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Ten Food and Drink Trends You Won't Be Able To Avoid in 2017

From 3D-printed or clothing-optional restaurants to eco-friendly bars.

When the new year rolls around, we like go all Nostradamus on you and make some predictions. Since January, we've guessed at where you'll be going, what you'll be reading and what you'll be watching. Now, we're going to have a crack at what you'll be putting in your mouth this year — and how you'll be doing it. In 2016, we put our money on inhalable cocktails, algae, goats and veganism, among other developments. This year, our crystal ball is giving us Star Trek-level craft beers, boozing on the sand (legally) and lots of eating naked. Here are ten tasty trends you won't be able to avoid in 2017.

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SCIENCE-INSPIRED CRAFT BEERS

Gastronomers like the inimitable Heston Blumenthal have been infusing fine dining with science for years. And now, brewers are following in his footsteps. In the past few months alone, we've reported on a beer that glows in the dark created by a NASA biologist, a brewery in London that makes bespoke beer based on your DNA and a couple of Danish beer-loving buddies who figured out how to make instant craft beer by freeze-drying their favourite tipples. We're both terrified by, and excited about, what might be next.

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LEGAL DRINKING IN BARS ON THE BEACH

We hope. Look, this one isn't exactly a new trend — it's done daily all over the world. But, here in Australia, despite having 10,685 beaches, we're hard pressed to find a bar where we can simultaneously feel the sand between our toes and knock back a cold one, without getting arrested. However, Fremantle's Bathers Beach House fought the law last year and surfaced with Australia's first liquor license for alfresco beach dining (and drinking). Let this be the beginning of something beautiful and nationwide.

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WILD FERMENTATION WINE

Wild fermentation wine has been around for many, many years and is still a big thing in Europe. But, like many age-old agricultural methods, it's often been replaced in Australia with human intervention, usually for the sake of speed and quantity. Now, though, winemakers are winding back the clock, in the pursuit of better, more interesting flavour profiles. To cut a long story short, the wild fermenting of wine involves allowing the grapes' naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria do the job of breaking down sugars, rather than adding copious amounts of yeast to make it happen more quickly. You can read more about wild fermentation wine over here.

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CLOTHING-OPTIONAL RESTAURANTS

When London's first naked restaurant, The Bunyadi, popped up in London in June, the waiting list for reservations hit 46,000 before you could disrobe. This prompted radio journalists Jo Stanley and Anthony 'Lehmo' Lehmann of Melbourne's Gold 104.3 FM to ask whether Aussies would get nude with the same gusto. After being inundated with willing naturists, the duo hosted a packed-out, clothing-free, pop-up at The Noble Experiment on May 26. While the weather's still warm, why not get some practice in with a picnic at one of Sydney's five best nudist beaches?

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3D-PRINTED RESTAURANTS

When you're not eating food in the nude, you'll be sitting on 3D-printed chairs at 3D-printed tables, holding 3D-printed cutlery, eating 3D-printed meals. This trend also kicked off in 2016, when Food Ink, the world's first 3D-printed restaurant popped-up in London from July 25-27. In 2017, the eatery is embarking on a world tour and, yes, Australia, is on the itinerary, with a visit to Sydney promised. Expect a multi-course, gourmet experience.

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Butter.

RESTAURANT-STYLE EATING AT HOME

Chances are you'll be treating your own home more and more like a restaurant this year. In other words, you'll be sitting at your own dining table, eating chef-prepared meals, without doing any dishes and paying for it. This trend is, of course, partly due to the launch of UberEATS, which happened in Melbourne in February 2016, in Sydney in July and in Brisbane in October. Meanwhile, you can't have missed those BMX champs disguised as Deliveroo cyclists dominating the city streets during the past little while. Mind you, they could well find themselves out of a job before too long, given that Domino's completed its first ever pizza delivery by drone in November.

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Saint Peter by Nikki To.

ALL THE FISHY BITS

If all the home delivery options in the world couldn't keep you on your couch and venturing out to proper restaurants is still high on your agenda, then we reckon you should get ready to face all the fishy bits. By that, we mean that more and more chefs are adopting a 'head-to-tail' philosophy. And, because fish, unlike cattle, don't have bits that can be turned into clothing, it'll be down to the customer to eat them more comprehensively. Silvereye (RIP) served up an impressive whiting skeleton, while, at Paddington's Saint Peter, the menu has lately offered salt-baked pumpkin with seeds and scales (yep, fish scales), as well as John Dory liver.

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PLASTIC-FREE DINING

France made headline news in September 2016 when the Government officially announced its plan to ban all plastic plates, cups and utensils from 2020. Given that Australians use about one billion disposable coffee cups per year (and that's only coffee cups), it's probably time we followed suit. However, instead of waiting for legal changes, some venues have been taking matters into their own hands. In November, Brisbane's Crowbar announced its intention to phase out plastic straws, while, in January 2017, Sydney's This Must Be The Place invested in metal spoon-straws, to give drinkers an eco-friendly option.

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4 Pines.

BARREL-AGED BEERS

When you're not drinking beers that could've featured in Star Trek, you'll be lingering over those given the most old-fashioned of treatments: barrel ageing. These brews are made in the usual way, then, for a year or so, popped into a barrel that's contained whiskey or muscat or some other beverage, infusing them with more complex flavours. Manly-based brewers 4 Pines are already onto this trend, having opened Public House — a venue entirely dedicated to barrel-aged brews — in Newport in December. And Young Henrys recently brought us Craic and Barrel, a limited release Irish Red Ale aged in Jameson whiskey barrels.

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Project Botanicals.

MATCHING COCKTAILS WITH MEALS

Matching wines with dishes is as old as the hills, of course, but cocktail matching is now becoming a thing. One of the biggest champions of this over the years has been Project Botanicals, which is bringing gin-based matches to Australians via a pop-up in Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden this March. Meanwhile, Sydney's Owl House offers an impressive, cocktail-driven degustation menu, with pairs including Pambula oysters and a cynar spritz (cynar, grapefruit, sparkling wine), as well skirt steak (potato, beer, egg, smoked chilli) and a "Buttered Fashion" (butter-infused Bulleit bourbon, honey, bitters).

Published on February 09, 2017 by Jasmine Crittenden

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