Everyone knows EVOO is healthy. The phytochemicals in olives, which protect you from disease, are vulnerable to heat; “extra- virgin” oils are processed with minimal heat, so nutrients are preserved. (Same goes for EVOO labeled “first cold-pressed.”)
But heat isn’t the only enemy of nutrients (and flavor). Time also takes a toll. “Buying extra-virgin is good, but making sure it’s fresh is even more important,” says Dan Flynn, head of the UC Davis Olive Center, a leading olive oil research facility. “The ‘best before’ date should be at least one year out to ensure that the oil is still tasty and rich in good-for-you compounds.”
From our September 2012: Italian Issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray
Fancy comfort food (artisanal jumbo pretzels for the win!) has been popping up on menus lately—and that’s no coincidence! Comfort food is just one of a bunch of interesting trends that are emerging in both food trucks and brick and mortar spots. Here are some of our other favorites:
- PORK is so hot right now—but really! Bacon is still (and always will be) a major player for foodies, but other pig delicacies, like the mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches from the Maximus/Minimus truck in Seattle, are becoming just as sought after as their crispy cousin.
- HAND-PREPARED DISHES are also on the up, whether it be fresh-cut fries, made-to-order salads or the classic techniques of pickling and preserving. We like our food with a lot of hard work and love behind it.
- Locovores rejoice! LOCALLY SOURCED AND GROWN, farm-to-table food has become very appealing. And this isn’t just a trend for produce, but seafood, meat and more—people want to be more in tune with what they’re putting in their bellies.
- Score one for the more sensitive eaters: GLUTEN-FREE AND FOOD-ALLERGY CONSCIOUS FOOD are becoming way more popular and widely available. Chicago’s Vinci has gone so far as to offer an entire gluten-free menu. This has to be my favorite, hands down!
Have you noticed any other food and restaurant trends on the rise? What are some of your favorites?
—Morgan Gibson, Editorial Assistant
News has been brewing—get it?—that coffee and wine hybrid bars are gaining popularity. Starbucks, for example, has been rumored to start selling booze soon, although I haven’t seen it yet…but what gives? Are coffee and wine really “pair-able?
“Wine and coffee have a bevy of similarities…Both have hundreds of chemical compounds that affect the flavor, with wine averaging 200–400 compounds and coffee surpassing 800. Where a wine drinker swirls a glass to release a wine’s aroma, a coffee drinker senses aromas on different areas of the palate. Both are complex, and the same grape or bean, respectively, can yield wildly different varietals
If you’re doing coffee right, you’re going to attract those who are already attracted to coffee,” he explains. “If you have wine available, there’s room for the bartender or barista actually to educate that consumer about wine, as well. … If they come into your establishment because you’re doing wine correctly, there’s room to expand the coffee market to them so they can broaden their enjoyment of the beverage world.
—Jason Haeger, Consultant for the Specialty Coffee Industry
The idea of broadening enjoyment of the beverage world in general sounds cool, so I’m intrigued to see if more of these wine-and-coffeeshop-combos pop up.
—Judith Pena, Asst. to the EIC