The 11 Biggest Food Trends of 2011

More trends with a foodie-culinary slant, this time from the super-successful internet newspaper, The Huffington Post, only this is a look back on 2011. Among this rather eclectic-to-strange selection are insects, artisanal butchery, meatballs and macarons…

“A lot of people cringe at the word “trend.” After all — how does one really determine if something is a trend, or a fad. Certainly, media professionals have been accused of creating trends where there really aren’t. But in the past year we’ve seen a lot of activity around all of the examples below. Although you may have seen lots of these grow before 2011, the 11 trends below really reached their apex in 2011. Feel free to express your disagreement but this is our list and we’re sticking to it!,” says The Huffington Post.

Among its food trends in 2012:

Insects: There was a huge crop of stories (see here, here, here and here) about the prevalence of critters as cuisine this year. Although insects aren’t actually appearing on a ton of menus, there has certainly been a media saturation. The stories weren’t written for the gross out factor, though — turns out that insects are not only good for you, but they are pretty sustainable and have low environmental impact. After all, there’s a lot of them, so get over your fears and dive into your new dish du jour.

Macarons: These have been slowly creeping into bakeries for a while now, but the opening of famed Paris shop Laduree in New York City cemented what we saw coming: macarons are here to stay. After embarking on an epic macaron taste test this fall, Serious Eats listed 10 signs of a bad macaron. Fox News asks whether macarons are the new cupcakes — they very well may be but just like what has happened with cupcakes, there is a danger of too much of a good thing. Macarons can be amazing desserts, but so many poor imitations now proliferate that we’d rather save our pennies for a really excellent one. Less is sometimes more.

Butchery: Butchery has never been so sexy. Between new meat-heavy books such as Odd Bits, Whole Beef Butchery and Joe Beef, and the opening of high-end, artisanal butcher shops like Lindy & Grundy in Los Angeles and the Brooklyn location of Fleisher’s, the art of a finely cut piece of meat is back, baby. These shops have opened at a time of ever-heightened awareness about the issues of factory farmed meat. These two concepts are converging in a butchery renaissance that started before this year but has more fully come into its own. But meat this good and well-sourced doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay top dollar for these expertly cut cuts.

Meatballs: It seems as if Americans’ affection for ground meat will never cease. Hamburgers remain as popular as ever, and new concepts for burger chains seem to open every other day. But ground meat patties are being slowly usurped by their spherical cousin: the meatball. NPR recently mused on the universality of the meatball, explaining there’s much more to do with the ball than serve it atop spaghetti. The proprietors of New York’s The Meatball Shop would agree — their new cookbook shares nearly 100 different meatball recipes. Appetizer-portions of meatballs have popped up on tons of menus. Don’t like beef? Well, there’s plenty of lamb, rabbit, chicken, turkey, veal, seafood and more meatballs to go around.

Huffington Post: Read more here