I don't know about you, but I'm so over bacon. Bacon in chocolate bars, bacon in doughnuts, bacony beer. At some point the novelty wore off for me. I'm all bacon-ed out and I'm ready to get excited over the next thing.
I say the next food trend will be infusions. It's been popping up for the past few years and I think it's ready to catch on. And I'm not just saying that because of the great infused salsas we have at NAKED Infusions. Though come on, half the fun of our Rustic Blue Cheese salsa, our California Burnt Sage salsa, our Black Silk Espresso salsa and our Oaxaca White Chocolate salsa is the joy of the unexpected combination, the look on your friends' faces when you tell them what it is. (Not to leave out our Fire Roasted Garlic salsa - it's an infusion too. But garlic salsa isn't as unexpected as our other infusions - though it is as remarkably delicious.)
And that's what great about an infused food. It's a combination that you might not have expected. Yet they can taste better than you imagine. It's two tastes coming together to make something wonderfully new.
We're not the only ones mixing flavors. Wine-infused popcorn? It's a thing. And the tasters at local NYC news blog Gothamist thought it was pretty tasty too. And craft brewery Dogfish Head has gotten in on the act with four beer-infused brats, including one infused with both beer and espresso.
And the coffee love doesn't end there. Food Republic recently listed several recipes that infuse coffee into unexpected dishes, including shortbread, barbecue sauce, sauce for roast beef and (sigh) bacon. And there's an Australian-made coffee-infused liquor that will be available in the US in early 2014.
You can do your own infusing and experimenting as well. Infused water is about as easy as it gets and there are so many combinations to try. It's also such an easy way to add a little luxury to your day, or nudge yourself to drink more water if you need to.
If you want to get more advanced, the web is full of recipes for DiY infused vodka, rum and brandy. Add some fruit to add natural sweetness, or candy if you're feeling playful. Infused liquors are great for parties, and make great gifts.
Herb-infused oils are another culinary combination that you can pick up in stores or make yourself. That basil or rosemary that grows like crazy in your garden? Just add some to a bottle of olive oil and wait for the flavors to mingle. Infused oils are great for dipping crusty bread into, or drizzling over, well, lots of things - homemade pizza, bruchetta, and pasta just to name a few.
The great thing about infusions is that they're a gourmet twist on farm fresh flavor. They take the natural, fresh taste of two separate foods and combine them in a way that they enhance each other. It's exciting and there's lots of room for creativity. I think this is a trend that will be around for a very long time.