There are a handful of spices that are used today in pretty much every part of the world. There are salt and pepper, the basics of seasoning, and spices like oregano, basil, curry leaves, bay leaves, and such, that can be used to round out the taste of dishes and give them an exotic spin. But these are all pretty standard today – you’ll find them in stores all over the world, and not even specialty stores but supermarkets and groceries on the corner, too. But new spices and aromas are always emerging from various parts of the world. This year, we can expect quite a few of these – sometimes a bit strange and thrilling – to emerge into the spotlight. So, let’s take a look at what new aromas will spin the food roulette and thrill your taste buds in 2018.
The only (relatively) widely known flower-based spice in the world is saffron. But high-profile chefs routinely use other flowers as spices – and these are expected to become much more widespread this year. Edible petals will be all over the place this year, with dishes and drinks ranging from lavender lattés to elderflower drinks, but don’t be surprised if more interesting petals – like violets – start showing up in salads all over the world.
Dish to try: deep fried elderflower fritters (Austria).
Rise of the Middle East (dishes)
Hummus, pita, and falafel have been around for ages, making our diets more diverse. But this year, the aromas and foods of the Middle East – countries like Israel, Morocco, Lebanon, even Syria – will bring more regional nuance into our restaurants (and ultimately, our kitchens). Among the trending Middle Eastern spices that you can expect to hear more of this year, we find za’atar,
cardamom, and harissa, threatening the newfound glory of sriracha sauce, while the ingredients that will likely rise this year are eggplant, cucumber, pomegranate, tahini, and dried fruits.
And these flavors will be increasingly used to spice up traditional dishes from all over the world.
Business intelligence expert SmartBrief (smartbrief.com) has pointed out a series of spices and herbs that it expects to get the bulk of attention in 2018. Among them, we find pandan, a leaf from Southeast Asia with a grassy, vanilla-like flavor, black garlic, an aged variety of the traditional spice with a sweet, umami-rich taste, and rose water, an ancient ingredient used in a variety of ways, from perfumes to food and drinks that is making a strong comeback these days.