The name of the game for 2018 food & beverage trends is quality. Whether it refers to ingredients, experience, or its value over quantity, quality is the buzzword you’ll hear from clients; and the menus that are resulting are just phenomenal.
Quality over Quantity
In 2018, event clients are willing to spend more to get less volume but more quality, as menus become all about purity and unadulterated creations. Sustainably farmed seafood is a prime example. It has gained popularity as some wild inventories have been decreasing. Farms are now offering high quality program with delicious, healthy fish that clients can feel more comfortable ordering for their guests. The cost factor is secondary to the manner in which the fish is raised and how that impacts the guests who will enjoy it.
This trend will reflect in sit-down menus which will feature small plates and more courses, so guests get to try more high-quality dishes in the same amount of time as a standard meal. This style allows chefs to offer guests a wider variety of flavor experiences in a single meal and to customize menus to offer more personalization for each client.
Photo courtesy Jenny DeMarco Photography
Specialty Menus will Go Mainstream
Menus at one time considered “special requests” will join the mainstream this year. Gluten free meals, for example, used to be prepared only for guests who indicated that they needed them to fulfill a special dietary requirement. Gluten free menus in 2018 will serve all guests as clients focus on offering delicious, unique yet healthy meals.
Focus on Guest Experience
The quality of the guest experience remains one of the most important factors, this year, in determining what is done with food and beverage at all events. We will extend the idea of interactive chef-manned food stations to bars this year. A popular concept in the tasting experience.
Many are familiar with traditional wine tasting, where an expert not only serves wines, but gives background information about each bottle as it is served. These tastings will increase in popularity as activities at events in 2018. The same concept will be translated into education stations or theme cocktail bars with a single alcohol as the focus, as in Tequila Bars, Bourbon/Whiskey Bars or the highly popular Gin & Tonic Bars. Bartenders will educate guests about the featured beverage, allow them to sample different types and help them choose from various mixers and special ingredients.
Botanical flavorings for cocktails will also increase in popularity as guests demand fresh ingredients in their beverages as well as their food.
Photo courtesy Don Mears Photography
What’s Out in 2018?
Finally, in 2018 we say goodbye to plain old, standard “chicken, fish or beef” wedding fare, focusing instead of high quality, fresh, sustainable and intriguing new ingredients.
Which are your favorite food and beverage trends for the New Year?