Picon – the caramelly French liqueur made from bitter oranges, gentian and quinine – is set to become the new Campari; and the Picon Bière, which combines Picon with blonde beer will be the new negroni sbagliato of this summer! 2024 is also the year that spirits like Cynar made with bitter artichokes, celery bitters from The Bitter Truth and the dark intense amaro Fernet Branca will cross over from hip new bars like Atelier Coupette, the semi-secret Kwant Mayfair and Equal Parts into the mainstream; whilst family run Vermanos London will be getting people talking with their homemade bitter wormwood vermouths. The aperitivo menu of the new Bar Lina from Lina Stores is showcasing Berro Bitter, Lyres Bitter Orange and Luxardo Bitter Blanco. Whilst other bitter ingredients to look out for will be amla (Indian gooseberry), dandelion greens, red pomello zest, amaranth and endives. We’ll even see desserts celebrating the bitter complexity of 100% cacao chocolate and products like bitter granola like the one from Japanese brand Nisshokus – which mixes extremely bitter cocoa with cranberries.
Re-imagined classics made extra comforting and theatrical
“Comfort food rules” according to Waitrose who’s most popular meals recently have been their very best No 1 chicken kievs, beer battered fish, triple cooked chips and shepherd’s pie. It’s a trend that will become even more comforting and theatrical in 2024. In vogue new restaurant Saltine has got palates racing with its classically remixed sticky toffee apple cake, duck cassoulet and malted chocolate mousse. Sophie Wybird’s new cookbook ‘Tucking In: A Very Comforting Cookbook’ will have recipes like chipotle vodka gnocchi bake and curried chicken legs with cheesy polenta. Re-vamped Michelin starred Californian restaurant SOLA is leaning into comforting flavours of Americana like devilled eggs and chicken & waffles, executed with reimagined fineness and exquisite ingredients; whilst restaurants like Bistro Freddie have become famous for their indulgent rabbit pie. Iconic all-time classic London restaurant Simpsons in the Strand is set to reopen in 2024 as a ‘big-theatre brasserie’.
The Happy Endings Cookbook by Terri Mercieca – famous for her nostalgic ice cream sandwiches – will have recipes that re-invent classic desserts that dreams are made of, conjuring up childhood memories with sensory delights. Get Baked in Headingly Leeds – virally famous for its spectacular Bruce Bogtrotter inspired ‘Bruce Cake’ – has a limited edition ‘Golden Bruce’ with salted caramel, dark chocolate ganache and caramelised white chocolate ganache. Quince Bakery from chef Anna Higham will the hottest bakery opening of 2024 – a chic neighbourhood spot making sweet and savoury pies, and a soon-to-be iconic rice pudding tart. Callum Franklin of The Pie Room will be opening up Public House in Paris – a British brasserie with a pub menu featuring his unmissable comforting pies. And 2024s nostalgic classic revivals will also see the return of vol au vonts and exquisitely crafted trifles, which world-leading pastry chefs at Harrods Food Halls like Alistair Birt will be re-imagining.
Graphic illustrated and comic cookbooks
Following the meteoric rise of comic novels like the Heartstopper series by Alice Osman which was turned into a Netflix series, and the string of Japanese Studio Ghibli anime movies like Spirited Away being turned into theatre shows in 2024, graphic illustrated cookbooks will also be taking off this year. Blasta Books is leading the charge – an imprint that was created to connect people through food and tell stories of unpublished voices in Ireland. Their stylish graphic illustrated titles in 2024 all aim to make more room at the table by celebrating modern and diverse food culture. AGAK-AGAK by Shamzuri Hanifa will combine all the cuisines of Sham’s multicultural childhood to create his own personal representation of the Malaysian society he grew up in. SOCAFRO by Alistair Jeje’s will reflect his dual Trinidadian-Nigerian heritage with illustrated recipes for dishes including a jollof pilau, spicy Trini suya kebabs, a rich and cheesy Afro-Trini macaroni pie, and sweet-crispy chin-chin tamarind balls. And young chef Aishling Moore will release the illustrated book Whole Catch championing regenerative aquaculture and sustainable gill-to-fin cooking. Meanwhile in the USA, Uprooted is a new cooking comic series by Tiffani Ortiz and Andy Doubrava which will tell the story of their nomadic restaurant experience ‘Slow Burn’ all through comic illustrations!
Flavour amplified savoury butters had their moment in 2023 – but in 2024 butters have gone sweet and are being mashed up with our favourite indulgent baked treats. Gower Cottage Brownies – hand made by Kate Jenkins team in Wales – are often lauded as being the best brownies in the world, and they’ve turned that unique flavour experience into spreadable brownie butter and blondie butter – great for slathering over warm waffles, crumpets or dipping strawberries into. Pollen Bakery in Manchester went viral recently for its croissant butter which is a mix of caramelised white chocolate with croissant flakes. London based coffee van Mada Mada has become famous for its all natural praline-caramel spreads including the indulgent pistachio praline, popcorn praline and pecan-cacao praline. And German-Chicago based bakery Zimt is selling a gourmet small-batch Cookie Butter with heirloom cinnamon and a hint of lemon.
Zero dig agriculture and ancestral wine methods
The Royal Horticultural Society and Soil Association have been offering up advice on ‘no dig’ gardening which is set to be a prominent conversation in 2024 – evolving the discussion around sustainable and regenerative agriculture. More conventional farming which relies on digging, ploughing and tiling is said to release massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Over time this harms the soil, whilst a ‘zero dig’ approach claims to work in harmony with soil – leaving it undisturbed and feeding soil life at the surface with organic matter. The RHS elaborates that; “unlike soil cultivation methods such as digging, forking and rotavation, the no-dig method avoids breaking up, lifting or turning the soil. Vegetable beds and flower borders are simply prepared by covering the ground with organic matter, such as garden compost. Plants are grown directly into this layer of organic matter.” The Zerodig project which is part of the Oakbrook Community Farm initiative is championing this – growing organic vegetables on their land using a sustainable, carbon-locking no dig bed system. They highlight that: “when soil structures are not ploughed or broken up – the mix of bacteria, fungi and amoeba are in a constant state of re-balancing their relationship. The rewards are seen in the nutrient-rich food which is produced in significantly higher yields than a conventional system.”
The Jolly Nice Farm Shop in Stroud is also supporting the produce of zero-dig farmers in its shop, such as those from Crackstone Barns in Gloucestershire. And organic growers like Charles Dowding are offering up seasonal tips to get into zero dig gardening, even holding a #NoDigDay in celebration of this growing method. This focus on climate conscious, regenerative farming and food provenance has also shifted heavily onto wine and there are now even more natural English wines being produced in traditional methods gaining traction. Woodfine Wine based in Buckinghamshire is farming its vines organically to restore a biodiverse ecosystem and using ancestral natural winemaking techniques. The Soho Hotel is celebrating this on its progressive wine list which features Woodfine’s Interconnections Part 2 – made from organic chardonnay and pinot noir grapes pressed by hand, then processed in the ancestral Col Fondo method where the sediment lees are left in the bottle, triggering a second fermentation to create a naturally sparkling wine. The hotel is also celebrating biodynamic wines from Ancre Hill Estates in Wales whose orange wine made from albariño grapes are fermented with native yeasts.
Joyful diasporic creativity and third-culture remixes
2024 is a year that will see culinary creatives opening windows into unique cuisines of the world through their own unfiltered diasporic lenses, and joyfully re-mixing them as well. The distinctive cuisine of Oman – which has origins and influences spanning Pakistan, Iran, India, the Swahili coast, and Portugal – will be celebrated Dina Macki’s brand new Jane Grigson award-winning book Bahari. Marie Mitchell’s new book Kin – Caribbean Recipes for the Modern Kitchen is one of the most hotly anticipated of the year and will explore the connection food can foster between different times and places. Made in Bangladesh by Dina Begum is a love letter to Bangladeshi cuisine, mixing age old classics with modern twists, into dishes like Narkel Diye Murghi (chicken in spiced coconut milk) and Patishapta (rice crêpes stuffed with a cardamom rice cream).
Anglothai – the popup from John and Desiree Chantarasak – will open its first permanent restaurant bringing together British ingredients with bold Thai recipes. Georgina Hayden will be re-mixing the cuisine of her Greek-Cypriot heritage in her new book Greek-ish – brimming with vibrant, modern food that sings of the Mediterranean. The Sweet Polish Kitchen by Ren Behan will shine a delicious spotlight on Polish delights like blueberry buns, plums in chocolate and raspberry-lemon cloud cake. Brands like Ruci will introduce foodies to delicious Sri Lankan relishes and chutneys like its red coconut sambol, brinjal moju aubergine pickle and rasam muligatawny paste. And we will fall in love with both ‘authentic’ and ‘inauthentic’ remixes on Italian food all over again at places like Leos in East London which is serving up an insta-famous Lasagna del Giorno, along with 64 Old Compton Street and the soon to open Café Britaly which celebrate a very British take on Italian food… with lashings of parmesan on everything.
Bioactive plants, ferments, ancient grains, sea moss and Ayurvedic herbs go mainstream
Kombucha, kefir and kimchi have become fridge staples in many households, and our appetite to experiment with healthful ingredients will increase in 2024. Plants with bioactive compounds like adaptogenic schizandra berries, immune system boosting elderberries and cognition improving ashwagandha will be appearing in more and more products. The latest super ingredient exciting health-gurus according to Holland & Barrett is haskap berries – also known as blue honeysuckle – which have more antioxidants than blueberries, and are sources of Vitamin A, fibre and potassium. The mango leaf extract ‘zynamite’ is getting trend-setters excited as a performance enhancing alternative to caffeine. Nootropic mushrooms like lions mane, reishi and cordyceps which were big in 2023, will be taken over by turkey tail, tremmela and chaga varieties which will pop up in everything from teas and breakfast bars, to chocolates and supplements.
Ingredients claiming to improve memory like ginko, rhodilio and maca root will also be seen more. Seaweed Moss Gel from brands like Mylas Moss – which is said to have digestive health benefits – is the latest ingredient being added to smoothies at the uber-trend forward Erewhon supermarket in LA. Health food retailers and brands will be championing ancient grains and pulses like Hodmedods with its emmer and flamingo peas, along with Ayurvedic herbal ingredients like tulsi holy basil from Raya Grocery and Himalayan shalijat resin. Fermented drinks like Cassia & Sun’s pineapple tepache and sauerkraut/kimchi juices from Scottish producers like The Crafty Pickle Co will be the new kombucha. And Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Gummies – particularly those with the mother – are the new CBD Gummies.
Flavourful frugality, capsule pantries and everyday heroes
Cost of living continues to be high on the agenda for households, but frugal shopping doesn’t mean holding back on flavour. One supermarket retailer that will be very on the pulse in 2024 is Asda, whose trend-forward team highlights that “as consumer purse strings are tightened, they’re still looking for excitement and enjoyment around mealtimes, but without breaking the bank. Enter, a renewed love of humble favourites.” This will be most excitingly showcased in Anna Jone’s new book ‘Easy Wins’ which will celebrate the perfect capsule pantry of 12 modest ingredients that can transform your weekly cooking: from lemons to olive oil, miso to mustard and tahini to tomatoes. The new Cook by Asda range features budget-friendly flavour-forward hacks like gochujang paste, nooch seasoning and chipotle breadcrumbs for as little as 80p, with more pantry heroes to be launched from the cuisines of over 40 different countries.
Rick Stein will be championing inexpensive and under-loved but flavourful seafood varieties like pouting, dab and whiting at his restaurants. Cost saving instant pots multi-cookers, air fryers, Always pans and even a new found love for microwaves will continue to reign in 2024; whilst kitchenware focussed on timeless iconic design, lasting durability and resilient everyday functionality like Falcon Enamelware will be the most sought after. And Ed Smith’s new book ‘Good Eggs’ will be transforming the humble egg into over 100 knock out recipes from simple twists like fried eggs with a crisp cheese skirt, savoury eggy bread, and kimchi-blue cheese omelettes, to cracking global classics such as huevos rancheros, eggs bhurji and menemen.
Hormonal health through food
The discussion around nutrition during menopause has become very topical thanks to hormonal health activists like Davina McCall. To bolster this, nutritional experts like genetics professor Tim Spector have advised that during the menopause, diet is one of the most important choices you can make to combat sleeplessness, hot flushes, brain fog, or simply to feel better, physically and mentally throughout. A pioneering new cookbook called ‘Recipes for a Better Menopause’ has brought this all together – with ground-breaking scientific research from nutrition expert Dr Federica Amati and tasty, nourishing recipes from award-winning chef, Jane Baxter. Its aim is to help readers harness the power of food to optimise their health during the menopause – with recipes like ‘spiced chicken with red peppers & almond sauce’, ‘squash, greens and nut salad with ginger’ and ‘chocolate, peanut butter and banana brownies’, each one packed with nutrients, protein and essential vitamins to give a woman’s body the goodness it needs to thrive.
Retailers like Holland & Barrett – who recently launched their own fresh chilled food products for the first time – is also championing hormonal health and ‘period positivity’. Its ‘menopause bar with benefits’ is a dark chocolate bar with high fibre almond pieces, saffron extract to support mood during peri- and menopause, and with added vitamin B6 which contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Similarly, it H&B ‘Flow Job Trail Mix’ contains what it calls ‘energy-yielding’ ingredients through its combination of dried fruits, brazil nuts, caramelised almonds and chocolate clusters, fortified with iron and magnesium to support the monthly cycle.
Extreme aniseed and vintage perfume cocktails revived
Unapologetically perfumed floral drinks and extremely aniseedy cocktails evoking old world establishments of the 1920’s are having a big revival and are set to be the most fashionable tipples to order in 2024. The classic aviation cocktail is being showcased at ultra-hip places like After Ever in Chicago – a pastel purple martini which combines creme de violet, maraschino liqueur, gin and citrus. New underground Asian cocktail bar Lucy Wong is serving cherry blossom manhattans. Lanique – a floral spirit made with the pure essence of thousands of handpicked distilled roses is having a moment with mixologists; it’s rich aromas of cherry and Turkish Delight being added to negronis and even hot chocolate.
At the other end of the flavour extreme are cocktails that are intensely anise – evoking spices like aniseed, liquorice, fennel seeds and star anise. The newly opened Gothic Bar at the St Pancras Grand Hotel has an entire absinthe menu – with aniseedy elixrs like Jade Terminus Oxygenee, Combier L’Entete Superieure and La Maison Fontaine Blanch. Newly reopened Manzi’s is showcasing the Levantine anise spirit arak in cocktails like its ‘Mauresque’ which combines peach wine, Lebanese arak, orgeat and soda water. Slow sipping sambucas are giving the once flaming-shot something of a grown-up reinvention; and chefs at restaurants like the cool 64 Goodge Street are even re-mixing the iconic aniseedy French aperitif pastis into dishes like snail bon-bons. The scallop pink rooftop Flute bar at new boutique hotel Broadwick Soho has a menu celebrates both floral and anise flavour profiles: its French 75 combines the extremely anise Scandinavian spirit aquavit with thai basil and myagwa satsumas, and other creations feature floral botanicals like blue butterfly pea, camomile, jasmine and rosehip.
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