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Top Five Dining & Wine Trends of the Year
Benchmark Hospitality International's Top Five
The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, September 2012 … Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading US-based hospitality management company, has just released its Top Dining and Top Wine Trends for 2012 and beyond. The trends were observed by Benchmark's executive chefs and culinary experts at the company's 35 luxury hotels and resorts coast to coast and off shore.
Benchmark Hospitality International's Top Dining Trends of the Year
Dining Trend #1 The Search for Truth, Transparency and Clarity
Today, however, we see a noticeable increase in the use of these descriptive words for products that lack credibility for the use of this language. The debasement of certain significant descriptors is being exploited for sheer commercial use without much value added to the guest experience, and this robs the true artisan producers from being recognized for the difference that they make in the quality of our food and our lives.
When fast food restaurants start claiming their product to be artisan related, it is time to revolt, and many chefs today say that time is now!
Dining Trend #2 Foraging: The Nature-Kitchen Partnership
It's also nature's bounty. At least, this is what the forager sees in Dandelions, Amaranth, wild Asparagus, Clovers, Chicory, Chickweed, Sheep Sorrel and more that are among those green masses by the flowing creek. Suddenly one's life is enriched doubly – a beautiful sight that is potentially delicious too. Some restaurants are allowing one cook to be a forager for the week; others are employing external foragers with much success in creating a sense of the true nature-kitchen partnership.
On your next nature hike, take along a Forager's Guide, a small bottle of extra virgin olive oil, and a whole lemon to enhance your walk in the wild.
Dining Trend #3 Molecular Gastronomy/Cooking
We believe as strongly in the molecular gastronomy revolution today as we did at its advent some years ago. Though perhaps intimidating to some, this knowledge of the physical and chemical transformations of ingredients, which occur while cooking, enriches our culinary lives immensely without taking away from the simple pleasures of a grilled steak, or roasted prime rib with potatoes.
A caveat is to recognize the real culinary artist from the dramatist, as no foam or liquid nitrogen or disappearing pouch raviolis or reverse spherification will succeed unless it also provides wonderful flavor and evokes a sense of discovery.
Dining Trend #4 Being a Part Of The Process ~ A Moveable Feast
Today, successful restaurateurs know that guests want to be entertained and informed of the culinary process during dinner, in addition to enjoying a wonderful meal. Observant restaurateurs are responding with a dining environment that allows guests to participate in the process. This may take the form of tours of the Chef's herb garden prior to dinner, requesting the bartender create a specialty cocktail with guest-chosen elements, sampling the artisan cheese menu and taking note of the defining flavors, or sitting at the kitchen counter watching the Chef prepare a multi-course meal.
This active consumer involvement transforms a sedentary multi-course dinner into an engaging moveable feast!
Dining Trend #5 Creative Gluten Free?
Today, the rich ethnic and culinary diversity of the United States provides us with excellent gluten free recipes that have been evolved naturally over time, originating from various parts of the globe. Pan Asian and North African delicacies are some of the many ethnic foods that Chefs are serving in a gluten free state, while preserving the richness and the flavors of the dishes. And most large and medium size cities and even a few small towns now produce gluten free pastries without the preservatives, whole wheat pizzas that are truly delicious, and some of America's classic recipes sans gluten.
A Bonus Trend: Gems in Cocktails
Wine Trend #1 Moscato: The Hottest Grape on the market.
Moscato is the grape for fabulous sparkling, dry, sweet and fortified wines … and the grape even makes delightful pinks and reds. Like we said, an easy grape to like!
Wine Trend #2 Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Cavas from Spain offer a great price/value, as does Gruet from New Mexico, Yalupa from California and Santa Julia from Argentina. Prosecco is a terrific entry into the world of sparkling wine. There is even sparkling Moscato and Lambrusco for those who prefer something sweeter. In essence, today there is bubbly produced throughout the country and around the globe for everyone, and for every occasion. We'll toast to that!
Wine Trend #3 Sherry, it's Not your Grandmother's Wine Anymore!
Sherry is wonderful served cold or over ice with a twist of lemon as an aperitif with antipasto or roasted nuts. Sweeter styles are lovely when paired with chocolate and fruit desserts. Tio Pepe, La Gitano and La Ina are great examples of a dry sherry, and Lustau makes incredible sweet dessert sherries. Or, just sip it as a night cap … turns out grandpa & grandma may have been on to something after all!
Wine Trend #4 Aperitif Wines
Beverages to stimulate an appétit indeed!
Wine Trend #5 Chardonnay Un-oaked
Since no expensive oak barrels are involved, un-oaked Chardonnays also tend to be less expensive, which appeals to today's price-sensitive consumers. Lighter, fruitier and less pricey, nice!
One More of the Road
About Benchmark Hospitality International's Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM
About Benchmark Hospitality International
Benchmark Hospitality International is a leader in the management and marketing of resorts, conference centers, hotels, and Personal Luxury Resorts & HotelsSM. The independent company, launched in 1980, is a worldwide organization operating properties in major metropolitan and resort destinations. Benchmark's international headquarters is located in The Woodlands, Texas, near Houston. Benchmark Hospitality is also a founding member of the International Association of Conference Centers. The company's eastern regional office is in New Jersey, western regional office is in Washington, with international offices in Tokyo, Japan, and Santiago, Chile. For the location of Benchmark's properties and additional information, visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com.
To access Benchmark Hospitality's Media Center, including high-resolution photography of its luxury hotels and resorts, visit: http://www.benchmarkhospitality.com/Media_Center/Media_Center.asp
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