Prediction #1. Plastic straws will make a comeback (because paper straws are pretty but impractical).
I love paper drinking straws, I really do. You can get floral ones, spotty ones and striped ones in every colour (including gold). They are gorgeous, but impractical. Depending on the size of your glass, you can be lucky if it's still functional at the end of your drink.
Is there a sadder scene than a pile of wilted, soggy, pastel pink stripey straws on a bench top, sticky with last night's gin cocktail concoction? So I'm calling it. The decline of the paper straw. They are part of the territory when it comes to food blogging, but a return to plastic is imminent.
Prediction #2. The death of drinking from jars
Pinterest has a lot to answer for. Mason jars, cocktails in jars, heck, I was at a picnic recently and my friend was drinking chardonnay out of a pasta sauce jar. The crunch for me though, came when I was recently served, in a respectable dining establishment no less, a bloody mary in a jar on a wine glass stem. It was clunky, not balanced, and looked awful. This monstrosity, in my humble opinion, had taken the jar phenomenon a step too far.
They are, admittedly, a solid, dependable drinking vessel, and preferable over some plastic alternatives. But I think the time has come for a return to drinking out of glasses. Until the next vessel trend comes along. Novelty mugs for champagne? Empty baked beans tins for cocktails? Milk bottles for beer? Only time will tell.
Prediction #3. Korean food is coming (and other flavours on the horizon)
Those folks in LA have long set food trends that have taken their time to seep down to us, and Korean tacos have been wildly popular there for a while now. Korean food in all its forms - from street food, to the more traditional BBQ - is set for a NZ boom. There is some excellent Malaysian here, and regionalised Chinese cuisine has really cemented itself, especially in Auckland. High-end Japanese is everywhere and great, and Mexican will always be popular. But the next new hot ethnic food trend to solidify itself into the mainstream will be Korean. By the end of 2014 kimchi and bibimbap will be on everyone's lips. And plates.
Other styles to watch are Jamaican and Caribbean food (think stuffed plantain, codfish, and plenty of jerk chicken) and Peruvian - the very cool Lima in London already has itself a Michelin star, as well as plenty of delicious rums on their menu. Looking forward to these ones catching on.
Prediction #4. More focus on balanced eating
It seems with cooking trends, we swing wildly from one extreme to the other. If we're not being told to inject our deep fried doughnuts with whipped cream and salted caramel sauce, it's suggested we use organic almond butter and raw cacao in our truffles. Fries are triple cooked in wagyu fat, or we're substituting spaghetti pasta for 'spaghetti' made out of courgette, and completely fat free.
I reckon this year that balance will make a sensible come back. This will be supported by a growing awareness about where our food is coming from, who is growing it, and, hopefully, more great produce markets. Coconut will continue it's moment in the spotlight - coconut oil will become increasingly mainstream in baking recipes, and coconut water will continue to ease sore heads the morning after. With all this balance, carbs will sneak back into popularity. They've had a rough deal the past few years. Let's re-embrace our love for sourdough. The cronut will die a slow horrible death, never to be heard of again. RIP.
Prediction #5. Let's hear it for hot sauce
Again the States have lead the way on this one, to the point where Sriracha hot sauce has a cult following. Locally we have some excellent homegrown options, and hot sauce should not be shelved for bloody mary's or the occasional condiment.
Hot sauce enhances flavour on the simplest things unlike nothing else - try it on a freshly shucked oyster if you're feeling indulgent. On a day-to-day level, a couple of drops will transform your tomato on toast, your eggs, hamburger, or any savoury breakfast. Culley's, Huffmans, and Cholula are all great ones to start with. Get your palette fired up, and never listen to Johnny Cash's Ring of Fire in the same way again.
* Delaney is a freelance writer who shares bits about food and other things at heartbreakpie.com.
What trends would you like to see end? What predictions do you have for 2014?