Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012

Vancouver Dessert Trends 2012

Follow Me Foodie Predictions for Vancouver Dessert Trends/Movements for 2012.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote my post on Vancouver’s Food Trends for 2012. It’s not that I want to take anything back, but I didn’t realize I only listed one dessert. That’s pretty disappointing on this blog, so to make up for it I’m dedicating a post just for Vancouver’s Dessert Trends for 2012.

I think I totally underestimated my like-minded dessert lovers and readers and I thank you to those who brought it to my attention. So here’s a whole new blog post for that second stomach which I shamefully overlooked.

Again, just like my Vancouver’s Food Trends for 2012 and Top 5 Food Trends at Grocery Showcase West 2012, these aren’t necessarily “trends” as much as they are things being brought to life for the current generation. Some of them have been popular in cities years ago, but we have yet to really see them rise in Vancouver. I hate to say it, but although our savoury food scene, cocktail and Asian scene is pretty strong, our dessert scene is generally very behind and definitely the weakest link out of that list. Regardless, better late than never.

Trends always take a while to pick up and they continue being “cool” even after they’re popular and overdone, so that’s why I’ll predict at least a couple years before they pick up if they haven’t already. These posts always make me feel like some kind of “foodie-hipster” or a “food snob”, but I’m really not. I’ll still eat “non-popular” food from “last season” so long as it’s good. There may also be things on this list that make you say “I’ve been doing that for years”, and that’s great, but now would be the time to start making money off them.

Listed in no particular order.

Beignets Chaud from Le St-Urbain in Montreal, QC

1. Doughnuts/Donuts

We saw the cupcake craze and then there was/is a macaron madness (yes, although macarons are still popping up, in the “food snob” world they are considered last year or even 2 years ago). I still enjoy all of the above, but it’s time for the return of the donut. It’s just deep fried dough and Homer Simpson’s favourite next to beer, but the donuts of the future are going gourmet and along the lines of brioche donuts, potato donuts and lemon thyme and white chocolate donuts. They’re not going to be these huge massive donuts (although someone might do one for the novelty), but being in Vancouver they’ll be sophisticated/mini sized donuts with innovative flavours and toppings that are available gluten free, organic and/or made with local ingredients. I’m going to give a shout out to Outpost Mini Donut Co. in Steveston Village in Richmond, Honey Doughnuts & Goodies in North Vancouver, and Cartems Donuterie in Gastown Vancouver, for being one of the early ones to play with the idea.

For the food snobs/advanced foodies: If donuts are below you (*ahem* snob), then beignets are what the “advanced foodies” eat. Hello New Orleans! They also take a lot more effort to make. My dream is that Vancouver’s hipster coffee shops that “hand roast/grind their own coffee” will start serving beignets as opposed to muffins and croissants which are more for Starbucks.

Brooklyn Bootleg S’mores at Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn, NY (Photo credit: Timout New York)

2. S’mores

I rarely have them because I don’t camp, but offer them to me indoors and I’m there. My memory of a gourmet s’more was actually the “Campfire S’mores” from Earl’s that was introduced a few years ago, but I think it’s really going to take off this year. From house made marshmallows in various flavours and single origin chocolates, it’s going to be good times away from a campfire.

Beet & Carrot Cake from The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Vancouver, BC

3. Salty Sweet & Spicy

I know salted caramel is good, but it’s really about time to explore other salty ingredients besides salt. Yes, I also know there is bacon, and it’s really time to explore beyond the bacon too. All of the above is still good, but let’s move on… to something a bit spicy too.

I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty, so I’m stoked about this. I actually think we have another year to warm up to spicy, but baby steps. The classic form of sweet and salty is peanut butter and jelly, but welcome to 2012. Things like pretzels, potato chips, olive oil, beets, celery, zucchini, butternut squash, avocados, corn, curry, herbs and pepper will have their play in desserts. I’ve tried some combination of all of the above in some dessert before, and if it’s in the right hands, it’s fantastic!

Advanced foodies/food snobs: If salty, sweet and spicy makes you yawn, then try incorporating smoky. Using chili in desserts isn’t uncommon, but start experimenting with different types of pepper too. As for smoke, I recently had a smoked coconut water at Hawksworth and I was in awe, although it was very acquired.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (Modern Day Ice Cream Truck) in Manhattan, NY

4. Artisan Ice Cream

Good bye fat-free and hello organic full fat cream! Artisan ice cream is the new fro-yo. We’re so health-conscious in Vancouver that frozen yogurt won’t be forgotten, but I am so ready for this long awaited ice cream to dominate. In fact, a good quality ice cream is my favourite dessert category and it hasn’t really been satisfied in Vancouver unless you’re dining at a nice restaurant. From Earl Grey ice cream to gourmet ice cream sandwiches I can’t wait to see this one explode.

Advanced foodies/food snobs: Frozen custard. I’d love to see this in Vancouver, but I still think we have a couple years.

Gourmet Marshmallows from Butter Baked Goods in Vancouver, BC

5. Marshmallows

I like marshmallows, but I’m not crazy about them, however I might be with the new inventive ones popping up. Butter Baked Goods is probably the most notorious for making gourmet marshmallows with flavours like matcha, passionfruit and pumpkin, but now places will have all of the above plus more! They’re also going to be presented in various shapes and forms and at times like a lollipop. A shout out to BETA 5 Chocolates for making yuzu marshmallows and pairing them with matcha hot chocolate during the hot chocolate festival.

Home Made Pop Tart at Milk Street Cafe in Manhattan, NY (Photo: Salad in a Jar)

6. Home Made Pop Tarts

It’s not the Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts you had for breakfast before school, or the ones you ate while watching Saved by the Bell (which are likely the same ones, unless you had the Toaster Strudel), but it’s the come back of the pop tart. They won’t be cheap artificial pop tarts either, but these are gourmet pop tarts made with quality ingredients with perhaps do-it-yourself icing and savoury and sweet toppings. Things like bacon, fleur de sel caramel, lavender white chocolate, and toasted coconut with a local BC Blueberry jam might be in store. Being in Vancouver, these pop tarts are likely to be available gluten free too… and $3 each if not more.

Spumoni Layered Cake (Photo from Wilton)

7. Layer Cakes

I haven’t come across many yet, but I know it’s coming. I’m a huge fan of layered desserts, but I’m not referring to cakes with many layers and textures. What I mean is that the cake part of the cake will come in various flavours stacked upon one another. It’s actually a very old fashioned concept. With alternating layers of red velvet cake and coffee cake, or carrot cake and coconut cake, it will be the best of both worlds in a single bite, or just two cakes in one! Yes there will also be many layers of butter cream, frosting and filling in between, but it’s all about colour and cake flavours. According to my wedding cake baker friends, these orders have them lined up for summer 2012.

Canadian Pie In-A-Jar by me 🙂

8. Desserts In-A-Jar

Cute huh? Presentation is key, but hopefully it tastes as good as it looks. The best part is, if you can’t finish it, you can take it to go and it’s sustainable… how Vancouver. So stop crying in a jar and make some pie in a jar! Or just any dessert in a jar for that matter. From bread puddings, creme brûlées and even s’mores (as seen on Food Beasts) this Southern presentation is making its way up North.

Assorted dessert tapas at YEW at The Four Seasons in Vancouver, BC

9. Tapas/Mini Desserts

I actually feel like this started with chain restaurants, and I’m thinking of The Keg. It’s more or less taking the idea of a Two-Bite Brownie in the context of a plated dessert at a restaurant. It’s a great idea to up the sales and avoid those “oh I’m too full for dessert” comments, which I think is nonsense anyways. Personally I like this tapas style option even more because it means I can try more things.

Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego, CA

10. Dessert Only Restaurants

Up until 1-2 years ago nobody in Vancouver really cared about desserts. We had maybe a handful of great places, but compared to other cities we were on a sugar-low… until now. With more and more dessert only restaurants coming up, I’m ecstatic that our talented pastry chefs are finally finding jobs to exercise what they’ve worked so hard to learn.

Additional Notes/Trends:

A few trends that might happen, but didn’t make the list are: push-up cake pops are the new cake pops, soft serve ice cream beyond McDonald’s and Dairy Queen, Nanaimo Bars (almost exclusive to Canada), deconstructed desserts (almost exclusive to fine dining restaurants), hand made lollipops, carrot cakes and waffles (sweet or savoury).

What dessert trend are you most excited for?


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