New Food & Beverage Trends Showcase the Destination
There can be far more to the meeting menu than simply feeding attendees. When food and beverage successfully leverages the latest culinary trends and relies on the flavors of an area it becomes more than simply a means to satisfy a growling stomach, it becomes a culinary journey through a destination, feeding body, mind and spirit.
Food, particularly healthy, organic, plant based food has become a hot topic in recent years. Consumers are concerned about what they are putting into their bodies, they read labels, ask questions, search for organic and gluten free options and apparently love to watch cooking shows. According to an article in Huffington Post 8 out of 10 people tune in to shows featuring food prep or to hear about the latest food trend. With so much attention placed on food and beverage, meeting planners can seize the opportunity to create a memorable meeting experience with a well-designed menu.
What are the current food & beverage trends?
According to Christine Couvelier, chef and founder of Culinary Concierge, turmeric is all the rage. Turmeric, part of the ginger family but without the bite of ginger, has a great number of health benefits. This perennial plant is a natural anti-inflammatory, it expedites healing, balances blood sugar and lowers cholesterol levels. Turmeric can be added to smoothies, teas and salad dressings and sprinkled on just about any dish without significantly altering its flavor.
Couvelier says the trend that seems to keep getting bigger is vegetable cuisine. “You’re seeing all methods of preparation to get crispy, caramelized, colorful, flavorful vegetables: grilling, smoking, roasting, charring. Watch for things like vegetable charcuterie platters, roasted radishes, cauliflower rice, smoked carrots. Purple cauliflower is huge this year.” Meeting planners hoping to satisfy vegetarians or vegan attendees will have far more exciting choices to pull from.
Another trend now making its way on menus is sea salt. According to Food and Wine Magazine, the newest sea salts are crunchy, flakey and found in a virtual rainbow of colors. Artisanal salts have far less sodium than regular table salt so chefs are finding plenty of concoctions, like thyme-basil, blue cheese and would you believe – merlot sea salt. This new trend allows chefs to add plenty of flavor without a lot of sodium.
Food isn’t the only item getting a makeover. This move towards a healthier, clean lifestyle has also seen trend in beverages. The “mocktail” has grown up with bartenders becoming innovative playing with cold-pressed juices, kombucha and flavored teas. They’re using a lot of herbs and spices and fun shaped or hand carved ice cubes to dress things up.
Food and beverage should provide an experience
Meeting planners can leverage these food trends by asking their venue’s F&B director and chef to incorporate the newest trends and use flavors that highlight the destination. Exploring local cuisines can tell the story of a destination, and is often one of the quickest ways to become immersed in its culture. Meeting planners looking to Newport Beach, CA as their next meeting destination will have no issue finding chefs who understand the significance of food as experience.
Thanks to growing demands for fresh, diverse, locally sourced and exceptional, many chefs are now pushing the boundaries of experimental cuisine. Whether you’re looking for clean, organic, destination specific fare or hoping to shake things up with spirited blends, you’ll find several venues in Newport Beach offering the latest food and beverage trends.
When you’re ready to begin planning your next group meeting, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this culinary paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources that ease the planning process.