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Last night we welcomed in a new year from the Westminster rooftop of the lovely Mr Jones with fireworks and Champagne. It was a time to look back with a warm heart and full stomach at the new foods that we indulged on in 2012 and to contemplate how they will evolve in the coming year.

Foxcroft & ginger

2012 was a year of austerity and a time to nurture our souls with casual tasty foods that we know and love:

1. Snack food: toasted cheese sandwiches, designer hot dogs, southern chicken & burgers all served in dedicated casual eateries and on the street

2. Barbecue and smoked meats to give new flavour to cheap cuts

3. Noodles in all shapes and forms to make us feel healthy

4. The all embracing no reservations policy, much to the annoyance of many

5. Chicken, chicken and more chicken…proven to be the ultimate therapy

6. Gin in many and varied forms

7. Foraging: going back to the land

8. Peruvian food

9. Popcorn in all flavours

10: Bacon, served up both savoury and sweet, which will always be the ultimate comfort food

So what of 2013? Whilst I am definitely in no position to predict personal good fortunes, I can look at the food and drink and pass comment there. So here are a few thoughts to get the year going:

Mary's Fish Camp, NYC, Lobster Roll

Mary’s Fish Camp, NYC, Lobster Roll

1. Add lobster rolls to the snacking fashion. Personally this is not something I have particularly enjoyed, but it seems to be up there on the list of things hitting our menus very soon.

2. Asian sauces with extra heat. It seems all things Asian will continue to grow and as our palettes get used to the flavours, we can take on more and more heat, so Sriracha chilli sauce goes mainstream by coming to an M&S store near you.

3. All things fermented and pickled, as epitomised by Kimchee which will continue to take over the restaurant world this year. The whole balance of sweet, sour, salty, bitter is going to be more and more prevalent.

Yum Bun Pork Bun

Yum Bun Pork Bun

4. Chinese steamed buns. Momofuku has been making these from the start and this year Yum Bun have been up there in bringing their pillow of pork belly into the mainstream so I am sure it will appear on many more menus in 2013. If not, go to Yum Bun at Kings Cross as it really is a beautiful thing.

5. Foraging remains strong as we continue our love affair with all things Noma, and this will progress with regional food trails and more weird and wonderful green things making star appearances on our plates.

6. Savoury desserts: look out for more bacon inspired sweets, along with the fashion for savoury doughnuts which is spreading fast.

Fauchon eclairs

Fauchon eclairs

7. In contrast, sweeter than sweet desserts and pastries will continue to entice. Fauchon lead the way with their incredible array of wonderful eclairs and there is also a big fashion for marshmallow, brittles and nougat.

8. Don’t despair, because we are also getting cleverer at using nature’s finest. The healthier and more aware among us are using natural sweetness from fruits to inject fresh natural sugar into our food. There will also be more vege starters on menus and intensity of both taste and colour coming from home grown goodness.

9. In the same vein, we will see healthy foods play a big part as ever in our food as superfoods, wonderful oils, healthy grains and so on will continue to dominate our food choices, along with a big nod from our vegan friends who are bringing products like agave syrup into the mainstream.

bobs-bitters

10. Following on from gin we will get our alcohol hits with infusions. There are now a huge array of bitters on the market which are being put to good use by mixologists from far and wide. They will continue to evolve in our drinks and be accompanied with tonics, syrups and flavoured vinegars which will bring new excitement into our cocktails.

So cheers to you all. Happy new year and here’s to a wonderful indulgent food filled 2013.

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