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Food Trends of 2016
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About this article

This article was originally published in the Jan/Feb 2016 issue of M: North Atlanta magazine, a publication of the Forsyth County News. To read the entire magazine, click here.

2016 is here and that means chefs, food writers and foodies everywhere are out with their predictions of what will be trending in the food world in 2016. Here are just some of the predictions.

Smoked Salts

At first this might sound like a strange concept, but in reality, smoked salts are a boon for the home cook. You can make your own roasted, smoky salted nuts, give steamed vegetables a new smoky “kick,” or make the best smoky French fries ever. Currently I have only seen smoked salts (in many flavors) at big, specialty health-type grocery stores, but look for this trend to trickle down to “regular” grocery stores soon.

Artisanal Butchery

Look for more restaurants to tout smoking, curing and cutting their own meats in house. Many will also utilize local farmers—often practicing sustainable farming. Charcuterie, a term referring to the branch of cooking devoted to prepare meat products, such as sausages, terrines, etc. While it used to be reserved for only the “best” restaurants, now there are many restaurants specializing in charcuterie and many more have a daily offering on their menus.

Exotic Meats

Care for a kangaroo burger or some elk jerky? How about some alligator bites? What about a medium ostrich steak? While exotic meats might not appeal to everybody, there is a growing desire for these meats. Many specialty stores sell them frozen so you can experiment at home.

House made artisanal pickles, jams and jellies

Again, more and more food products in restaurants will be made in house—often using local ingredients. This is a good thing for flavor, of course, but also because over the counter pickles and such often include chemicals and other unsavory additives.

Street Food and Street Trucks

When it comes to street food, think Mexican Corn on the Cobb, slathered in mayonnaise, Cotija cheese and lime zest. Can you say, Yum? More and more restaurants are highlighting the street foods from various cultures and offering it to the diner in the comforts of an indoor table. Street trucks continue to thrive, offering diners interesting foods at economical prices.

African and Middle Eastern Flavors

Also, ethnic condiments and spices are showing up, even on regular grocery store shelves. I recently found an excellent Harissa at the grocery store which is delicious atop roasted potatoes.

Ancient Grains

Grains such as kamut, bulgur, faro, buckwheat, amaranth and sorghum continue to appear on menus, but expect to see them on your “regular” grocery store shelves. For an alternative to ho-hum rice or pasta, try experimenting with one of these grains from yester-year.

Farm to Table Food

Sort of buzz words right now with more and more restaurants growing their own gardens or at least purchasing produce and protein sources from local farms. I am a huge fan and supporter of this movement and hope it continues to grow.