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Unravel the Heat in 2024

Food & Wine Matches

Exploring the Year's Trends

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Spice up your Life!

Discover the hottest food trends of 2024 and how to perfectly pair them with the finest wines. From Guajillo peppers to K-cuisine, we've got it covered in this comprehensive guide!

Unravel the Heat in 2024

Article by James Beard Award-winning author Laura Werlin @cheezelady

Peppers are hot! As if you didn’t know, right? But here, we’re talking about one of the biggest food trends for 2024. And it’s not just any pepper. According to the Whole Foods 2024 Food Trends list, Guajillo peppers top the list – as in the sweet, tart, tangy, and smoky pepper, not the mouth-numbing variety. Good thing because that means it’s wine-friendly too. Then again, the crazy-hot goathorn and scorpion peppers are also trending. Pop Rocks, another 2024 projected food trend, well, there’s a wine for everything.

Lucky for us, Ribera del Duero and Rueda wines stand ready to meet the moment for whatever is on our plates and no matter where it’s from. Welcome to the 2024 Food Trends edition – a round-up of projected food trends and ingredients that are taking over menus, food trucks, and home cooking. Much of what’s trending we already knew was a thing. What’s different is that whether someone is in New York City or Small Town, America, once-exotic dishes are finding their way to menus everywhere, and so too are the wines from Ribera del Duero and Rueda.

K-cuisine
So, what is the cuisine of the now? Here’s a hint: look at any influencer, restaurant trends newsletter, or pretty much anything on TikTok, and you’ll know the answer. Welcome, Korean cuisine, the international cuisine of 2024 according to those who predict such things. In this case, that’s Carbonate. This means sweet, spicy, garlicky, comforting, flavorful, and deeply delicious. Healthy too. Think kimchi, grilled meats, soup, and much more. And while kimchi itself may not top the list of wine-friendly dishes, another 2024 trend – water – does. But with Korean dishes like bulgogi and galbi among many others, there’s plenty of room for wine too.

Sweet and sour
Also hailing from Asia (Mexico and the Caribbean too) is tamarind, spice behemoth McCormick’s Flavor of the Year. The sweet and sour fruit is used in everything from jellies to curries to marinades to candies and much more. Its versatility in cooking invites varying wine styles depending on the finished dish, but we’re thinking a bright new-vintage Verdejo might win the day.

Getting grainy
Perhaps unsurprisingly, grains of all kinds are more popular than ever with buckwheat reigning supreme in 2024, according to Whole Foods. Buckwheat crackers are helping lead the charge – perfect with a creamy cheese or perhaps a piece of cell-based spicy tuna on top, another category that’s booming.

Planting the seed(s)
While we’re on the subject, fake meats in 2024? Not so much. Instead, actual plant-based foods like mushrooms, nuts, and beans are comprising your veggie and meatless burgers making them more, well, meaty. Bring on the Tempranillo! While you’re at it, bring out the sesame seeds – black and white, both – and pretty much any other seed you can think of, and you’ll be trending too.

Sea fare
If sea-based is your thing, then look no further than seaweed and algae. When those are added to snappy crackers, oils, and powders, they create a double whammy of good health and flavor. Uni is on the list too. Briny and creamy – what’s not to love? Pairing these ocean-y foods are all about balance, and when you bring on a chilled Verdejo, you’ll get that. So too chilled Tempranillos – another 2024 trend. Well, not just Tempranillo but pretty much any red wine. Kind of like chilled coffee, chilled red wine has become a thing. That works for us. In fact, we wrote a whole article about that very concept long before it became an official trend.

You say bologna
Back on land, mortadella – “bologna” as most of us knew it when we were growing up – has grown up itself. Chefs are making it from all kinds of meats and even seafood (octopus, anyone?), and it’s making its way to everything from pizza toppings to sandwiches to center-of-the-plate delicacies. Add some Calabrian chilies – another projected trend – along with a little Manchego (a forever trend) for balance and flavor (ditto), and you’ve got an ascendant wine-friendly meal.

Going it alone
Although not a food, solo dining is in, and it’s not just for solo travelers. It’s for anyone who enjoys their own company (don’t we all?). Restaurants are re-portioning dishes to answer the solo call, and they’re upping their by-the-glass programs to follow suit. Not long ago, a Gran Vino de Rueda or Ribera del Duero Reserva by the glass would have been nearly impossible to find. In 2024, be on the lookout.

Don’t say fusion
As restaurants serve more solo diners, they’re also refashioning their food offerings to fall precipitously close to the dreaded category of “fusion.” Yes –cultural culinary mashups are back, although this time around the idea is not cringe-worthy. Instead, it’s the melting pot of American cultures through food. Think Jamaican tacos, ice cream with Asian ingredients, grilled cheese with kimchi, and hamburger quesadillas among countless others. Entire cookbooks are dedicated to this kind of cooking, a likely portent of more to come.

Soup’s on
According to the Specialty Food Association, the dish of the year is the humble soup. Bone broth? Sure, but soups of all kinds are in, which will become apparent on store shelves, whether ready-made or soup starters. Think of this trend as a big warm blanket, preferably with a glass of wine and a fireplace fire nearby.

Putting it all together
Following is a brief primer to help bridge the new flavors with the wines from Ribera del Duero and Rueda. In the last two years, we’ve listed the many herbs and spices, both savory and sweet, that we love with Tempranillo and Verdejo. We’ve updated those lists here to include the new flavors. Those are bolded.

Spices and pastes: Anise seed, annatto, alligator pepper, black pepper, black sesame seeds, Cajun spice, cayenne, Chinese five-spice powder, cumin, curry powder, garlic, garlic powder, ginger, gochugaru, harissa paste, Calabash nutmeg (African, Jamaican; also known as Ehuru), onion powder, Hungarian sweet or spicy paprika, pimentón, red pepper flakes, star anise, dried suya powder (a blend of dried, powdered peanuts, smoked paprika and other spices), Thai red curry (medium heat) yaji (northern Nigerian spice blend containing garlic powder, ginger, and chili powder among other spices) soybean paste

Baking spices: Allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg

The herbs: Bay laurel, Calabrian chilies, caraway, curry leaves, ginger, goathorn peppers, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, scorpion peppers, thyme, and za’atar

Condiments: banana ketchup, doenjang (soybean paste), Lao Jeow Het (mushroom and chili-based Laotian dipping sauce), Thai red curry paste (medium heat), harissa, gochujang, plum syrup, saamjang (sweet and spicy), tahini

All together: Think sweet, spicy, savory, herbaceous, earthy, umami, aromatic, salty, briny, and sour.

A few new-style Tempranillo-friendly dishes:

Buckwheat Porridge with Morels

Cocido Madrileño – a sort of three-course soup that starts with a rich pork-based broth. Noodles are then added, and the first part of the soup is served. The meats used to make the broth are then served on the side along with potatoes and chickpeas that have also been cooked in the broth. All together, this is comfort and Tempranillo-friendly food, both. So too Verdejo!

Korean Bulgogi – marinated grilled beef, onions, green peppers, and garlic

Kalbi – Korean barbecued short ribs

Soba Noodles (buckwheat) and Steak Stir-fry

Tamarind Beef

Nigerian Jollof rice, tomato, and pepper often with onions, carrots, and prawns
Suya – Northern Nigerian spicy kebabs
Red Thai curry with beef
Filipino pork adobo
Filipino lechon – whole suckling pig roasted over fire
Filipino kare-kare – oxtail stew with toasted rice and peanut sauce
Slow-roasted lamb with za’atar

A few new-style Verdejo dishes

Bimbimbap – traditional Korean dish consisting of rice topped with vegetables, chile paste, beef or other meat, and sometimes an egg

KFC – no, not that KFC. We’re talking Korean Fried Chicken – lightly battered double-fried chicken served with a sweet and spicy sauce made of gochujang, soy sauce, and honey

Bourekas – flaky Israeli pastry with all kinds of savory fillings including spinach, cheese, mushrooms, za‘atar (last year’s spice of the year), usually served with tahini and/or hot sauce

Creamy Sea Urchin (Uni) Pasta

Buckwheat blini with crème fraiche and smoked salmon

Danmuji – Korean pickled radish
Laab ped – Thai minced duck salad
Egusi – Nigerian soup made with melon seeds
Lumpia – Filipino spring roll
Vegetable pancit – Filipino noodles with vegetables or chicken
Filipino chicken adobo
Filipino arroz caldo – chicken and rice soup with ginger, fish sauce, and tart citrus called calamansi
Peruvian tiradito – sashimi-style raw fish with a spicy citrus drizzle
Fish with molé verde (green molé)
Southeast Asian laksa

One overall trend to look for that’s not as much new as it is amped up and refined is snack food. Evidently, we’d like a little healthy in our snacks – less sugar – and in fact, savory flavors like cheese, sriracha, beef among others. This portends good things for those of us for whom wine is also food. For one, the new Doritos-Jack Link Jerky mash-ups – Flamin’ Hot Beef Jerky and Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili Beef Jerky – go perfectly well with wine. In fact, as our lives get ever busier and because of that, our eating habits become, uh, questionable, quick protein snacks are on the rise in a big way according to Future Market Insights.

One thing’s for sure: no matter the trends, Ribera del Duero Tempranillo and Rueda Verdejo are timeless. Whatever is on our tables in a particular year will find their wine matches in these two wines. The only thing we need to do is open the bottles. The pairings will take care of themselves.

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