Food Trends: Multisensory


These days there’s more and more competition when it comes to restaurants, dining, food and branding. There’s also a plethora of information available. It can be quite overwhelming! But the secret is, to stir curiosity and capture foodies’ attention, a sensory story must be told.

Once upon a time, we dined out to taste. It was also a great excuse to get together and socialise. But with the prodigious rivalry in the dining and food worlds, restaurateurs, chefs and food brands have had to considerably step up their games.

Rousing interest has been one of the main goals, and this seemingly simple food aim has sparked rampant imaginations to create unique dining experiences and dishes that play on the human sensory system. Today, other than taste, sight, smell, sound and texture all play an important role in creating that imaginative and inviting eating experience. Food has always been an art form, but today it’s more so than ever - it's expressive, it’s to be noticed and stand out, it must tell a story; and the more interactive the dining experience, the better!

Contrasts of flavours and textures, kaleidoscopes of colour, sizzling heat, char-grilled smoke and ice are just a few sensory food tricks that chefs, bars, wineries and well-known food brands are exploring to create that desirable and memorable culinary experience.

Breaking the Rules

Any decent sized city in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter, has a multitude of places to dine. Like it or not, people are constantly on the look out for something new and exciting when it comes to eating.

As a result chefs and restaurant owners are working tirelessly to come up with innovative new food ideas in the hope of starting the next popular food trend. We're continually being treated to the greatest food spectacles – it’s culinary magic at its best!

Nothing’s being spared in the bid to get noticed. Food interactions and food experiences are huge. Rules are being broken, barriers removed... you’ll see anything from waiters carving Argentinian chargrilled cuts of meat right in front of you to grilling your own food Korean barbeque-style. It’s all about culinary theatrical performances.

Here's a taster of how to stir up the senses with a little fire and ice.

Smoking Hot

Smoked food is hot right now (every pun intended!) and it’s one of the latest 2017 food trends to really explode. This ancient cooking tradition has always been a popular cooking method in some corners of the world, but recently it’s been given a modern restaurant makeover.

Smoking food serves a number of purposes. It preserves food, it flavours it, and it’s also bang-on-trend.

Think meat and fish as the standard bad boy ingredients for smoking food. However, it’s not uncommon to find restaurants and supermarkets offering a selection of smoked cheeses and vegetables as well. Oh, and since microbreweries are popping up all over the show, it’s also no surprise that smoked beer is also now a thing!

On the subject of smoked dishes, charring and burning food is also in fashion, (which could possibly be the perfect excuse for endlessly ‘burning’ the dinner on the barbeque).

The Camino grill-to-table restaurant in Oakland California features an impressive fire cage where logs are charred to coal, ready for the grill and chips for the smoker are made. Once you’ve experienced this grill, you’ll look down on every other – it’s a true conversation starter. Set meals change on a day-to-day basis, but you’ll always be guaranteed the Camino staples of grilled homemade flatbread and Camino fermented chilli sauce.

Chef Russ Moore talks about his restaurant Camino in Oakland, California, and the hearth at its heart. Have a good look at how he sets the scene with utensils, surfaces, equipment and lighting.

Ice Ice Baby

Go back to those lazy carefree summer days of your childhood. There will be two things that automatically come to mind – ice lollies and slushies. We all had our favourites, and whether they were homemade ice-lollies or those from the ice-cream delivery truck that visited once a week, ice-lollies were what made our summers.

Sometimes you might even find yourself wishing you were young again, yearning for those iced delights. Well, your prayers may have been answered, because this summer you can bring two old favourites together – ice lollies and alcohol. The excellent news surrounding ice lollies and slushies is that the latest 2017 adult food trend is alcohol infused iced treats, which includes boozy popsicles, gin sorbets, spirit permeated shaved ice and cocktail slushies. Not only have the new and improved adult ice-lollies injected some serious fun into a hot summer’s day they’ve also added more colour, which helps the avid foodie indulge in their sensory food experiences.

Nothing beats thirst-quenching booze infused treats in the hotter months, and the ease of setting up your own pop-up adult ice-lolly stand is probably one of the easiest pop-ups to pull off. Set the scene with a large vintage inspired sun umbrella, colourful bunting and hand drawn chalkboards to create the traditional vintage fair impression from times gone by. Bellini ice-lollies, gin lime and fresh thyme slushies, and champagne flavoured shaved ice are all must-list iced alcoholic treats for your menu. And to make it even more kitsch and authentic, don’t forget to finish them off with some brightly coloured (and biodegradable!) straws and swirlers.

Create Your Own MULTISensory Experience

For your next pop up project, food and drinks campaign, cookery demo, event and more, check out our Pinterest Board for some unique sensory food experiences inspiration to add a little bit more excitement to the everyday – it’s all about stepping out of that food and drinks comfort zone and creating an experience to remember!

PS. Don't forget to email us if you need a helping hand.

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