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Benchmark Reveals the Top Five Dining Trends for 2009

The Woodlands, Texas-based Benchmark Hospitality International announced next year’s top five dining trends today.

The list includes:

1. Farm-to-table foods: Organically grown produce and hormone-free meats will be the natural choice for consumers next year, Benchmark says.

2. Sliders: These traditional comfort food items get a modern, gourmet twist in 2009. Restaurants will be offering “slider tastings,” Benchmark says; the petite doughy rolls will be filled with treats such as Kobe beef burgers and lamb masala.

3. Offal: This classic British dish--also known as “variety meats”--will be right on trend next year, according to Benchmark. Offal, made of combinations such as beef liver and onion, will be used in everything from sauces to marmalades.

4. The disapperance of super-size portions: More fruits and vegetables--and less meat--will fill consumers' plates in 2009, Benchmark says; the focus will be on healthy, balanced portions.

5. Environmentally friendly foods: Locally grown, farm-raised cuisine will be all the rage next year, Benchmark says.

Cocktail trends will include the use of bar chefs, while healthy juices will enhance drinks. Classic cocktails, such as the Sidecar, will make a comeback; globally-infused spirits and “forgotten” liquors--such as absinthe and Benedictine--will enhance specialty drinks in 2009, Benchmark says.

For more information, call 281/367-5757 or visit www.benchmarkhospitality.com

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