“Many early trending flavors in past reports have become favorites of today,” said Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick. “Take chipotle chile, for instance. When we first identified this chile pepper as a flavor to watch in 2003, many people couldn’t pronounce it. Today, it’s a household name.
“Pumpkin pie spice, sea salt, coconut water and cocktail-inspired flavors have seen similar success, taking over restaurant menus and grocery store shelves.
“The flavor trends highlighted within our 15th annual forecast promise to do the same.”
Global blends beckon
From the Middle East to the Far East, bold combinations of spices entice adventurous eaters. Inspired by street food, a shawarma spice blend includes cumin, cinnamon and black pepper for use on chicken, beef or lamb before grilling or roasting, as well as in spiced cakes or cookies. A spicy Japanese seasoning known as Shichimi Togarashi features chilies, sesame, orange peel and nori to flavor soups, noodle dishes, grilled meats and seafood.
When blended with bold herbs and spices, fresh purees and juices add intensity to sauces, pasta and dressings, while providing an extra serving of fruits and vegetables. A sauce of roasted corn, carrots and chicken stock paired with a puree of sour apple, plum and oregano add color and a kick to an ancho-spiced shrimp and faro salad.
Salt and sour
Coarse salt combined with such surprising sours as pickled ginger, sour cherry, dried mango and lemon zest produce a lively finish that adds texture and flavor complexity to dishes.
Middle Eastern appetizers
Dips and spreads made with zesty herbs and spices offer an approachable entry to Middle Eastern cuisine and culture. Cumin and coriander marinated olives, garlic pepper labneh, and roasted beet and white bean dip are mezze mainstays.
Smoking cinnamon, curry powder and other herbs and spices deepens the flavor and aroma in food and beverages. When mixed with mayonnaise and egg yolks, a smoked combo of Creole mustard, garlic powder and sea salt kicks up classic deviled eggs.
The fifth taste
Mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and other umami-rich vegetables add savory flavor and freshness to such dishes as Mediterranean pasta and Asian steak tacos.
Wait for it
From Asian-style sour beef short ribs to traditional Italian Osso Buco, slow-cooked dishes with worldly ingredients combine comfort cuisine with rich global flavors.
Tradition meets innovation when gingersnaps, snickerdoodles and other classic cookies are prepared in sophisticated new desserts, such as cinnamon oatmeal custard bars with rum raisin sauce or a gingersnap crème brulee.