30% OFF Pride collection code: USAPRIDE! Free Shipping over $99

Food & Beverage Trends in 2012

by Art Rodriguez January 19, 2012

People in the food scene have been talking about all the exciting food and beverage trends coming up this year in the general market, including:

  • Comfort foods gone gourmet — Looks like the tough economy is driving fine dining chefs into food trucks, sandwich joints, and pop-ups.
  • As America loses the ability to see its toes and in search of healthier cuisine, North African/Moroccan/Middle Eastern dishes are on the rise.
  • Gluten-free baked goods — From bakeries to home bakers, more people are serving gluten-free pastries and breads than ever before…and, finally they taste good.
  • Popularity of street food — Take a look at the new, Southeast Asian sandwiches growing in popularity, especially the Bah mi Vietnamese sandwich.
  • Gin makes you sin!  Move over vodka because drinks with Gin are what the hipsters are sipping these days if they’re not tasting a new craft beer.
  • “Farm to table” will continue to grow, but you will start seeing more Sea-to-Table, Nose-to-fin, crate-to-plate, etc., as commercial fishing stocks continue to dwindle.  It is time to kick the blue fin tuna habit and embrace the sustainable mackerel.

But, we wondered what were some of the Latin food and beverage trends happening across the country? Here’s a few we found:

Peruvian Cuisine

There is no denying that one of the top food trends for 2012 is the cuisine of Peru.  With Spanish, African, Chinese, and Japanese influences, the cuisine of Peru fuses cultures and flavors that will have you licking the plate, or skewer.  The rise in popularity has been slowly percolating since the City of Lima was declared the “Gastronomical Capital of the Americas” in 2006 by the Madrid Fusion gastronomy conference.  Today in Los Angeles, we have Chef Ricardo Zarate, of Picca and Mo-Chica, to thank for bringing the taste of Peru into our foodie hearts.   Mo-Chica was voted 4th Best Restaurant in Los Angeles in 2010 by Los Angeles Magazine.  Last year Chef Zarate also elevated Peruvian Cau Cau by winning Best Nouveau Street Food at the L.A. Street Food Fest and was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in America. The last few years have been big for Peru, but this year Peruvian cuisine is poised to take center stage in our backyards as the U.S. experiences the mainstreaming of its cuisines and ingredients, to say nothing of Peru’s national spirit: Pisco!

 Ancient Grains

As the nation’s demographic continues to shift, all the big food markets are tripping over themselves trying to expand their “Ethnic Aisle.”  With 16% of the population seeking out produce, proteins, and other foods to create more authentic meals at home, food companies are rushing to the shelves with products like dulce de leche cereals.  The big trend in the ‘Ethnic aisle” will be ancient grains.  That’s right folks, you won’t have to trek to Whole Foods just to purchase packaged quinoa.  Latin American grains, quinoa and amaranth (along with some other international grains, such as freekeh, farro, millet, and teff) are sure to start turning up in your local food mart, if they haven’t already.  You may even see blends, like my recently purchased bag of tri-colored quinoa.


Hot on the heels of the artisan gelato and specialty ice cream craze of last year, paletas will be the next big frozen thing.  Mexican ice pops, both water/juice and milk/cream based paletas with big chunks of fresh fruits and sprinkling of nuts or shredded coconut, will be available in a shocking array of unique flavors ranging from balsamic-strawberry, cucumber-chile, and Meyer lemon-ginger to the more traditional paletas of fresas, hibiscus, and tamarindo.  With Chefs like Fany Gerson opening up her New York paleteria, La Newyorkina, one can imagine a day when paletas are as ubiquitous as cupcakes.  Check out LA Weekly’s list of the top 10 Paletas/Popsicles in town.


From ancient grains to ancient spirits, mezcal and pisco are the two must-haves for any restaurant, lounge, bar, and even your home wet bar.  The popularity of mescal has given rise to Mezcalerias from sea to shining sea, with a few here in the Southland.  And, to continue the Peruvian theme from earlier, pisco is returning to cocktail lounge menus beyond the pisco sour.  Picca has a wonderful pisco cantina and one of my favorite cocktails last fall was a Pisquito from Seta Lounge in Whittier.  While they still have some catching up to do, pisco and mezcal are, dare I say it…intoxicating.  I think pulquerias will start popping up in the next few years as Mexico’s Facebook generation continues to embrace ancient brew. Let’s keep an eye on that trend.


Sopes and tacos are seeing some competition with a new popular Latin food receptacle – the Arepa. Arepa’s are flatbreads typically made of ground corn dough and popular in Colombia and Venezuela as well as many other Spanish-speaking countries. It’s the perfect pocket for any number of meats, cheeses, vegetables and spices.

The Arepa is only one small example of more traditional Latin dishes emerging, especially on the food truck scene. There are also native Colombian, Oaxacan, and Salvadoran (think Pupusas, a close cousin to the Arepa) on offer in any number of cities.

The post Food & Beverage Trends in 2012 appeared first on Latino Foodie.

Art Rodriguez
Art Rodriguez


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Culinary

Maple Cream Easter Eggs

by Femme Fraîche March 20, 2016

Maple Cream Easter EggsEvery year when I was a kid, I could count on two things in my Easter basket – marshmallow eggs and maple cream eggs. Each served different purposes. The maple cream Easter eggs were my favorites and what I squealed over even more than finding plastic hidden eggs that held a dollar bill or a tiny toy. The marshmallow eggs were nothing I ever fancied and always found their way into the freezer for...

Continue Reading →

Salsa Casera Recipe – Super Hot and Delicious

by Stephen Chavez March 12, 2016

Salsa Casera or House Salsa is one of the simplest and most flavorful salsas that brings a robust heat and a smokey flavor from the charred tomatoes and chile peppers. Beware! I like heat and so this recipe has one dried Scorpion pepper added to the mix. Scorpion peppers are one of the hottest chiles in the world, with a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHUs).

Using a...

Continue Reading →

Mushroom and Kale Egg Bake

by Femme Fraîche March 06, 2016

Mushroom and Kale Egg BakeAdulting is hard stuff. Sure, there are the big things like taking care of kids or parents, unexpected car and home repairs, dealing with awful work situations, but sometimes the littlest things feel the most difficult. These days, one of my biggest dilemmas is finding what to feed myself in the mornings that is convenient, nourishing, and so tasty I’ll be psyched to eat it a few days a week. This...

Continue Reading →