From naked wines to savoury desserts, we unravel the food and wine trends that will grace our travel landscape in 2016.
Aussies love food. They also love booze. Put the two together and you’ve got a recipe for tourism success.
And while the current trends hover around fresh produce, pulled meats, cronuts and kale, 2016 is a different year.
And with Tourism Australia knuckling down on its food and wine offerings to lure in visitors, they’ve predicted what’s next on the menu.
Business futurist Morris Miselowski says although the fashion for foams has dissipated in Australia, food “trends” such as foraging, farm-to-fork eating and fermenting are now mainstream.
The industry guru predicts that, in 2016, we will be drinking more naked wines, embracing desserts that are more savoury than sweet, cooking over charcoal and continuing to crave comfort food such as burgers.
Here’s what food-and-wine loving travellers can expect in Australia in 2016.
It smells like someone’s been BARBECUING!
The nation’s obsession for barbecuing has moved from the back verandah to prime position in restaurant kitchens around the country.
Author of Food + Beer, Ross Dobson, believes the parilla (Argentine) and robata (Japanese) methods of cooking are particularly popular in Australia because “barbecuing is being recognised as part of the national identity no matter where you’re from”.
“There is something magical about the hiss of food on the grill and the aromas that accompany this ritual,” Dobson said.
Let’s talk about sex food, baby
Writer Barbara Sweeney is the curator of Food & Words, an annual food writers’ festival and member of the TEDxSydney Food team.
And Sweeney says she has noticed a definite trend in Australia toward talkfests and food festivals that bring together everyone from bakers to makers who want to establish meaningful connections.
“There is nothing more human than getting together to talk about food,” she said.
“It’s the antithesis of our online lives and it’s the intimacy of these events that the community seems to be craving.”
Trust your gut… it’s saying ‘fermented foods’
Once the secret ingredient of the beloved home cook, the cult of the cultured vegetable has spilled over into markets and restaurants, and Aussies are lapping it up.
The age-old art of preserving food is back in the picture thanks to a “cottage-based resurgence” Ferment It production manager Belinda Smith said, who sells everything from kimchi to sauerkraut at market stalls around Sydney.
“Traditional preservation methods were a lost art form,” she added.
“They are popular again because of the health benefits: they help the gut replenish its flora.”
Excuse me waiter, there’s a naked wine on my table!
When it comes to natural winemaking, sommelier Byron Woolfrey has noticed an upward spike in demand for wines made with minimal intervention.
Woolfrey, who also runs Trolley’d, a mobile bar business, said what he loves about natural wines is they capture the true terroir of the region.
“Consumers are more conscious of having a completely expressive and natural wine so you can taste the flavours of the land,” Woolfrey told Tourism Australia. “It’s also about knowing where your product comes from.”
While sweet treats such as the Nutella doughnut milkshake have their own cult following, the menu does not necessarily need to end in a tooth ache and a nasty trip to the dentist.
In 2015, ingredients such as bacon and sea salt helped bridge the gap between savoury and sweet, business futurist Morris Miselowski said.
“Australian palates are now more refined,” he explained.
“We are also happy to experiment and finish a meal on a savoury note using everything from dark chocolate to chilli and salt.”