The Scoop On Food And Wine Trends In '08

Wondering what 2008 holds for your stomach and palate?

Bon Appetit magazine's restaurant editor, Andrew Knowlton, gave The Early Show viewers something to chew on during Monday's broadcast.

He cooked up a forecast of food and wine trends for 2008 -- what he expects to be "in" when it comes to cuisine, wines, sweets, and more. Oh -- and also -- out!

Trend #1: Hottest Wine Region: Burgundy

We often think Burgundy is super-pricey, but it's not nearly as expensive as wines from its sister region, Bordeaux. Vintages from 2005 are super-fantastic, and you'll find great values here. We are not talking just about $100.00-plus bottles; we are talking about great values like $12.00!

Trend #2: Cocktail of the Year

Forget the cosmopolitan that has dominated our bar scene. In 2008, RYE is the spirit to buy, and "The Manhattan" is THE drink.

What is rye, you ask? The New York Times wrote of rye: "Let me get straight to the point. Rye whiskey is the world's great forgotten spirit, distinctive, complex and delicious. It offers a tactile pleasure unlike any other whiskey in the world.

"Yet, it nearly disappeared from American barrooms and from the national consciousness.

"It used to be the signature whiskey of the United States. George Washington distilled it. Men fought over it in the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Classic cocktails such as The Manhattan, the Sazerac, and the Ward 8 were invented for it. Humphrey Bogart swigged it. But the rise of vodka, bourbon and single-malt scotch, along with the decline of the distilling industry in the Northeast, the stronghold of rye production, turned rye into a relic.

"For decades, it clung tenuously to life, barely preserved by a couple of distilleries that would not let it lapse. A dedicated search might have turned up no more than a few dusty bottles in downtrodden liquor stores. Many people came to believe that Canadian whiskey was synonymous with rye, though Canadian generally contained a smaller proportion of rye than U.S. rules mandate.

"Now, though, in a turnabout, the prospects for rye have brightened considerably. Fueled by the same sense of curiosity and geeky connoisseurship that gave birth to the microbrew industry as well as the single-malt avalanche and myriad small-batch bourbons, rye has been resurrected by whiskey lovers who want to preserve its singular, almost exotic essence.

"Unlike bourbon, which is characteristically sweet, smooth and rounded, rye has a dry, jangly, brash nature. Its spicy flavors practically dance their way through the mouth. In its simplest form, rye is a little grassy and sour, much like rye bread. With age, it becomes more complex and subtle, weaving spice and caramel flavors over and through the grassiness. Yet it retains its angularity, never quite losing its edginess. A Manhattan, made as originally conceived -- with rye instead of bourbon -- is a completely different cocktail, dynamic rather than soothing."

Knowlton describes rye as "bourbon's spicy and zesty cousin."

Trend #3: Boutique Bakeries

There is a sense of nostalgia that we're seeing with bakeries. Remember when there was a charming bakery on every corner? No? Well, times are a-changing. What Knowlton is seeing are bakeries popping up everywhere, making offerings from cupcakes to beautifully hand-fried donuts. This is because fewer people are ordering desserts at restaurants, so pastry chefs have moved on to open up their own places.

The treats shown on The Early Show Monday were from:
Trois Pommes Patisserie
260 Fifth Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Phone: (718) 230-3119

On the set were:

Cupcakes: 25 cupcakes, Red Velvet, Hostess, German Chocolate with coconut pecan (displayed on a tiered cupcake stand.)

Donuts: a dozen Jelly donuts (displayed on earthy brown platter oval 12 inches long with the brownies)

Lemon Bars - 6 (displayed on rustic/Kelley green platter 8 inches by 8 inches)

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies - 6 (9 inch diameter off white pie dish)

Brownies - 8 (displayed on copper platter 12 inches long with the donuts)

Trend #4: The World's Spice Rack

Each year, adventurous cooks search the spice racks of the world for exciting new flavors.

Here are six that will pack a punch:

Piment D'Esplette: a long, red pepper from the Basque region of France that has a delicate flavor with a touch of mild heat. It's not too hot, but has a nice fruity taste.

Grains of Paradise, also known as Guinea melegueta pepper: biting on the tongue, but when you grind them, they release a sweet aroma. Used in the famous Brazilian dish feijoada.

Vietnamese Cinnamon sticks

Rasel hannout: ground spices perfect for cous cous -- made up of ground anise, fennel, and allspice, ginger, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, corriander, and cardamon.

Long Peppers: called "pippali" in India. Has a sweet aroma of ginger, black pepper, and has a slight numbing sensation for cloves.

Fennel Pollen

Trend #5: Oysters

The biggest ingredient right now on menus, and increasingly available through mail order, is oysters. The trend is to see the regionality that has popped up. You can got out and see Maine, Washington, Baltimore and Oregon varieties all in one spot. As we become more concerned with eating "locally," there are now wonderful regional varieties that are becoming available.

Trend #6: Heirloom Beans

Is this year's heirloom tomato. The "heirloom" craze is taking over the world of beans. You will now find beans that really taste like beans, and chefs are starting to use them. On the set, we had beans from Rancho Gordo: ranchogordo.com and Republic of Beans: republicofbeans.com.

Trend #7: The Slow Cooker

It's back. All-Clad just released one, and a number of other high-end cookware companies are releasing them. Take the best meat you can find and cook it low and slow. What can be easier on football Sunday? Pop in your ingredients, turn it on, and just move on to other errands in the house or watch TV. The new ones have ceramic inserts, enabling the food cook evenly.

Trend: #8: Meat Cookbooks

Meat is a back in a big way; it's good for you, and the pig is big. The product available is quietly creating the need for a new generation of cookbooks to address this new culinary passion.

On the set: "The Bacon Cookbook"; "The Meat cookbook"; "Pork & Sons"; "Au Pied de Cochon," and other books. Use these books to find a recipe perfect for the slow cooker!

Trend #9: Eco-Friendly Bags

We saw this movement pick up last year, and now many cities are starting to bag plastic shopping bags.

A QUICK LIST OF WHAT KNOWLTON THINKS IS "OUT":

Entrees
Serving unsustainable/out-of-season food
Beets and Goat Cheese Salad
Formal Anything
White Table Cloths
Restaurant Reservations
Mojito
Light Beer
Carb Counting
Trans Fats
Fake Butter
Factory Farmed Meats
Boneless Chicken Breast
Cooking Down to Your Kids (the Kids' meal is out)
Truffle Oil
Sweet Cockails