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Remember that year wasabi was everywhere? How about that time kale was unavoidable? Food trends happen every year, and this year is no different. We’re big into flavor around here, so we uncovered five of the 2018 flavor trends industry insiders are talking about. Read on to keep your taste buds on the cutting edge. 

Spicy gets interesting – Introducing spice to American palates calibrated to a heat tolerance of mayo has been a slow process, but the last few years have seen us finally moving beyond straight heat into a kick with complexity. 2018 is taking it further. Sambal and chamoy sauce are a couple of ways you’ll run into that will expand your understanding of heat.  

 

Herbaceous healing – Food as medicine isn’t a new idea, but it’s certainly never gotten its due in our culture. Fortunately, herbs and roots with distinct flavors and healing benefits are about to have their day in the sun. Look for Moringa, elderflower, turmeric, and dandelion root to show up on menus in everything from green drinks to cakes to this recipe for muffins. 

Global specialties– Gone are the days where the neighborhood Chinese joint was the most exotic option in town. Americans’ appetites for the varying flavors of world cuisines are growing. Experts can’t seem to agree what will take over this year, but they’re eyeing East African, Israeli, Filipino, and Peruvian foods as front-runners. We vote for having them all.

Smoking is back – The flavor imparted by fiery wood isn’t restricted to barbecue anymore. Hickory and applewood notes that call up memories of campfires and dutch oven dinners will cross into desserts and beverages. Watch for smoke paired with caramel, chocolate, cardamom, or peach. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it. Yours too? Try making this.

Hot pot – Though not a flavor, hot pots are an exceptional vehicle for it–and they are going to be everywhere in the coming months. Many cultures have their version of hot pot meals, so flavor experiences will cover a wide range. Want something spicy with a coconut milk base? Hot pots provide. How about earthy and tomatoey? Hot pots have your back. Clear buttery broth? Hot. Pot. The hardest decision will be which to try first.

Now that you know a few of the flavor trends for the year, it’ll be hard not to see them everywhere. Which trend do you think will make its mark?

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