Nonni Strategic Marketing

Commercial Strategy, Marketing, Press Relations And Digital Communication For The Wine, Food, Travel And Wellness Sectors

Trend Alert: Charcoal? Food waste? Cereal?

New year, new food trends! Now that the new year is in full swing, leading US food publications have released their list of predicted food trends for 2017. From the celebration of charcoal to a war on food waste, this year’s list of quirky trends will surely make for 12 months of interesting food and drink. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Ancient grains

  • The defeat of food waste

  • Chilled red wine

  • Charcoal in everything

  • Dominance of vegetables

  • Grain-packed breakfasts

  • Fermented foods

  • The fast-foodization of cereal

  • Superfoods

Although every list mentions different trends, there is a clear overarching theme amongst all of them: a migration towards healthier options and alternatives to make for a more balanced diet. It’s looking like 2017 is the year to explore new, innovative, and unique approaches to healthy living. I for one am excited to try out different recipes using more trendy foods and methods to add some excitement to my diet.

One trend that I am particularly looking forward to trying out is incorporating more ancient grains into my diet. Not only does this trend carry countless health benefits, but grains are also so versatile and accessible. There are the “trendy” grains such as farro, chia, buckwheat, and barley, but how about some good old-fashioned oats? Although familiar, oats are just as “ancient grain” and nutritious as the rest and can be used in countless innovative ways.

When it comes to trends that I would not have expected to see, charcoal definitely takes the cake. How could something that looks inedible be used as a trendy component to dishes from ice cream to cocktails? Not only does the jet black color make for a dramatic presentation, but the health benefits — detoxification and teeth whitening to name a few — of charcoal have drawn brands to use it in their products. Don’t believe it? Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream in New York City is a pioneer of the charcoal trend, attracting a flock of curious fans to their store every day to try their ‘Coconut Ash’ ice cream through social media promotion.

Chilled red wine? 2017 is saying, you don’t have to stick to norms and traditions! Try food and drinks you have always loved in new ways. This is the year to do it. “One glass of red wine… on the rocks please!”

Food waste is a huge and often unaddressed problem in the U.S. This year, foodies and acclaimed restaurateurs everywhere are joining the battle to fight against the soaring amount of wasted food that gets thrown out. Be resourceful, use your leftovers, and get on board with this trend. If you run a restaurant, it’s good PR and good business.

Healthy cereal is going big! In recent years, due to the rising health awareness trend, commercial cereals have been kicked to the curb for their sugary and unpronounceable ingredients. Meanwhile, cereals such as Special K and Oat Bran are making a comeback. Expect to see restaurants dedicated to cereal and to see cereal in more than just your breakfast.

Understanding Colchagua

The Colchagua Valley is one of Chile’s premier wine regions. Located between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Colchagua boasts a unique microclimate ideal for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah and Carménère grapes. Colchagua is an apropos region to illuminate, as November is Carménère Month. November 24th marks Carménère Day, which celebrates the enigmatic tale of this varietal once deemed lost to time. The tale of Carménère, like the region of Colchagua, is a fascinating blend of history and culture.

Meaning “valley of small lakes” in the indigenous language, Colchagua marked the southern boundary of the Inca Empire. Winemaking did not exist in this ancient region until the arrival of the Spanish in the sixteenth century. In an attempt to convert the local people to Catholicism, Spanish Jesuit missionaries built monasteries and planted the first vineyards to accompany Catholic mass with red wine.

During the nineteenth century, grape varietals from Bordeaux, France were introduced onto the shores of Chile. These varietals included Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carménère. However, the Chilean Carmenère was simply referred to as Merlot, and, as a result, “Merlot” thrived in this new region.

Back in the Old World, a phylloxera epidemic was decimating countless vineyards, and the Carménère grape all but disappeared. Or so it seemed.

Carménère has flourished in Chile ever since. A rose by another name, Carménère was re-discovered in 1994 by Jean Michel Boursiquot, a French ampelographer who identified the grape. Carmenère emerged from its ostensible disappearance.

Today, Carménère is one of several varietals that can be found in Colchagua. With its Mediterranean climate ideal for growing grapes, the region has become a major tourist destination. Many of Colchagua’s wineries are modern, operating with wine tourism in mind. The Tinguiririca River flows through the region, where many popular wineries can be found.

Visit this enchanting region’s many wineries. Taste the Carménère of the region and imbibe centuries of history. During Carménère Month, we celebrate the unique landscape of the Colchagua Valley and the superb grape varietals it has always, and continues, to produce.


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Erica Nonni