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Jun 6, 2011

Five Summer Culinary Trends

Summer is just about here meaning warmer weather, swimming pools, grilling, suntans, and in some cases sunburns. These few months also mean new culinary trends to accentuate your favorite summer meals. Chef Jamie Gwen, who is a Certified Sommelier and has written four cookbooks, has named her five top culinary trends for 2011, which vary greatly but would all be wonderful additions to any of your summer meals.

She first recommends the “it” wine for the summer- the Italian Pinot Grigio, a wine that is light, crisp, and would be perfect with a delicious dish of grilled seafood. This wine comes from the Northeastern Tre Venezie region of Italy and is known to be less acidic than its counterparts. This makes it easier to pair with all of your favorite summer dishes. Great wine, like the Italian Pinot Grigio, doesn’t have to be expensive, though. You can get a great bottle like Ecco Domani on the way home from class at IOT for a mere $11. I think it is wonderful to be able to get an outstanding bottle of wine for such a great price.

Next on the list are French Macaroons. Don’t get these sweet and light treats confused with traditional coconut macaroons, as these are made with almond flour or paste and can come in a variety of flavors. My favorite is Vanilla, but flavors range from orange to coffee. These are perfectly paired with an after dinner coffee or just by themselves. They are sweet, but light, making them perfect for the hot summer weather.

Spanish Paprika or Pimenton is the third trend of Summer 2011. Though I’ve never heard of it, I’m sure expert culinary students like you have used it add a spicy and zesty flavor to some of your dishes. Chef Gwen recommends putting it on chicken on the grill!

Fourth on the list is not a specific food, but a genre. Korean Influences are sweeping the nation with their spicy and interesting flavors that can add a little pizzazz to any dish. It is becoming increasingly popular for chefs to mix flavors from different cuisines, blending and creating masterpieces.

Last is not something I’m sure I could convince myself to actually do, but Chef Gwen recommends the trend of “Meatless Mondays,” which is a movement that encourages people to cut meat consumption by 15%. She advises people to try salads and vegetarian dishes, as they are light and perfect for summer anyway. While trendy, I don’t think this will stick as Americans like their meat dishes way too much!

What are your favorite dishes to cook up in the summertime? Will you follow any of these trends in 2011?