Sponsored Post: Flavor Forecast 2013 Sneak Previewfeatured

Since 2000, McCormick has put out an annual report called the Flavor Forecast. This report identifies emerging culinary trends, pinpoints top trends and flavors, and brings these culinary drivers to the forefront of innovation in the food industry. In short, McCormick is serious about the future of flavor.

The forecast is shaped over a year-long process of culinary exploration, data discovery, and insight development among an international group of chefs, sensory scientist, dietitians, trend trackers, and food technologists. Together, they discuss what they’re seeing in their respective parts of the world, how those trends translate in terms of flavor combinations, and how that impacts the way people eat. What I would give to have been a fly on the wall in some of those meetings. I imagine an entire day devoted to the nuances of nut butter.

So what did they find? Here’s your sneak preview.


1. No Apologies Necessary: Diving headfirst into sumptuous flavors to enjoy the gratification of a momentary escape.
Supporting flavor combinations:

  • Bitter Chocolate, Sweet Basil & Passion Fruit
  • Black Rum, Charred Orange & Allspice

Well I am clearly ahead of the curve on this “stop and enjoy the moment” trend. Life is short, treat yo self (duh). These indulgent flavor combos are right up my alley. I especially love that charred orange.

2. Personally Handcrafted: A hands-on approach to showcasing the very best of ourselves.
Supporting flavor combinations:

  • Cider, Sage & Molasses
  • Smoked Tomato, Rosemary, Chile Peppers & Sweet Onion

The idea behind this is that people are caring more about the food they make, and are taking pride in crafting flavors that bring pleasure to their loved ones. The flavors here are rustic, warm, and comforting. They are vibrant and rich. Think Apple Sage Tart Tatin and Rosemary Smoked Tomato Jam.

3. Empowered Eating: Creating health and wellness harmony through a highly personalized, flexible approach.
Supporting flavor combinations:

  • Farro Grain, Blackberry & Clove
  • Market-fresh Broccoli & Dukkah (blend of cumin, coriander, sesame and nuts)

Healthy doesn’t have to mean tasteless, and these flavor combos are a great example. I adore farro (hooray for ancient grains!) as a base for a healthy risotto or morning porridge. Totally flexible to be adapted for savory or sweet preparations. And, dukkah is really intriguing. This is the first I’ve heard of this Middle Eastern spice blend, but I’m excited to play with it. It is typically sprinkled on olive oil-dipped pita, but it would also be great as a crust for fish or meat, or made into a yogurt dipping sauce for falafel or kebabs.

4. Hidden Potential: A waste-not mentality, uncovering the fullest flavors from every last part of the ingredient.
Supporting flavor combinations:

  • Hearty Meat Cuts, Plantain & Stick Cinnamon
  • Artichoke, Paprika & Hazelnut

Transforming underutilized cuts of meat, or the leaves and stems of vegetables, this trend is all about cooking conscientiously and creatively. I love the use of cinnamon in savory preparations. Pair it here with mashed plantains for an unexpected side.

5. Global My Way: Discovering the unlimited flavor possibilities of global ingredients, beyond traditional roles in “ethnic” cuisines
Supporting flavor combinations:

  • Anise & Cajeta (Mexican Caramel Sauce)
  • Japanese Katsu Sauce & Oregano

While still identified with their home cultures, ingredients are no longer limited to their traditional uses. Cooks are thinking out of the box and using ingredients in uncommon ways. Cajeta is a traditional Mexican caramel sauce made with goat’s milk. Would it be delicious in a tres leches cake? Of course. But would it also be wonderful transformed with the addition of fish sauce and garlic, and made into a pork stir fry? Why not? The Vietnamese do it with their bittersweet, smoky version of caramel sauce. It all comes down to experimentation and curiosity.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by McCormick & Co.

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