Happy New Year everyone! 2015 was an amazing year, full of great events and amazing milestones for food and drink in our region. We’ve been so lucky to be at the forefront of a wonderful movement in our city that embraces our culinary culture and celebrates it.
Every year we like to list out what we think are upcoming trends in our region. 2016 promises to be another exciting year in Windsor Essex for food and drink.
Last year we listed the Rise of the Home Based Business as a trend and sure enough, we saw lots of examples of this in 2015. The Little White Kitchen, Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Co. and Little Foot Foods are just 3 businesses that went from being a vendor at the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market to having their own brick and mortar establishments.
So what’s next for Windsor Essex? Here are our thoughts on where we think our region is heading.
Cold brew coffee hit the Windsor scene last year when Anchor Coffee House and Salute Espresso (so sad they closed) started bottling this elixir. We expect to see it grow in popularity. Unlike iced coffee which is brewed hot then chilled, this process steeps coffee grounds in cold water over an extended period of time (sometimes days). I find it has a smoother, less bitter taste. If you haven’t tried it yet, get yourself over to Anchor Coffee House asap!
The Continued Growth of Craft
We see this trend continuing on in 2016. Look for brewers and distillers experimenting with unique flavours, local hops, obscure brewing practices and old recipes like gose (a sour/salty tasting beer). You’ll also start to see more local ciders hitting the market. And think small batch. Brewers are making minimal quantities of specialty brews aged in barrels and with interesting ingredients.
Craft cocktails will also continue to rise in popularity. Places like the Blind Owl and The Willistead continue to lead the way with drinks made with homemade syrups, shrubs and local ingredients.
Accountability and Sustainability
People are continuing to take an interest in knowing where their food comes from. GMO free, cage-free, hormone free products are working their way to our grocery stores and restaurants. Even large corporate food chains are now jumping on the band wagon advertising cage-free eggs and hormone free beef. As more people become concerned about their food sources, smaller, niche farms will begin to grow. We see this trend in Windsor Essex with the success of small scale organic farms like Brandner Farms.
Niche Festivals And Events
Large festivals are a staple in Windsor Essex but we are also starting to see smaller niche events making their mark. Smaller, neighourbood style events are gaining popularity and last year’s Sausage Party and Walkerville Night Market are examples of this. These events are not geared for the thousands but rather offer a more intimate experience. You’ll probably see a lot more of our WindsorEats Traveller at these events too!
As I’m sure we’ve all noticed meat is expensive, and it continues to rise in price. We anticipate restaurants becoming more creative with off cuts of meat, investing in whole animal butchery. The Willistead has items on their menu (like their Roasted Bone Marrow or Beef Tongue Sliders) that make use of the not so popular cuts of meat. The Butcher of Kingsville has always been an advocate for whole animal butchery and often offer beef share programs. At home we’ll see people leaning towards vegetarian style meals more than often through the week.
And those are a few trends we think is going to shape the Windsor Essex food and drink scene this year!
On a side note we just want to say thank you for all your support in 2015 and can’t wait to continue on this crazy journey with you! We had such an outstanding year creating new events and travelling around the province telling people about this wonderful place we live in. This year is going to be even better. We’ve got a few new ideas up our sleeves and can’t wait to get started and share it all with you!