Jean Leon was a real character. He had his ups and downs as we all do, but he was an optimist and a dreamer, and he never gave up. How would he have got through 2020, what with restaurants not being able to open, social distancing, and all the restrictions?
There’s no way of knowing, but we’re pretty sure he’d have left us with at least a couple of good anecdotes for posterity. Or even better, what would he have made of food trends this year, in 2021?
After looking back over the last few years and analysing trends within the sector, we’ve come up with 4 food trends that we think may well be a feature of 2021.
1. Delivery, Takeaway and Ghost Restaurants
It seems that it’s no longer enough for us to go out and pick up a takeaway or get a pizza, a kebab, some three delights fried rice or sushi delivered to our doors. If we’re to be stuck at home, we also want to enjoy the city’s fine-dining restaurants. As we’ve recently read in the media, some prominent chefs are already working on a version of fine-dining adapted to a delivery model.
However, this is not a model that suits every restaurant or every chef. The abusive charges to restaurants made by some specialised companies for providing delivery services means that it’s not always profitable.
In contrast, the takeaway model is gaining more and more fans, because it allows the consumer to interact directly with the restaurateur and thus receive the final instructions for that special dish or menu that you’ve gone to pick up to make sure that it’s served just in the way it should be.
Modern? Trendy? I can hear Jean Leon laughing. Jean Leon himself wasn’t above personally delivering a plate of fettuccine to Marilyn, or flying Elizabeth Taylor’s cannelloni over to her in London while she was filming Cleopatra, together with a couple of bottles of Vinya Gigi Chardonnay to wash it down with. Actually, that particular wine didn’t exist at the time, but we’re sure that if it had, Elizabeth would have enjoyed it.
This type of delivery isn’t very eco-friendly, and the fact that the carbon footprint it leaves behind is a long way from zero is one of the problems that need to be solved, perhaps by opening one of the ghost restaurants that we’re going to be seeing ever more of in our cities. Restaurants dedicated exclusively to home dining. Will wine be included? We hope it will.
2. We eat with our eyes
Let’s be honest. At home we can never manage to reproduce the experience of eating out at a restaurant. The party atmosphere in La Scala, Jean Leon’s Beverley Hills restaurant was unique, and although he tried to reproduce it in his catering service, it certainly wasn’t quite the same.
This is why restaurants are putting a great deal of effort into creating forms of presentation that are transport friendly, but that can still surprise the customer at home. If this trend continues over the next few years, we’re going to see some real works of art in terms of the presentation of takeaway menus.
3. Zero KM, traceability, and carbon footprint
Did Jean Leon explain where he sourced his fillet steaks, pasta, or lobsters? Over the past year, consumers have become more aware of where their food comes from, and all over the western world we’ve seen a growing trend towards shopping in markets which has encouraged the growth of local producers.
But one thing that is explained very clearly is where wine comes from. The winery, situated in the heart of the Penedès region still stands in its original location; the vineyards are organic, and the wines produced are suitable for vegans. At the Jean Leon winery, we make every effort to be worthy of his legacy, and while improving and expanding the range of wines we make, we never forget the philosophy of our founder.
4. The superfoods of 2021
Now we come to the final point. What will we be seeing on our plates in 2021? Grandma’s cooking isn’t making a comeback, but the ingredients she used certainly are. Take note: extra virgin olive oil, chick peas, carob, and lupini beans. And something called copaiba. This is an oil that comes from the Amazon rainforests, and it has to be said that it’s not so great in terms of carbon footprint, and certainly doesn’t meet Zero KM criteria.
As for extra virgin olive oil, we won’t just be using it to dress just about everything, but will also be adding it to our herbal teas. It’s out best alternative to copaiba, an oil that’s steam distilled from the copaiba resin that’s harvested by bleeding the Copaifera tree, which is native to the Amazon.
Chick peas. Yes indeed – the chick pea is starting to replace cauliflower as a superfood. Not only cooked whole, or as a meat substitute in vegan hamburgers, but also as gram flour, one of the fashionable foods for 2021.
We feel sure that Jean Leon would have sat Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando down at his famous kitchen table to tuck into some hearty stewed chick peas washed down with his Vinya La Scala, that now legendary cabernet. While his Galician chef Emilio Núñez would have made fresh pasta with gram flour for a Natalie Wood transformed into a strict vegan.
The carob. Animal fodder, Jean Leon would have said. Or we could ask our grandparents, who were children during the postwar period and who knew the carob very well. Recognised today as a substitute for chocolate, rich in fibre and with healing properties, carob aims to make a comeback, and position itself as one of the fashionable superfoods of 2021.
And last of all: lupini beans. These legumes, rich in fibre and vegetable proteins, reign supreme once again as one of the most popular snacks, or added to salads. Much healthier than fried nuts. Can you imagine James Dean with a glass of 3055 Rosé in his hand and a tapa of lupini beans, arguing with Jean Leon about the latest food trends?
Whatever the culinary trends this year, the wines produced by the Bodega Jean Leon will be here to accompany them, so you’ll be able to enjoy all the latest trends on your plate combined with an excellent wine.
Wishing you a very happy – and foodie – New Year.