Mushrooms are the It veggie of the moment

Food trends from the 2014 Fancy Food Show

umamiMushrooms are having their moment. At the 2014 SF Fancy Food Show, where the world comes to see what’s new in food, fungi was, well, everywhere. From Flavo{u}r 21’s decadent umami paste to chocolate bars with reishi mushrooms from Vosges to porcini mushroom powder from Napa’s Whole Spice and Wine Forest’s dried chanterelles, mushrooms are being added to both sweet and savory foods to bring that unctuous umami and forest flavor forward.

Other fun trends: Teas are branching out in all directions. From high caffeine boosters (Republic of Tea), dessert teas (salted caramel, mojito, hazelnut truffle) to savory teas in flavors like Numi’s spinach chive, beet cabbage or broccoli cilantro.

Popcorn is the new potato chip: Lower in fat, gluten-free and and flavor neutral, enhanced popcorn is a huge new market. We saw blue cheese, smoked gouda, chai caramel, nori sesame and Thai curry to name just a few of the stand-out flavors.

Other healthier snacks included dragon fruit chips from Novato’s Navitas Naturals, rice chips, quinoa chips, sprouted watermelon seeds and lots of chia. Lots and lots of chia.

Drinking vinegar is also becoming more popular. Portland’s Pok Pok has a line, along with Sonoma Spirits. Typically the flavored vinegars are mixed with soda water or spirits for a sweet-sour drink.  Don’t squinch your nose. They’re actually quite refreshing.