‘Health’ and ‘gastronomy’ used to be mutually exclusive concepts, but if one major trend has marked the new millennium, it is the passion for healthy, Mediterranean-style delights made with free range meat, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and of course, Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Such is the passion for colorful ‘slow food’ dishes that Business Insider recently heralded the big boom in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine across the U.S. Diners want flavor, but they don’t want it at the expense of an expanding waistline. Check out three newer health food trends that will ensure that you look as good on the outside as you feel on the inside.
If you thought that grazing and sticking to a healthy diet were impossible, think again. It’s all about what you choose to serve on your trays, and this year, the spotlight is on organic, zero-kilometre fare that can be shared in a group. Think an ample-sized tray of mezze, comprising various MiddleEastern delights such as kefta, chicken skewers, kebby, labne, hummus, and taboule. Note that the trays contain some fried items, but also fresh salads made with nutrient-packed ingredients like parsley and freshly chopped seasonal tomatoes. Grazing tables are the perfect opportunity to serve local products. Shared cheese platters, Mediterranean salad bars, or Middle Eastern bites go well with both wine and craft beer. As noted by Arizona restaurateur Ryan Hibbert, the key to keeping a grazing table exciting is to surprise your guests with homegrown delicacies they may not have known existed.
Spanish celebrity Chef Ángel León (whose restaurant in the Coastal area of Cadiz boasts no fewer than three Michelin stars) is largely responsible for major discoveries of the potential of seaweed. The Chef has not only discovered new culinary species of plankton and algae, but also managed to incorporate them into traditional spanish dishes. How does a plankton paella with ali-oli tartar sound, for instance? The passion for seaweed is taking over the U.S. as well, with Whole Foods having recently announced that it would have many more sea-based snacks (including vegetarian tuna and seaweed butter!) Seaweed not only lends itself to different textures and food types, but is also super rich in vitamins and nutrients like iodine and tyrosine (which support thyroid function). Seaweed also contains a plethora of antioxidants, which help fight free radicals that age you prematurely and cause disease.
It’s summer, and that means one thing: everyone’s screaming for ice-cream! Forget about flavors previously considered nouvelle, though. Salty caramel, watermelon and Kinder Surprise take a backseat. America is ready to tuck into newer varieties such as avocado, hummus, and of course, yuzu - the cumquat-like fruit used so often in Japanese cuisine and cocktails. There will also be more refined citrus flavors available, including tangerine and blood orange.The plethora of new combinations is very much in line with other top trends. Diners who dream of traveling the world can now do so, at least gastronomically. They can also rest assured that what they are consuming contains much more than just sugar and dairy. Rather, ingredients such as olive oil will be used to add extra creaminess while boosting your Omega-3 intake.
Light grazing, seaweed delights, and power-packed fruit and veggie ice-creams are just a few new food trends that pay respect to health as much as to flavor. Simplicity and a passion for Mediterranean-style munching are in, as is the penchant for world flavors that differ subtly from local fare. Finally, zero kilometre cuisine continues to hold sway, which is very much in line with renewed interest in healthy, organic cuisine that hasn’t traveled many miles to make it to your table.
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