Edgy chefs, such as Andoni Luis Aduriz of Mugaritz, Barcelona, use the subtle burnt flavour of ashes to enhance complex dishes. Try his steak flavoured with salt made from the ashes of burnt ferns.
Deliciously decadent, burrata has a ‘purse’ of stretched curd stuffed with threads of mozzarella and cream. Its silky texture and sweet earthy flavour make it sublime with smoked aubergine at Italian newcomer L’Anima in London.
is raising its game with a new generation of chefs who combine Asian and haute cuisine influences with distinctive regional ingredients. Niche, Nevis’s annual gourmet festival each October, celebrates the best.
Perfect for budget diners. Book a table in delis such as Ottolenghi in London, and Jones the Grocer in Singapore.
Piquant and smoky, the Basque pimenton is Hélène Darroze’s flavour du jour at the Connaught and is the name of her new restaurant. Her caviar and oyster starter is flavoured with it.
is an ancient Middle Eastern smoked wheat grain enjoying a revival. Find it served with chicken, fig and lime tagine at Red Ochre restaurant in Adeleide.
Fluffy cheese choux pastries are the amuse-bouche of the moment, a highlight at the glam Bar du Plaza Athénée.
Himalayan pink salt
Condiments, particularly speciality salts, have been in vogue ever since Thomas Keller of the French Laundry and Per Se started offering a ‘row’ of salts. Seek out Amabito No Moshio seaweed salt, Pangasinan Star salt from the Philippines and kechil sea salt from Bali.
Invented in Ohio, ice lettuce is the next fêted leaf. It’s exposed to freezing temperatures to concentrate its sugar content and amplify its juiciness. Watch out for chefs such as Raymond Blanc using it in their menus.
This modish Mexican root vegetable with the crunch of apple is served raw, grated with lime and chilli at London’s top Mexican canteen Wahaca.
is a type of Japanese kelp (or brown seaweed). It is a key ingredient in making dashi stock, which is rich in ‘umami hit’ – the Japanese ultra-savoury fifth taste – increasingly favoured by forward-looking chefs. Pascal Barbot, of L’Astrance in Paris, is a fan. He serves strips of sweet and sour pickled konbu as a snack to accompany green tea.
Tangy yet earthy Persian limes, boiled and sun-dried, are the latest flavour for cool chocolatiers L’Artisan du Chocolat.