As we delve deeper into 2014, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the rest of this year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and the recent gourmet food trucks trend. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a few food trends touched on, yet they still have not flourished. Read on to find out five food trends to pay attention to this year.

5. Frozen S’mores

From the creative minds behind the world famous Cronut comes new, never-before-seen desserts. Last year, the release of the Cronut went viral, and soon the entire world would go hysterical to try one. Plenty of knockoffs now exist around the world, but none compare to the original in New York. Now that same purveyor has introduced another luscious creation – the Frozen S’mores. Just like the Cronut, Frozen S’mores combines two completely different foods: ice cream and s’mores. This inside-out hybrid starts with an ice cream center, wrapped in a chocolate cookie/wafer, then stuffed inside a marshmallow. This gets frozen to maintain its shape, and whenever a lucky customer orders one, the customer receives it flash-torched to quickly crisp the outside while maintaining the frozen center. The past few years have always seen some type of new pastry or dessert that becomes a hot food trend for that year. Perhaps in 2014, the Frozen S’mores will expand beyond its home in New York and find new stomachs to nestle in around the world.

4. Ice Cream inside unexpected foods

Following up from the previous entry, we can all agree that everyone loves ice cream. Even vegan and gluten-free people love ice cream, or at least their versions of it (sorbet, etc). Traditionally served in a cone or straight up in a cup or bowl, multiple generations have enjoyed this cold treat throughout their lives. In the past few decades, we slightly see more and more ice cream inside unexpected foods. Sure an ice cream cake made sense, and only a matter of time separated the first ice cream cake from the first ice cream cupcake. Then people started inserting ice cream into any sort of dessert, such as ice cream cannolis, ice cream tacos, and deep-fried ice cream. But then where does one go from there? Once all the dessert ideas run out, start looking into meals. Would you boldly try a burger with ice cream in it? (Slater’s 50/50, first photo above) As strange as that sounds, it did not taste bad, but the rest of the burger masked the ice cream in it. The latest craze to hit the airwaves comes to us from Orange County, where ravenous millennials can wrap their hands around ice cream-filled doughnuts. (Afters Ice Cream, second photo above) This time, I feel that they just want to capitalize on a fad, as this tastes exactly how you picture it in your mind – a doughnut (glazed or non-glazed) with ice cream. But with the advent of this, who honestly knows where the culinary world will go from here?

3. Japanese meets Western

Last year, the revelation of the Ramen Burger (Go Squared, first photo above) turned into the most talked-about subject during its 15 minutes of fame. No one had seen anything like it before, and when an opportunity to try one locally cropped up, the entire region flocked to the destination, generating lines lasting over three hours just to try this new food. Once the fad settled, knockoffs appeared everywhere in an attempt to capitalize on the public’s desire to keep up with trends. We now see many different ways where Japanese cuisine meets Western preparations in addition to a Ramen Burger. Somewhere out there, a Ramen Pizza exists. Elsewhere, creative home cooks have discovered how to make things like Ramen omelets, Ramen burritos, Ramen chili, Ramen casserole, and many more things with Ramen in it. But why stop at Ramen? Japanese cuisine consists of far more different foods than just that 10-cent college meal every adult recognizes. Have you heard of Okonomiyaki? Some genius decided to attempt an Okonomiyaki Burger (Mitsuwa Marketplace, second photo above) one day. How about everyone’s favorite Japanese food, sushi? Hybrid sushi has already existed for some time, such as a Cheeseburger Sushi or Teriyaki Pork Sushi (Yatta Truck, third photo above). What other creative things can you think of to do with Japanese cuisine?

2. Hot Sauces

If you have not heard the news about Sriracha sauce, the city of Irwindale, which houses the primary facility that produces Sriracha sauce, aims to shut down the factory due to foul odors emanating from the facility. Thanks to this scare that Sriracha sauce in the United States may cease to exist, chefs, home cooks, and food fans across the country scrambled to search for suitable hot sauces to replace their beloved rooster sauce. Plenty of different types of hot sauces exist, and Americans already have fallen in love with both Tabasco and Tapatío sauces. However, nothing can truly replace Sriracha sauce – its combination of ingredients yield an intense spice full of harmonic flavors that help to open up one’s palate to fully absorb the food that the sauce dresses. In fact, Los Angeles even hosted a festival dedicated to Sriracha recently. Heat seekers swear by Sriracha, and will have to look high and low for new hot sauces to satisfy their need for heat.

1. Cauliflower

Every year, some obscure vegetable that nobody ever paid much attention to enters the spotlight and suddenly becomes a thing that everyone wants. In 2012, Brussels sprouts came out of nowhere and took the world by storm, leaving everyone craving more Brussels sprouts. In 2013, everyone suddenly wanted to eat more kale. Now in 2014, we see the inevitable rise in the popularity of cauliflower. Traditionally seen in salads, creative chefs have come up with new ways to deliver cauliflower such that casual customers would crave more, such as Roasted Cauliflower (Tavern On 2, pictured above) with ingredients like capers, bacon, and more. Sooner than later, much like with Brussels sprouts and kale in the previous years, people originally adverse to cauliflower may turn a new leaf this year and give it a try. With high nutritional density, people can view cauliflower as similar to broccoli in terms of serving. More importantly, nutritionists have linked the consumption of cauliflower to reduced risk of prostate cancer. Gentlemen… eat more cauliflower!

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  1. […] …famous Cronut comes new, never-before-seen desserts. Last year, the release of the Cronut went viral … Frozen S’mores . Just like the Cronut , Frozen S’mores combines two completely different foods: ice…See all stories on this topic […]

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