(BPT) - Not long ago, adding international flair to your foods simply meant incorporating a dash of spice or trying a new cooking method. Today, Americans expect more out of their food, and the newest culinary trends are inspired by European traditions in order to create delicious, unique cuisine closer to home.
As more people seek the high quality and craftsmanship they’ve come to expect in European products, U.S. restaurants and food makers are creating American originals based on international customs, and the results are surpassing expectations. Keep an eye out for these top food trends:
1. Icelandic skyr
You can’t go to a grocery store today and not see shelves stocked with Greek yogurt made domestically, the perfect example of how Americans have adopted an international food and made it their own. While it’s dominated the yogurt market for the last couple of years, another yogurt-type food is making a splash in the U.S.: Icelandic skyr. Traditionally used as a way to preserve fresh milk, skyr is made from skimmed milk with the cream removed. The straining process gives it a creamy texture. It’s also low in fat and sugar, plus skyr is higher in protein than its Greek counterpart. Look for U.S.-made skyr at your local grocer – some foodies deem it to be the next Greek yogurt, so if your supermarket doesn’t yet have it, it likely will by the end of the year.
2. Artisan cheeses
Europe is well-known for having some of the best cheeses in the world. But you no longer have to travel overseas to find expert cheese-makers who create these decadent delights. For example, cheesemaking traditions in the Alpine region of Switzerland have been used for centuries to craft quality cheeses, but today the same techniques are followed in the creation of Roth Grand Cru Alpine style cheese created in Wisconsin. Made with fresh milk in large imported copper vats and aged a minimum of four months, the resulting cheese is mild, nutty and smooth, earning numerous awards.
It’s easy to jazz up your favorite dishes with international flavor by swapping out your standard go-to cheeses with this versatile variety. Try adding Roth Grand Grand Cru to potatoes gratin, Panini sandwiches or as the base for your next fondue. To create an artisan cheese plate, pair it with fresh apples and pears, almonds and figs for a fantastic blend of flavors guaranteed to delight the taste buds.
3. Neapolitan pizza
Forget thick crusts and loads of toppings, Americans today are looking for more out of their pizza pies. The rise in the popularity of Neapolitan pizzas is evident in restaurants across the country, giving Americans a unique taste of this traditional Italian dish.
What makes a pizza Neapolitan style? Originating from Naples, Italy, a Neapolitan pizza features a thinner crust that is baked quickly at high temperatures, typically in a wood or stone oven. The toppings are minimal with the sauce often being the dominating feature. The classic pizza Napoletana margharita – created in1889 as a tribute to the queen of Italy – simply includes tomatoes, mozzarella and crust made from wheat flour.
4. Fine chocolates
Chocolate lovers agree that your common milk chocolate candy bar found on convenience store shelves doesn’t hold a flame to fine European chocolates. But thanks to a growing interest in dark chocolate and high-end desserts, American chocolatiers are giving their international counterparts a run for their money.
Creating premium chocolate is considered an art form where expert chocolatiers use only the finest cocoa to create indulgent treats. Whether it’s a dark chocolate bar of 85 percent cocoa, a smooth and creamy truffle or a decadent chocolate covered caramel, the passion for fine chocolate is alive and well in the U.S. The confections can be found at specialty stores and even the candy aisle at your local grocer.
If you have a taste for international flavors, you don’t have to look beyond our borders to find the finest foods. From rich cheeses to fine chocolate treats, European traditions are thriving in the U.S. as food experts adopt these methods and make them their own.
Grand Cru Grilled Potatoes
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds baby gold or red potatoes, thick sliced
2 small Vidalia onions, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 teaspoon chives, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 slices bacon, fully cooked, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 ounces Grand Cru Original, shredded and divided
1 sprig rosemary, stem removed
Preheat grill to medium. Cut butter into small pieces and place in bottom of 8-by-8-inch disposable foil pan. Layer potatoes, Vidalia onions, green onions, chives and garlic in pan. Top potatoes with bacon, then cover with half of Grand Cru Original. Season with black pepper and rosemary; cover pan with aluminum foil. Place potatoes onto grill and cook for approximately 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove foil, top with remaining Grand Cru and continue to grill until cheese is fully melted and browned. (To prepare in the oven: preheat oven to 400 F and bake for at least 1 1/4 hours.)