Ingredients and flavors from Latin America and Asia, along with a craving for heat, top McCormick’s trends list for 2014. McCormick first launched these forecasts beginning in 2000, but this year’s edition marks a special milestone for the company—its 125th anniversary as a “food innovator.” McCormick is commemorating the event with a special edition of its forecast, the McCormick Flavor Forecast 2014: 125th Anniversary Edition.
The report, developed by McCormick’s global culinary experts, cites top five trends and their correlating flavors:
- Chilies: Along with fueling their obsession for heat with new varieties of chilies—such as Aji Amarillo, a hot Peruvian yellow chili—chefs are employing a variety of techniques to coax out new flavor profiles, including grilling, smoking, pickling, fermenting, and candying, for menu items such as Chorizo Chile Poppers, Sichuan Cashew Sauce, Spicy Papaya & Pineapple Salsa, and Pepita & Chile Salsa.
- Modern Masala: Fascination with Indian ingredients and flavorings is moving way beyond curry to include regional staples like Kashmiri Masala, a Northern Indian spice blend with cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and ginger; Paneer cheese; and Jalfrezi, a stir-fry curry dish. Menu possibilities are Grilled Paneer Cheese with Mango Tomato Chutney and Curry Vinaigrette and “Street Truck Style” Chicken Jalfrezi Naan Wrap.
- Clever Compact Cooking: The trend toward “clever, compact cooking,” is prompted by the rise of food trucks and street food, and the movement toward efficient kitchens that aren’t the size of the football fields. Less room requires ingredients and appliances that do double- or triple-duty. Noodles are a great example, being among the most versatile ingredients used in soups, casseroles, stir-fries, and salads in Asian, Italian, and Eastern European cuisines. Here again, chefs are moving beyond the expected and fusing the traditional with innovation, as in Vegetable “Pho” with Tea Broth.
- Mexican World Tour: Chefs continue to tap into Mexican flavors, but with a shift toward profiles that are authentic and regional. Look for ingredients such as tomatillos; recados rojo, or achiote paste, a spice paste popular in the Yucatán; and Chamoy sauce, a condiment that combines apricot, lime, chilies, and spices. Salmon Tostada with Chamoy and Charred Corn Relish, Chamoy Mango Sunrise, and Shrimp and Queso Fresco Empanadas with Charred Tomatillo Sauce hit the right note with their layering of bold flavors.
- Charmed by Brazil: A melting pot of European, African, Asian, and Native American influences, Brazilian cuisine sets the bar high for fusion fare. Ingredients in the spotlight include Cassava flour, also known as manioc or tapioca flour, a gluten-free alternative prized for its versatility; black-eyed peas; guava, the tropical fruit enjoyed fresh or as nectar and paste; and tempero baiano, a Bahian seasoning blend containing oregano, parsley, varieties of pepper, and cumin. On the menu are a Bahian-Spiced Chicken with Bean & Yuca Mash and Brazilian Guava Cocktail.
By Joann Whitcher