Top o' the month to ya! As we say hello to March and springtime and chirping birds and budding flowers--er, can you tell we're very ready to say goodbye to winter?--we also usher in one of the best food holidays of the year: St. Patrick's Day.
While corned beef or colcannon caused occasional blips on our radar, overwhelmingly our network goes for kitsch over authentic Irish flavors. St. Paddy's day celebrators think about great Irish beer or whiskey as the ultimate expression of their Irish appreciation so it gets poured into everything. From stews to cupcakes, grab reader's attention with buzzwords like "Bailey's." Oh, and potatoes. People go crazy for potatoes.
How to Potato
The Trend: Potatoes taste good. It's really not more complicated than that. And people have figured out that there are some classic ways to make them taste better. The interesting thing is, no matter how many "creamy, cheesy, loaded mashed potato" recipes exist, readers always want more.
The Takeaway: No matter what you're cooking, promoting or advertising food-wise during the St. Patrick's Day season, think about how you can somehow get it into a potato dish. Different dairy products, cheeses, all kinds of veggies, cured meats, or any variety of herbs and spices--they're all found in these popular, decadent potato dishes.
Potatoes: The Trend Predictor
The Trend: Here's something we found fascinating: the top trends this year have included hasselbacking, spiralizing, nacho-izing, smashing and putting things in bowls. These trends continue to trickle down to all different styles of bloggers and ingredients. But potatoes always function as bloggers' ground zero for testing out these new techniques.
The Takeaway: Begin by hopping on the trends mentioned above. Turn some potato chips into nachos, serve them in a "bowl," and call it a "pot of gold." Otherwise, keep an eye on what bloggers make with potatoes this March; those will be the huge trends throughout the rest of 2016.
"Irish," Two Ways
The Trend: We found that there's an impulse, come March, to label everything and anything as "Irish." But just because your sandwich is shamrock-shaped, doesn't mean calling it "Irish" is a good idea. Our recipe data indicates that the keyword hearkens two things for readers: stews and sweets.
The Takeaway: Don't go tagging everything as "Irish." Instead stick to using the word for authentic Irish stews--ones with potatoes and stewed lamb, perhaps. Otherwise, go kitschy. Only as it applies to sweets should "Irish" indicate bright green hues and whiskey-spiked frosting. "Luck O' the Irish Brownies," for example, had better be mint-flavored and sprinkled with green jimmies!
Bring On the Bailey's!
The Trend: Remember how we mentioned that people love the word "Irish" when used in relation to sweets? That might be because "Irish cream" is practically magic when getting cooks to click on recipes. Cupcakes, cheesecakes or sweet coffee drinks are all fair game.
The Takeaway: Frankly, bring on the Bailey's! Any desserts spiked with Irish cream or made more decadent with a splash of Bailey's makes readers salivate. Plus, any new uses always get people excited. Think beyond the Bailey's frosting and instead drizzle it into some adult milkshakes or try is as a flavor for your next panna cotta.
More Booze. But This Time, Beer!
The Trend: While consumers like their sweets Bailey's and whiskey-soaked during St. Paddy's celebrations, savories should come with some stout. We definitely found a Guinness cake here and there, but massively more frequent were the Guinness-spiked stews, soups, batters and sauces.
The Takeaway: Give consumers more ways to pour this quintessential Dubliner treat into their dinners on the 17th. What else could you make beer battered? Or, perhaps stuff a couple trends into one. Guinness queso poured on top of tater tots ("totchos"), anyone?