As part of the highly successful Butter Stories Middle East campaign, designed to provide a platform for showcasing recipes and tips about using European butter, the European Union and French Dairy Board have revealed the trends making an impact on both the F&B industry and cooking at home in 2024.
Focused on five key areas, including vegetables, flavoured butter, comfort food, zero waste, and creating a culinary community, the trends are set to change the region’s food landscape in the coming year.
The popularity of vegetables is on the rise
Vegetables are being increasingly consumed in greater numbers in restaurants, thanks to chefs coming up with increasingly innovative (and tasty) plant-based dishes, with diners now increasingly seeking out restaurants serving a vast array of vegetable dishes. Packed with goodness, diners are also reducing their carbon footprint and food waste as all the vegetables, stems and stalks included are now being served as part of the dish.
Michelin Star Chef Eric Guérin cooks with his own freshly made butter, using it as a driving force for all his creations; he said: “We use butter with all kinds of vegetables from the garden here at La Mare Aux Oiseaux. As the maestro of the dish, butter brings all the ingredients together, helping to create the explosive flavours.”
Flavoured butter high in demand
Flavoured butter, either sweet or savoury, is the perfect accompaniment as a spread on bread, bagels, and dinner rolls or when added to pasta, curries or desserts. Professional and home kitchens are increasingly experimenting with butter flavours, particularly when it comes to vegetables.
The beauty of working with vegetable-flavoured butter recipes lies in their adaptability. Jalapeño and honey butter, lemon miso butter, and scallion dill butter are just a few examples found in restaurants and home kitchens today. The butter recipes also utilise seasonal produce and are often created with the help of local suppliers. The creation of the Roscoff onion from Brittany and organic buckwheat butter is one such example.
Comfort food with a modern twist
New cooking techniques incorporating a combination of classical concepts or simply adding an alternate ingredient are contributing to modernising comfort foods. Bread and butter is a classic way of starting the day for many. However, the same taste and dish could be upgraded to a bread pudding with toffee sauce using similar ingredients.
Zero waste, maximum flavour
Chefs around the world are increasingly minimising waste, and this is a trend that is set to intensify in the forthcoming year. This is increasingly creating enhanced flavours and lowering the cost in the kitchen. Soup and vegetable stocks are just two ways people utilise every part of a vegetable, from the stems of broccoli and potato peel to cauliflower leaves and carrot tops; these can all be added to a pot to make a tasty stock.
Fun fact: a vegetable that we eat every part of is the Brussels sprout, which can be fried in butter or roasted in garlic butter to create a mouthwatering dish.
Science suggests that sharing food with those who matter relieves stress and results in an amplification of sensations. Interestingly and predictably, breaking bread and sharing butter with loved ones is now a global language. Inviting friends and family over to enjoy a butter board is a great example –spread a thick layer of softened butter on the wooden board, add a mix of herbs, fruits, and edible flowers, and as many chopped, diced, mashed, and julienned, vegetables, including everything from winter squash to sun-dried tomatoes. Make it pretty, colourful and full of nutrition. Serve it with sliced French bread or crackers.