffee, dark chocolate, char-grilled meats and craft beers.
The fact that mushrooms are packed with nutrients and high in antioxidants isn’t new. The fact they’re being used in anything from coffee and chocolate bars to beauty products and burgers is. Expect some confit or pickled mushrooms on your Christmas dinner plate, perhaps served with a mushroom-based cocktail.
19. Oat Milk
Calling all ‘normal’ milk drinkers – try oat milk! Drinkers of alternative milk already know this: oat milk is the best of the bunch. It’s creamy, satisfying and froths up perfectly. After dinner oat milk latte anyone?
‘Mindfoodness’ entails eating with mindfulness and attention. Take the time to enjoy eating together. A perfect time to employ this practice is at your Christmas party when you finally have time to enjoy the company and the food.