By Vinously Speaking aka Veronique Cecilia Barretto So you call yourself a foodie. You’re hip with the 411 on the trending edible materials. You’ve had bone marrow, and eaten a cow from head to tail. The turning of the year is more than just writing 2012 instead of 2011 … It means new set of underground culinary delights to discover and obsess/drool over! But in all the hustle and bustle of trying to discover what is trending on the food scene, I bet you forgot to stop and smell the … wine? So let me help you back on the vinous track :) Here are 10 culinary trends of 2012 (I found in this article) and the wine pairings that are ready to tag along for the ride! 1. “Lesser-known” Fish & Eating Fish from Fin-to-Tail … an evolution of the recent Nose-to-Tail movement? Pairing wines with fish is a vinous lesson in and of itself and certainly a joy to experiment with, but this About.com article seems to really sum up pairing wine with fish (and other seafood) quite nicely. But hey, if you are going to be eating a fish from fin-to-tail, just be sure to pair it with a HUGE gulp and a hearty swish of your wine … gotta make sure those flaky fish skins find their way to your digestive track and not as a dental decoration :P 2. Take me out to the meatball game … or the risotto ball. Or the cheese, falafel, or bacalao ball. Balls are in this year :P Yep, all you gotta do is take something, add in a cohesive element and shape it into a ball and you got yourself a 2012 food trend folks. So what wine pairs with balls? Well, pair shape with shape and go for something bubbly! A Prosecco, Cava or Champagne … heck, if it’s a meaty ball … try a sparkling shiraz :P These meatballs below came from one of the best Los Angeles restaurants I have ever eaten at – Red Medicine! 3. Did you just call me “Honey”? Honey will be gooping and sticking it’s way onto more foods this year, and if it does, then stay in the sweeter side of life and order a sweet, or off-dry wine to pair with it, such as an semi-sweet Riesling from Germany, a fruity and spiced off-dry Alsatian Gewurztraminer, or a Demi-Sec Champagnes or Italian Moscato d’Asti. And save some of that all-natural honey … it helps treat coughs, scars, burns, acne and aging skin! 4. The beer garten boom. With full pint o’ hops and barley and the varying salty foods of the beer gartens, it may seem strange to think of a wine pairing … but I’m gonna do it and I’m gonna go exotic with a … Gemischter Satz! No, I didn’t sneeze. Gemischter Satz (guh-meesh-tuh-sots) is a traditional Viennese white field blend – aka an Austrian wine made from a blend of grapes that are grown together in the field around Vienna, and then picked and fermented at the same time. You can read more about this type of wine here and here. If you can’t find a Gemischter Satz, then sub in an Austrian Gruner Veltliner. 5. Goin’ Old School with Heirlooms. Yep, gotta love those oddly shaped, yet oddly delicious fruits and veggies that were grown in yesteryear, but have no asylum in modern large-scale agriculture. I mean, how can you resist out-of-the-norm-funky-shaped fruits and veggies? In any case, if we’re going old school with the food, than you have no choice but to pair your heirlooms with an old school wine. So dig deep in your cellar, your parent’s cellar, or your wallet and shell out the dough for a wine that has been sitting around for a while :) Heck, you should even drink it out of your grandparent’s stemware too! 6. That is so corny! Yep, corn is making a comeback … well, more specifically artisan corn meal. Use it when making your fried chicken, biscuits, grits, fried pies, cornbread, okra, smothered pork chops, fried green tomatoes, bread pudding … pretty much everything we eat down here in the South. So in a round about way, Southern Cuisine is really the trend here :P Now the question is, what wine to pair with food that goes best with sweet ice tea? Hmmm, how about we travel towards the sweeter side of wine. We are also going to need a bit of bubbles to help cleanse the palate of all that delicious frying matter … so how about a sparkling off-dry aka demi-sec Vouvray from the Loire region in France made from that delicious grape – Chenin Blanc? I recently enjoyed some delicious Vouvray from Chateau Moncontour! (shown below) If you can’t find that one or any other Vouvray, then just ask for any degree of sweet sparkling wine from your local wine shop :) 7. I vant to suck your blood! Yes, you’re thinking that correctly … blood is a food trend. Perhaps it stems from the recent ‘Twilight’ and ‘True Blood’ craze, but wherever it came from, blood is oozing its way onto more and more menus. So keep your eyes out for blood pancakes, blood sausages, blood soups and stews, blood tofu, and sauces thickened with blood. So blood and wine, hmmmmmm …. ??? Well the most common bloody food I have seen are blood sausages, or boudin noir in France, so at least to pair a wine with that … I would say any French red wine would do, a Rhone, a Bordeaux, a Burgundy, a Loire … “n’importe lequel“. 8. Peru-mania! With influences from Incan, Spanish, African, Chinese, Japanese and Italian cuisines, Peruvian food has to be one of the most diverse and melting-pot cuisines of the world. So, it’s easy to see why Peruvian food is a trend for this year … imagine all the combinations of influences and the dishes they produce! Looks like you need to head out and try some Peruvian seafood tiraditos, causa, potatoes huancaina, anticuchos, rocoto chiles, the fruity aji pepper and pisco :) So which wine should you pair with Peruvian delights? Go obscure! For lighter fare, go with white wines from the Albarino, Viognier, or Torrontes grape and for red wines go for grapes like Carmenere, Tannat, or Malbec! 9. In Search of a Flavor Spin. People’s tastebuds are in search of more flavor. Out with the bland and in with the exotic and flavorful, such as Yuzu kosho (a condiment that’s a blend of citrus zest, garlic, chile and salt), finger limes (Australian fruit that hold caviarlike capsules of lemon-lime juice), Scotch eggs, amaranth (nutty-flavored grain packed with calcium and iron), mackerel, and caneles, a French pastry that are the new cupcake. So with flavor boosts ranging across the board it might just be easier to reference some common wine pairing rules to find the best wine fit for your heightened flavors as explained in this Food & Wine Mag article. 10. Hostile Takeover by … the Cheesemonger! Fact: Food cred these days is purely determined by your knowledge and appreciation of cheese :) And artisan cheese makers, cheese experts working at restaurants or markets with a large, select cheese program or in a small boutique cheese shops with handcrafted wheels are the “IT” foodie professions these days. I would like to think I was ahead of this trend by working 8 months last year at the best cheese shop here in town! Now I got me some major foodie cred! Oh ya! And I am sure you know by now that wine and cheese are like Ross and Rachel from Friends, Ted and Robin from How I Met Your Mother, Rachel and Finn from Glee … they just belong together! Because the pairings for this last food trend could be another post in and of itself, I am just going to leave you with this article by a cheesemonger to offer some wines suggestions on various cheeses.