Food Trends This Summer

Matcha ice cream, fermented foods, poke and more.

Is summer the trendiest time of the year?

Some say yes; others say trends take hold during the December holiday season.

Many, however, believe that trends in food come into focus in the summertime, when folks are out and about and dining in restaurants where the latest in all things culinary are offered.

So: What to look for, as the official start of summer approaches this week with Memorial Day Weekend? Here’s a list for you to check twice—or even more often—in the Summer of 2018:

1) Ice cream: rolled; featuring local ingredients; sporting “healthy” flavors, such as matcha or avocado.

2) Non-alcoholic drinks: craft sodas, with natural sweeteners (honey) or herbal accents (lavender, mint) or nothing but natural ingredients; botanical mixers; mocktails.

3) Fermented foods: kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut and preserves of all stripes.

4) South American influences: Visit the mothership for South American fare in New Jersey, Maricel Presilla’s Cucharamama in Hoboken, to get the overview, then notice quinoa and chia on menus everywhere; Brazilian, Peruvian and Venezulean restaurants popping up all over; arepas (little corn “pizzas”) cornering the breakfast, lunch and dinner market.

5) Purple foods: potatoes, kale, cauliflower and more.

6) Poke: now-ubiquitous bowls in freestanding poke places; on menus in restaurants beyond Hawaiian and Asian; riffs on fish with chicken, vegetables and grains playing the lead roles.

7) Meat-free/plant-based meals: lentils, the aforementioned quinoa and rice-flour breads serving as the base.

8) Middle Eastern flavors: tahini truly takes hold; sumac’s sour power stars in new ways.

9) Anti-inflammatory eating: Gluten-free (GF) is just about mainstream; turmeric accents more and more food and drink; “gut-friendly” becomes “GF2.”

10) Local, local, local: From “grown within 50 miles” to “grown right here on our farm,” “local” isn’t a trend; it’s a choice that benefits personal health and everyone’s economy.

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