When trendologists compiled their forecasts for 2013, several reports mentioned fermentation—and sour flavors in general—as tops for the coming year. Here's how they're showing up on menus.
- The Sterling-Rice Group, a Denver, CO-based consultancy, predicts "a plethora of tart, acidic and bitter flavors on menus this year." Techniques mentioned include brining, pickling and fermentation, with artisanal pickles and sauerkraut leading the way.
- Kazia Jankowski, associate culinary director of Sterling-Rice, believes that fermented cherry juice, drinking vinegars and sour beer will grow in popularity on the beverage side, while tart ingredients like yuzu and varietal vinegars will flavor food items.
- Kimchi, the fermented cabbage preparation that originated in Korea, is now being embraced by American chefs. Non-Korean restaurant kitchens are tweaking the spicy-sour condiment, using different vegetables and seasonings but retaining the fermented flavor.
- Mixologists are introducing more sour flavors into cocktails and resurrecting drinks like shrubs—a tart libation dating from colonial days.