Can you believe it? It’s (almost) 2014! Over the last year, we saw, we ate, and we conquered probably gained a few pounds?! As we consider 2013 in review, the Vancouver food scene was marked by some seriously unique and exciting trends. In no particular order, here are the TOP 10 TRENDS we picked out:
The macaron craze began prior to 2013, but it was in this last year that (seemingly) every Vancouver bakery and café put these French pastries in their window. If you’ve followed our blog, you’ll know that my personal favourites come from Thierry on Alberni Street, but honorable mentions go to Soirette, Faubourg, and Bel Cafe!
We’re not talking about chocolates; we’re talking about the “diamonds of the kitchen,” truffles (the rare fungus!) Truffles are a coveted ingredient because they are seasonal, difficult to grow and procure, and unbelievably decadent! Truffles found their way to Vancouver on pizzas at Market by Jean-Georges, pastas at Italian Kitchen and The Acorn, and even on the shelves of Urban Fare in raw form! Keep your eye out for something “truffled” on the menu – it’s definitely worth a try!
#3 ABURI SUSHI
Aburi sushi, or flamed-seared sushi, is a concept born from Japan that uses heat to enhance the flavour of the fish. In Vancouver, any sushi lover will reference Miku and/or Minami for their famous bamboo-seared Aburi Oshi sushi, but we’ve since seen the concept applied at everyday sushi restaurants such as Urban Sushi on Granville and Suika on W Broadway. If you haven’t tried aburi sushi yet, be ready for a melt-in-your-mouth sensation!
#4 FARMERS MARKETS
In 2013, the city welcomed Vancouver’s 6th Farmer’s Market: Yaletown. The Farmer’s Markets are getting bigger and better every year, with even more local vendors coming alongside our favourite farmers and artisans. We were also really excited to see the food trucks at the markets, cooking up their local flavours for all to enjoy!
#5 SALTED CARAMEL
Who can deny salted caramel? Adding “fleur de sel” to accentuate a sweet flavour is not a novel idea, but we were thrilled to see salted caramel take Vancouver by storm. From Monkey Butter’s Salted Caramel Peanut Butter (made with all natural ingredients), to the Salted Caramel Gelato from our Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Food Tour, this sweet and salty combination was impossible to resist!
Does one pastry count as a whole trend? If you’ve tasted this croissant-crossed-donut, we think you’ll understand why it deserves its own spot on this list. The original “Cronut” emerged from New York, but it wasn’t long until Vancouver’s Swiss Bakery mastered their own version, the Frissant. (Fritter is the Canadian word for donut, eh?) It’s incredibly flaky, crispy, and perfectly piped with a light crème. For details on how/where/when to get your hands on one, read our blog post here!
#7 CRAFT BREWERIES
2013 was a great year for craft beer in Vancouver. In the last year, we saw 33 Acres, Red Truck Brewery, Steamworks, Main Street Brewing Company, and Brassneck Brewing (to name a few!) open their doors. These added to local favourites such as Granville Island Brewery and Yaletown Brewing Company. Of notable mention is Craft Beer Market that opened this fall in Olympic Village – there are over 100 beer on tap! If you’ve got an afternoon to spare, checking out a local brewery is a great thing to do in Vancouver!
Gluten-free became a buzzword in 2013, making itself a trend in the Vancouver foodie realm. Many restaurants like The Acme Café, Nuba, and Chambar added gluten-free items to their menu, but more than anything, we saw restaurants add “GF” symbols to their menus.
#9 BLUE CHEESE
Blue cheese is an acquired taste that I thought I hadn’t quite acquired, but that might have changed in 2013. This pungent dairy product made its debut in the dessert category, from a Blue Cheese Cheesecake at Francesco’s to a Blue Cheese Dark Chocolate at Koko Monk. Offset with a good hit of sugar, you might just find an appreciation for a little blue!
#10 WINE ON TAP
We’ve come to expect beer on tap, but it’s not so often that we find free-pouring vino. In 2012, Vancouver Urban Winery pioneered the sale of “wine kegs” in Canada, and in 2013, we enjoyed the fruits of their labour at places like Cactus Club Café, Killjoy, and Edible Canada. Some may mourn losing the romance of popping a bottle open at the table, but wine on tap makes for sustainable packaging and cost-effective pricing!
And there you have it – the year in review. There was some serious damage done in the Vancouver foodie scene in 2013! Any predictions on what exciting things we might find on our plates for 2014? Leave your best guesses below!
Happy New Year everyone!