The five weirdest food trends to watch for in 2014

The five weirdest food trends to watch for in 2014

Really expensive toast: coming soon to a quirky flea market near you Really expensive toast: coming soon to a flea market near you
 

Earlier this month, the American National Restaurant Association released its culinary forecast for 2014. The purpose of the report, which is based on a survey of over 1,300 American chefs, is to predict the food trends that will dominate restaurant menus in the upcoming year. While a few of this year’s findings are intriguing—Peruvian, for instance, is predicted to overtake Korean as the ethnic cuisine of choice—the takeaways are hardly Earth-shattering.

We learned that local food is still big; that chefs are determined to keep plying non-celiac sufferers with gluten-free foodstuffs; and that buzz terms like “sustainable,” “estate-branded” and “nose-to-tail” aren’t going anywhere. We also learned that charcuterie, quinoa, pickled veggies, hybrid desserts and barrel-aged cocktails are the food items of the future—a bit of a snooze, really, since they’re also the foods of the present. That’s why we scoured the web for some more exciting future food possibilities. Here, in no particular order, are five freaky food trends that could really change the way we eat in 2014.

1. BLOOD

Animal blood makes a great substitute for eggs, according to a report from Nordic Food Lab, a Denmark-based not-for-profit devoted to “investigat[ing] deliciousness and its systems.” The experimental lab subbed blood for eggs in a variety of desserts—including blood ice cream, blood meringues and startlingly scarlet blood pancakes—and got a panel of adventurous eaters to comment on the results. The only hitch? The difficult-to-mask “bloody aftertaste,” which reportedly caused “intense and unexpected responses” from some testers.

2. ARTISANAL TOAST

We’ve already become inured to the notion of dropping $15 on a single cocktail, not to mention $10 on a wedge of iceberg lettuce, so it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if fancy bread became the next big thing in Toronto. According to this article, which made the web-rounds earlier this month, the trend is already huge in San Francisco, where diners are willing to pay up to $4 for a slice of luxury toast (and the chance to actively inhabit a Portlandia skit).

3. CHOCOLATE CHICKEN

First there was chocolate-covered bacon. Now there is ChocoChicken, a soon-to-launch L.A.-based fast food chain from restaurateur Adam Fleischman, the owner of New York’s Umami Burger. As the name implies, the restaurant will specialize in chocolate-flavoured fried chicken. Gimmicky? Absolutely. But then, people probably thought Dorito-encased tacos were dumb, too, and look how they turned out.

4. NICOTINE COCKTAILS

According to NPR, the latest cocktail craze to hit the U.S. involves infusing drinks with pure, nicotine-rich tobacco. The resulting concoctions reportedly have a subtly smokey bouquet. They also burn on the way down and, according to at least one study, may be fatal in high doses. Cheers.

5. VODKA MILK

New Zealand dairy farmers have finally figured out a way to get slammed and maintain healthy levels of calcium and vitamin D.