While you’re counting down to 2017 with a costly vintage champagne or hyperlocal craft brew, chefs across Canada are looking to see what diners will be wanting on their plates in the new year. Here’s a breakdown of the annual Technomic trend report and where to find the latest flavor directions across Canada.
It’s a small world
Although an exploration of global ingredients, techniques and recipes is hardly news for a country as diverse as Canada, Technomic’s list moves past “mainstream cuisines such as Chinese and Mexican” towards less traveled culinary roads from the Phillipines, Pakistan and Iran. In Toronto, the husband-wife team of chef Alireza Fakhrashrafi and Iranian scholar Danielle Schrage dish out qeymeh — a tomato-based stew with yellow split peas, lamb chunks and dried lime topped with cinnamon — and other homestyle dishes from Iran at Pomegranate restaurant. For those looking to try their own hand at Iranian cuisine, Canadian cookbook author Naomi Duguid’s Taste of Persia: A Cook’s Travels in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, & Kurdistan offers simple recipes from home cooks met in Duguid’s travels around the world.
The second entry on Technomic’s list deals with a new take on vegetarianism, drawing richer comfort foods into the world of greenery. Perhaps fed up with kale salads, vegetarians and flexitarians are turning to pizzas, burgers and burritos in the new year. Vancouver’s MeeT on Main offers up a Mac’n’Cheez burger, featuring a house smoked veggie burger topped with a vegan cashew “cheez” sauce, while Toronto’s Doomie’s reportedly takes on the Big Mac with a vegan variation made with soy patties.
Shops hawking specialty sweets will stay popular in the new year, according to Technomic, who points to Mexican paletas, Taiwanese shaved ice and Japanese-style cheesecake as overtaking the cupcakes of yore. These items will start shifting from small stores to larger chains, which wil bring relief to those who had lined up for treats from the Canadian outpost of Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake.
Coffee gets crazy
Beyond baristas pulling premium shots and Instagram-baiting latte art, Technomic predicts that new directions for caffeinated drinks will go mainstream in 2017: lemon coffees, coffee jelly, Indonesian avocado espressos and coffee plus butter or salt. Vancouver’s Black Echo Coffee shop offers butter roasted espresso in a heritage building in Yaletown.
Turn on, tune in, eat out
Moving on from millennials, restaurateurs are now looking at the next generation of diners: Gen Z. According to Technomic, this “maturing cohort of ethnically diverse digital natives accustomed to constant convenience, social sharing and a fast-changing world” is looking for meals they can interact with on social media through Instagram, emojis on menus, and Snapchat filters. Similar to millennials, this generation also invests in businesses that foster environmental stewardship. Calgary’s River Cafe uses green energy, eliminated bottled water, and practices composting and recycling initiatives to reduce its footprint and landfill waste.