2013 was the year where food lovers couldn't eat enough cronuts. Ramen enraptured the inner-city lunch crowds. Frozen yogurt franchises multiplied like an out of control bacterial culture while food trucks popped up in ever increasing numbers.
So what will 2014 bring? What will be the new cronut, pork belly, chocolateria, or the next macaroon sensation?
1. Aussie Bush Tucker
Native Australian food has threatened to be the next big thing for years and it has sadly always managed to under-deliver. 2013 saw celebrity chef Kylie Kwong consolidate her Chinese/bush tucker cuisine with salt bush, yabbies, wallaby, warrigal greens and lemon myrtle flavours on the menu. 'Watts on Crown' in Sydney's Surry Hills have been serving their signature Kangaroo and Warrigal Greens for well over a year now. Finger limes, bush tomato and kangaroo are appearing on more and more menus.
2014 however, is shaping up to be a very different story for native food. Supermarket giant, Coles, are bringing celebrity super chef Heston Blumenthal down under to promote Australian produce. Can he succeed in turning bush tucker from a novelty food to mainstream? The Heston range will include meat, deli, bakery and grocery produce that is distinctively Australian.
Australian spinach, otherwise known as warrigal greens. Will 2014 be their year?
The recent Worlds of Flavour conference in California has predicted that Peruvian food will be one of the big culinary trends of 2014.
According to an article from USA Today, Peruvian cuisine combines the ancient ingredients of the Incas with foods brought by Spanish conquistadors. Peruvian dishes "reflect the sea, the Amazon jungle and the Andes mountains," according to Virgilio Martinez from 'Central Restaurante' in Lima, Peru and Lima in London.
Peruvian restaurants are few and far between in Sydney. Try Inca's in Newtown, Pisco Pisco in Surry Hills or Misky Cravings in Fairfield.
A classic Peruvian Cerviche. Image: Inca's Restaurant website
3. Lebanese Pizza
2013 saw manoush or Lebanese pizzerias open up in unprecedented numbers in western Sydney but they've yet to make an impact in the inner city. 2014 should see the breakthrough. These tasty and cheap pizzas include the basic Oregano (oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, lemon and sumac), Sejuk (beef) and Vegies, or a delicious Labni (a yoghurty cheese) and vegies.
The humble cauliflower is tipped to be the hot veggie in 2014. Why you may ask? Colourful cauliflowers will hit the stores in increasing numbers, white, purple, green and orange. Cauliflower is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in dietary fibre, folate, water, and vitamin C.
Colourful Cauliflower (image: EBAY)
5. Date Molasses
This is my bolter for 2014. This Middle Eastern sweet syrupy goo has been around for centuries but it's one of those ingredients that makes everything delicious. Use it like honey, golden syrup or pomegranate molasses. It's more versatile, so you can dribble it over anything you can think of; toast, pancakes, cakes, ice cream, yogurt, salads, and baked vegetables or add it to your milk shake.
I found warrigal greens in our local community garden - interesting, crunchy, thickish leaves, I liked a few raw - then read they contain oxalic acid which can upset stomachs so don't eat much unless they are blanched and cooked
Looks like I may have to wait a while for these food trends to reach SA's distant shores. Although I never liked cauliflower the first time it was in vogue, I must confess I've never had a cronut in my mouth - that I was aware of!