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Consumer Trends

Sour power

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.

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