I’ve spent the first few days of 2023 trawling the web to find out what foods you should be looking out for this year.
Luckily, Christmas wasn’t especially indulgent, which means I had more of a stomach for digging deep on this.
I’ve saved you a lot of time because there are plenty of ideas of what will be this year’s butter boards (no, me neither, but apparently they were the thing, somewhere to someone).
You could say there are as many ideas as there are types of food, which wouldn’t be too much of an over-exaggeration, believe me.
However, around some food trends there is some agreement, both here and across the pond, where they seem to take food trends more seriously.
Now, you may be thinking, what’s a swicy? Well, it’s something that is both sweet and spicy, of course, and it’s the hottest/sweetest thing since sweet and sour.
It’s a big deal in America, according to food websites such as The Wicked Noodle. Or at least it will be in 2023.
Swicy foods contain both sweet and spicy elements in one course, a culture clash of flavours and sensations.
Chilli chocolate has been around for a few years and is a good example of what a swicy food would involve.
But also, think hot honey. Yes, hot honey. When I first read those words I’ll admit they didn’t send me to an umami-filled happy place. However, the more I let the idea marinate, the more I warmed to it.
The Endless Meal website had this to say: “Hot honey is the best new hot sauce and perfect for drizzling on pizza, fried chicken, biscuits or roast veggies, to serve on a cheese plate or to spread on toast.”
Add to that list, baked or pan-fried salmon and I am fully on board with the idea.
All you need to do is heat some runny honey, chilli flakes and (optional) some hot sauce in a pan and warm them gently over a medium heat. It’s very important not to let it boil.
Take it off the heat as soon as small bubbles appear at the side of the pan. Let the honey cool for a few minutes, which will also let the chilli flakes infuse, then strain into a jar. Easy, squeezy. It’s honey, but ‘swice’ as nice (sorry).
Actually, it reminds me of an former work colleague who revealed that her husband enjoyed both honey and Marmite on his toast in the morning. Sweasty, anyone?
The Wicked Noodle has a recipe for Hot Nashville Chicken served in a bun that is extra-swicy and that looks delicious (I’ll add the link at the end).
No getting bored of boards
So last year was all about butter boards, and like me, you probably had no idea.
I’ve seen websites that suggest butter boards are still the thing to impress your guests with in 2023. There are many theories about when they first appeared and who made them popular, but what are they?
Essentially, it’s a cheese or charcuterie board, where you spread butter on a board and top it with, well, whatever you want.
You can get fancy and add figs and cheese and edible flowers, or you can hit the comfort button and add dried meats and olives and herbs.
The idea is then to take some bread (your choice, but a decent sourdough loaf would be good, something that’s not going to fold on you) and scoop some of the butter and toppings on to it before eating.
It might sound like someone has assembled a sandwich but forgotten the bread, but there’s no doubting that with some imagination you can make the board the centrepiece of a table.
Once you move from cheese or charcuterie to butter boards there is simply no end to what you can achieve. Chocolate charcuterie boards have been around for a while but are tapped to make a strong showing in 2023.
You can get really creative here, mixing types and shapes of chocolate with gingerbreads, sweets, cream, mints, fruit etc. Serve it with a hot chocolate drink for extra cocoa overload.
These can be a fun way to present an end of meal treat and would work well at weddings or birthday parties.
Another alternative mooted for top trend is to present a ‘seacuterie’ board, which as you might imagine, is a charcuterie board replacing meat with seafood, and on it goes.
The sea is your friend
One food trend that seems to have traction from a number of sources from both sides of the pond is seaweed.
If you are to believe Shuko Oda, Koya (London) and Jun Tanaka, The Ninth (also London) seaweed is likely to become a store cupboard staple. It is used in Japanese cuisine for adding umami flavours, as a stock for sauces and soups, and for adding depth of flavour to vegan and vegetarian dishes.
It is a highly nutritious food, containing a whole host of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is also the best source of dietary iodine which can help thyroid function.
However, you need to be careful not to eat too much as this can have a negative impact on the thyroid.
Common varieties include dulse, wakame and bladderwack, which have been harvested and eaten in Ireland for centuries.
Dulse has a mildly spicy and salty flavour (salcy, anyone?). It is often bought and eaten in a dehydrated form, but it can also be rehydrated and used in a wide variety of recipes. For example, in broths, in quiches, in bread, in puddings, in chowder and so many more.
In America, the Whole Foods Trends Team (yes, they exist) has tipped kelp as this year’s food to watch.
A number of websites have predicted a rise in the consumption of tinned seafood.
As always seems to happen these days, the social media site TikTok seems to be a driver for many of this year’s trends, including the idea of ‘tinned fish date nights’. As long as you leave some anchovies for my pizza, I think the idea of eating more mackerel and sardines in our diets is a great idea.
I would love to hear your own recipe ideas, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org marked Reader’s Recipe Ideas, including a photo if possible.