Getting to grips with color food – the world’s brightest food trend

Our current specials have been created in celebration of the current food trend – color food. Here we explain where color food came from and offer tips for combining, decorating, serving and, of course, colouring!

Food trends are rarely black and white. You won’t often find pictures of your favorite dishes on Instagram in monochrome and there’s a good reason for that. Our senses work together when it comes to food. Before you even put the food in your mouth, it has to appeal to your eyes because, as we all know, food that looks good normally tastes good too!

There’s no doubt about it – color food sparks our appetite. It’s not for nothing that most candy is colourful. Brilliantly colourful Buddha Bowls or lavishly decorated pizzas not only look amazing, they also leave you longing to taste it. And you don’t need artificial colourings to make your food colourlicious, colours from nature can be used to recreate the colour palette usually reserved for gummy bears. In the summer, you can find the rainbow in the beautiful fruits and vegetables on offer at the greengrocer. It’s little wonder then, that the color food trend continues to flourish!

Why do we love food that looks good?

The colourings in fruits and vegetables are generally categorised under the term “secondary plant substances” and are mainly produced by sunlight. Researchers estimate that there are over 40,000 different of these substances. Just like vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals offer a number of different benefits for our bodies, so we’re wired to be attracted to colourful food. The more colourful the food is that we feed ourselves, the greater the variety of different plant substances we can benefit from.

Some examples are: flavonoids which create dark reds and blues, chlorophyll – the green plant dye that is produced via photosynthesis in the plants’ leaves, and carotenoids make carrots and other fruit and vegetables yellow and orange.

Dyeing with phytochemicals

Those who enjoy being creative in the kitchen and seek out inspiration from food trends, know that some of these plant dyes are particularly useful for conjuring up colourful food creations. Blueberry, elderberry juice or beetroot are ideal for colouring mashed or puréed potatoes, cream or ice cream. A dash of colouring is often enough to flavour your food too. With spices such as turmeric or saffron you can achieve bright yellow and for a vibrant green you can add pureed spinach or – for green desserts why not try adding a pinch of matcha powder.

However, color food isn’t just about colouring your food, above all it’s about choosing, combining and arranging your food to make it shine on your plate.

Color theory in the kitchen?

A pro tip for all of you color food fans out there comes from colour theory, which helps you to pick out complementary colours. According to colour theory, there are three primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These colours are special because they can’t be made out of the other colours. If you mix two of them together, you can begin to discover the missing colours of the rainbow: blue and yellow make green, blue and red make violet, and red and yellow make orange.

A pair of complementary colours always consist of a primary color and the colour obtained by mixing the two remaining primary colours.

What does this little diversion have to do with your kitchen? Well it’s quite simple – complementary colours bring out the best in each other! That's why fresh green basil leaves look so irresistible placed on top of the tomatoes in the Caprese salad, and the mint leaf looks so great on deep red strawberry compote. The bright red pomegranate seeds also make our green salad look even more tempting, right? Blue and orange complement each other just as well as violet and yellow do – what comes to mind when you think of those colours?

But before you get lost at the vegetable stand and start getting confused about whether red or yellow peppers will look better with mashed sweet potato, just do it like we do and pick out all of the ingredients in one colour. Prepare a plate of sunshine, with an entirely yellow meal or go deep red, with a meal made of delicious red ingredients. Choosing the plates, napkins and tablecloth offers another opportunity to apply your new knowledge of colour theory too.

The color food trend is the perfect solution to the grey weather. It’s time to treat yourself to a helping of colour!

Vapiano Redaktion