Key Flavors to Watch
McCormick For Chefs unveiled its 22nd edition of the Flavor Forecast, and this year’s version features three themes influencing the way folks cook, flavor, and eat across the world.
“Food Stories,” “Plus Sweet,” and “Time as a Luxury Ingredient” are the umbrella categories.
For the first time, the Flavor Forecast will be showcased and brought to life through a pop-up experience where guests can indulge on various tasty amenities and sip carefully crafted beverages. The pop-up will be hosted in the Rodgers & Hammerstein Suite, located in New York City’s Omni Berkshire Place. The luxury suite will be transformed into a whimsical setting, filled with Willy Wonka-like features, such as a bedside phone where guests can get “Sundae Service” at the push of a button, a king-sized ice cream bed equipped with a scratch-and-sniff headboard, and an edible wall where regional snacks will be pinned to a world map.
For those who can’t make the pop-up, or who want to experience trends outside of the luxury flavor suite, drinks inspired by the three themes can be enjoyed at Berk’s Bar inside Omni Berkshire Place.
McCormick isn’t limiting the forecast experience to NYC either. In another first, the company created new consumer products inspired by the Flavor Forecast, which will be available to order online. Two limited-edition seasoning blends inspired by the Plus Sweet trend—vanilla, lime, & thyme, and miso caramel—will allow customers to keep flavors alive long after the pop-up closes.
Check out the following slides to see more info Food Stories, Plus Sweet, and Time as a Luxury Ingredient, and the dishes/recipes that exemplify them.
Food Stories looks to shine a light on both the flavors of a dish and the story behind it. This category celebrates women in food and flavor, from the professional chefs to the grandmothers handing down recipes to keep generational flavors and techniques alive. It celebrates those charting new territories by exploring flavors that delight, surprise, and transport people to shared experiences through authenticity, passion, and personal stories.
The following dishes and recipes are examples of delicious food with even better stories.
Food Stories (Sambar Curry)
Sambar Curry—Sambar is a Southern Indian lentil-based dish with rich flavor coming from a unique spice blend made with lentils.
Prep Ingredients (serves four):
3 cups water; 1 cup moong dal; 2 tablespoons vegetable ghee; 2/3 cup carrot, 1/2” dice; 1/4 cup shallots, minced; 2 tablespoons McCormick culinary garlic, minced; 2 tablespoons ginger, minced; 1 ½ cups tomatoes, ½” dice; 2 tablespoons sambar seasoning; 3 cups water; 1 cup eggplant, ½” dice; 2/3 cup okra, ½” sections; 1/4 cup tamarind paste; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 1/2 tablespoon salt; 1 cup green beans, ½” dice; 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped; 4 naan, quartered, warmed
- In a pot over high heat combine first amount of water and moong dal. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until dal is tender, about 30-35 minutes. Drain out any remaining liquid. Transfer to food process and blend into smooth paste. Set aside
- In a clean pot over medium-high heat melt ghee. Add carrots and shallots and sauté until shallots are translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes have broken down.
- Add sambar spice and cook until fragrant. Add second amount of water, eggplant, okra, tamarind paste, brown sugar, and salt. Stir until ingredients are well mixed and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 12-15 minutes.
- Add green beans and reserved lentil puree. Stir until lentils are fully incorporated. Cook until thickened. If curry gets too thick add more water as needed. Hold hot for service.
- For each serving, portion 1 ½ cups curry into desired bowl. Garnish with 1 tablespoon cilantro and plate 1 quartered naan alongside curry. Serve hot.
Food Stories (Sobia Drink)
Sobia Drink—a refreshing, sweet, and creamy drink, Sobia is consider the most popular dish of the Egyptians during the month of Ramadan.
Prep Ingredients (serves four):
1/2 cup short grain rice; 2 cups water; 3 ½ cups whole milk; 2 cups Thai Kitchen coconut milk; 1/2 cup sugar; 1 ½ teaspoons McCormick Culinary Pure Vanilla Extract
- Place rice in sieve and rinse with cold water until it runs clear. Soak in cold water for 2 hours.
- In a saucepan bring measured water to a boil. Drain rice and add to water. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until water is completely absorbed, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- In a blender combine cooled rice, whole milk, coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and creamy. Strain through cheesecloth and discard soils. Hold refrigerated for service.
- For each serving, fill a glass with crushed ice. Pour 12 ounces Sobia over ice. Serve chilled.
The Plus Sweet category looks at the various dimensions of sweetness through the lens of subtle and unexpected flavor combinations as opposed to overly sweet profiles. Savory, smoky, and spicy make for unexpected, but welcomed pairings with sweet ingredients.
“We have studied how global consumer attitudes have shifted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the major themes is balance. With this new appreciation for balance comes a desire to move past the super-sweet and indulgent comfort foods of the early pandemic, and instead to seek out more complex, layered food experiences,” Allie Herold, consumer and marketing insight manager with McCormick, said in a statement.
Check out the following dishes and recipes for sweet ideas that won’t have you running to the dentist.
Plus Sweet (Olive Conserve)
Olive Conserve—a slightly sweet, rich, and acidic dish is a surprisingly delightful spread perfect for charcuterie boards or roasted meats.
Prep Ingredients (serves four):
2 cups black olives, pitted, rough chop; 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed; 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar; 1/2 cup water; 2 tablespoons honey; 2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh; 1 tablespoon lemon zest; 1 teaspoon McCormick Culinary Rosemary Leaves, crushed; 1 tablespoon McCormick Culinary Black Peppercorn, freshly ground
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add olives and blanch 2-3 minutes. Strain from water and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.
- In a sauce pot over medium-high heat combine rinsed olives, brown sugar, vinegar, water, and honey. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens to syrup consistency.
- Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, zest, rosemary, and black pepper. Cool Completely and hold refrigerated until needed.
Plus Sweet (Spicy Chapman)
Spicy Chapman—The Chapman is a classic Nigerian cocktail made with lime and orange soda, grenadine, Angostura bitter, cucumber, and lime. Spice things up with a touch of cayenne pepper.
Prep Ingredients (serves one):
Ice cubes as needed; 3/4 cup orange juice; 1 ½ ounces grenadine; 1/2 ounces fernet; 1/4 teaspoon McCormick Culinary Cayenne Pepper, ground; 1 ounce orange soda; 1 ounce lime soda; 3 mint leaves; 1 slice cucumber; 1 slice lime; 1 slice orange
- Fill a 12 oz glass with ice. Set aside
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add orange juice, grenadine, fernet, cayenne pepper. Stir and strain into prepared glass. Top with orange and lime soda. Garnish with mint leaves, lime, and orange slices. Stir gently and serve cold.
Time as a Luxury Ingredient
Time as a Luxury Ingredient focuses on time as the finite and precious ingredient it is. Inspired by recent periods of isolation, this category explores how many are rethinking the ways they utilize time in food. Whether it’s shortcuts, preservation methods, or playing around with how to slow time, the precious ingredient is being used in new ways all the time.
“Due to today’s busy lifestyles, midweek we see consumers looking for shortcut hacks to create delicious meals,” Ian Craddock, a senior research chef with McCormick, said in a statement. “Think quick pickles, fast marinades, and one-pot wonders. Whereas at the weekend, cooks are dedicating time to embrace slow-cooked techniques, preserving leftovers, or experimenting with peels and parts of vegetables that would previously be thrown away.”
The following dishes and recipes center time as a primary ingredient.
Time as a Luxury Ingredient (Labneh)
Labneh—this simple dish makes for a refreshing and tangy spread.
Prep ingredients (serves four):
1 quart Greek yogurt, full fat, sheep/goat preferred; 1 ¼ teaspoons salt ; 1 teaspoon lemon juice, fresh; 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, high quality; 4 Teaspoons McCormick Culinary Za’atar Seasoning; 8 pita bread, warm
- In a bowl combine yogurt, salt, and lemon juice. Mix until evenly distributed.
- Place a fine mesh sieve overtop a container for drainage. Line with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth. Add yogurt mixture and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 7-12 hours or until desired texture is achieved.
- Remove label from sieve and place in sealable container. Hold refrigerated for service.
- For each serving, place 1/2 cup of prepared labneh on desired plate and spread out decoratively. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Za’atar seasoning. Serve alongside 2 warmed pitas.
Time as a Luxury Ingredient (Tepache)
Tepache—This refreshing Mexican beverage is made from warm spice, brown sugar, and fermented pineapple peels, highlighting the importance time plays in a recipe.
Prep Ingredients (serves four):
1 quart water; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 3 McCormick Culinary Cloves, whole; 1 McCormick Culinary Cinnamon Sticks; 1 pineapple, organic
- In a pot over medium-low heat combine water, brown sugar, cloves, and a cinnamon stick. Transfer to a glass or plastic container and cool completely.
- Remove peel from pineapple and add to container with sugar water. Remove flesh from core and save for desired use. Roughly chop a core of pineapple and add to container with peels.
- Cover container with a clean cloth. Store at room temperature (between 65-77 F), stirring every 24 hours, until the juice becomes foamy and slightly effervescent, about 3-4 days.
- After fermentation, strain mixture and store refrigerated for up to 2 days.