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Denver Chefs Predict 2018 Trends

Look for unique sweetening agents and natural wine, among other culinary creations


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It’s time for chefs and food industry influencers to look ahead to the new year in anticipation of newly popular foods, drinks and restaurant concepts. The culinary team at Food & Drink Resources, a Denver-based culinary agency that specializes in creating menus for national restaurants, has come up with its own list of culinary ideas you are sure to see on restaurant menus soon (if you haven’t already).

BRIGHT, BRILLIANT COLORED FOOD + BEV

Fuchsia, chartreuse, and turquoise are being spotted in salads, main dishes, and also drinks with the re-emergence of the Tiki Bar. (Try Adrift Tiki Bar in Denver.)

NOT YOUR KID'S SOFT SERVE

Soft serve ice cream in upscale flavors are popping up. Be sure to try the olive oil and sea salt and burnt marshmallow ice cream flavors if you come across them.

PIZZA MADE NOW

Pizza is always on-trend, but this year we will continue to see unique styles of pizza like the the khachapuri, a Georgian (the country formerly part of the USSR) cheese dish and Detroit-style pizza, which has a thick, square crust in a square shape. (Try: Blue Pan Pizza in Denver.)

MUSHROOMS

Find mushrooms brined, pickled, made into pâté, made into tea, smoked, braised whole, seared, grilled, and charred. While low in protein, mushrooms are high in umami helping you not to miss the meat you don’t see on this trends list.

MILLENNIALS CHOOSE NATURAL WINES

We can thank the millennial mindset for this beverage trend. These days, many wines are coaxed into the bottle with no added yeast, no manipulation and no chemicals. Some may consider these wines adventurous and unique, and others may consider them just plain awful. The latter likely prefer the flavors produced by winemakers who have guided, maybe even manipulated, wines over the last couple centuries.

UNIQUE FLOURS AND SWEETENERS

The 2018 flour and sweetener movement is anything but white — chickpea flour, cassava flour, rapadura sugar, coconut sugar and brown rice syrup just to name a few.

THE NEW VEG

The “new veg” has been argued to be celery or maybe radicchio, but we think the new trending vegetable will continue to be a mélange where you pick a grain, pick a green, char a veggie in coals like eggplant, beets, or butternut squash, add a seed, add a dressing (something unique like a kaffir feta ranch or fermented kombucha vinaigrette), and voila! (Try: Poke City in Greenwood Village.)

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