As we embark on a new year, we want to take a few moments to look at the trends and the trend-setters and try to make a few educated guesses about what we can expect in 2020.
"We listen to our customers in our stores and on the web,” says Charlie Mayer, CEO of The Spice House. “We hear stories about what you’re cooking or what you’re interested in cooking. We also pay attention to chefs. What they’re cooking today will be on our table next year."
"And we keep in touch with our suppliers. When we hear about an especially great crop or we find a new source for something rare, we act quickly to buy as much as we can."
"It’s a big spice world and we have our finger on it!”
Cooks Want Authentic Flavors
One trend we have noticed (and been a part of perpetuating) is a movement back to authentic flavor profiles. Cooks want real ingredients with real, authentic flavors. The buzzword we notice is “natural” and it speaks to the desire to use unadulterated ingredients that each contributes a note in a larger melody. That’s real cooking. This is why we only grind and blend our spices in the smallest batch sizes possible—ensuring exceptional flavor and aroma.
Pay Attention To Botanicals
Our Hibiscus Flowers, Juniper Berries, and Pure Orange Extract are examples of a growing trend toward using more botanical ingredients in American cooking. Explore our growing portfolio of natural extracts to give dishes a botanical element to their flavor profiles.
The Tastes of Africa
African flavors have been a part of the American culinary landscape for centuries. And as more chefs explore the African roots of the diet of the southern coastlines and farms, we think we will see more focus on the spice profiles of West and North Africa. The continent is vast and its cuisines are extensive, but look to see more and more attention paid to the ancestral roots of so much of American cooking.
There’s good reason to believe that the cuisines of Latin America and the Caribbean basin will continue to inform worldwide cooking. You can be ahead of this trend with our extensive catalog of flavor components from the region. Our freshly ground Allspice Berries, hand-blended Jerk Seasoning, and Key Lime Extract are just a few of our favorites.
There is nothing more American than fusion: that strong pull to take two of three unrelated things and combine them. We stand ready to assist your experimentation!
Some ideas to try this year:
Watermelon, vodka, and basil—Fill a glass jar with three cups of vodka and stir in a heaping tablespoon of our dried Sweet Basil. Let the jar sit in a cupboard for 2-3 days before straining out the dried basil leaves. In a cocktail shaker, muddle a lemon peel with a couple chunks of watermelon. Add a splash of honey or simple syrup, a shot of your basil vodka and shake the whole thing. Strain over ice and serve with a slice of watermelon as garnish.
Blueberry muffins with lavender—Fruity and floral make a great flavor combination, but sometimes it can get too sweet. Lavender is a great flavor to pair with fruit (like blueberries) since it's more robust than other floral spices, often redolent of savory rosemary. Blueberry muffins work well with this culinary herb, especially along with fresh lemon zest. Try half a teaspoon of dried lavender buds for a one-dozen recipe of muffins.
Grilled pork chops, pomegranate molasses, and harissa—Next time you grill some pork chops try glazing them with a mixture of harissa and pomegranate molasses. One cup of molasses to one tablespoon of harissa is a good start. This would be an excellent riff for barbecue smoked ribs too.
What's Trending in Your Kitchen?
We’ll circle back to this post in 12 months to see which of our prognostications come to fruition. But in the meantime, we’re curious: What’s trending in your cooking? What are you noticing about how you cook now that might be different from five years ago? Let us know in the comments.
Article by Seán Collins, Staff Writer