Do you know your kimchi from your kombucha? If not, fear not, as this year fermented food and drinks are set to go mainstream as we all seek to be good to our guts. Fermenting, pickling and brining have been used as a way to preserve food for centuries, though this year will see the practice brought under the spotlight due to its health-boosting probiotic properties.
Among the alleged health benefits of indulging in fermented food and drinks are elevated energy levels and improved immune function, so expect to see more restaurants incorporating the likes of kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), tempeh (fermented soy beans), miso, pickles and yoghurt into their dishes. Among those leading the charge are Counter Culture in Clapham, Little Duck The Picklery in Dalston, and Rök in Islington.
As for fermented drinks, having already hit the big time in Scandinavia, we’ll all be better acquainted with kombucha (fizzy fermented green tea) by the end of the year as hipster brands battle for supremacy on supermarket shelves.
Thought to have originated in Northeastern China, the sour sparkling drink, which is said to aid digestion, has become a huge hit among abstemious millennials, many of whom are experimenting with their own home brews. We predict that kombucha will start popping up on cocktail menus at some of London’s more experimental bars and restaurants.
Also set to make a splash this year is kefir, a fermented milk drink similar to yoghurt with a tart taste. First made in the Caucasus Mountains in west Asia, today you’ll find British made kefir at Waitrose. A less saturated market than kombucha, the race is on for leading brands to emerge.