A new dessert and beverage trend is sweeping the nation as a result of societal change. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2019 culinary forecast, professional chefs said that CBD and cannabis-infused food and beverages will be the top culinary trend this year.
Nearly 77 percent of the 650 chefs surveyed ranked cannabis and CBD-infused beverages as the top trend, and 76 percent of them ranked cannabis and CBD-infused food as the second most popular trend. They believe it will create unique cuisine opportunities and promote experiential dining occasions.
As state governments across the country show increasing favorability towards cannabis, CBD (or cannabidiol) is being used in a variety of items to give them taste and health benefits without adding the intoxicating substance, THC, found in cannabis. CBD has no psychoactive effects and is believed to be both physically and mentally beneficial, something that appeals to those looking for a sweet and health-focused treat.
In Chicago, Warm Belly Bakery is infusing some of its chocolate chip cookies with CBD. These cookies can only be purchased by customers aged 18 or older, and will be wrapped and stored in a separate area of the bakery away from its normal desserts.
Warm Belly Bakery owner Joe Dela Peña believes customer curiosity surrounding CBD will drive sales of these cookies. “CBD is really hot right now and it’s kind of lost its stigma,” Dela Peña tells Eater Chicago regarding the niche product.
Colorado has been on the forefront of the CBD movement ever since it became the first state to legalize marijuana. At Love’s Oven, the Denver-based bakery specializes in both cannabis-infused and CBD-infused baked good. On the cannabis side, it offers caramels, chocolate chip cookies, red velvet cookies, turtle brownies, peanut butter brownies, s’mores brownies, baklava cookie bars, and cheddar crackers, while on the CBD side it offers chocolate chip cookies and fudge brownies.
Fast-casual chain By Chloe recently introduced a line of CBD baked goods called Feelz by Chloe that is available in its New York stores only. The line includes unique items such as the A-TO-CBDEY Cookey, which features a CBD-infused chocolate chip cookie with pecans, pretzels, potato chips, and marshmallows.
CBD has even infiltrated the coffee world. The oil can be dropped straight into a beverage or infused into ground beans before they’re brewed. The CBD-infused coffee from Caffeine Underground in Brooklyn has earned the coffee shop plenty of notoriety in New York City as a place for innovation (the shop also functions as an art gallery and community center).
CBD is not currently legal in all 50 states. However, the number of states where it is currently legal is rising as mainstream acceptance grows. As a result, more unique applications of the compound will continue to emerge.