Look for globally inspired cuisine to be in the spotlight, according to McCormick & Company, Inc.’s newly released McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2018.
“For 2018, look to new eating experiences that invite sharing, are globally inspired and pack a flavorful punch,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “A steamy pot of spiced broth is the centerpiece of an Asian hot pot cooking party. Meat, seafood and veggies are offered for dunking, then scooped out and topped with various sauces and fresh garnishes. Change up the ingredients to make it a Mexican or West Indies hot pot next time.”
The annual report is a comprehensive look at the latest ingredients, cooking techniques and culinary ideas driving what’s next in flavor at restaurants, on retail shelves and in home kitchens.
This year’s Flavor Forecast highlights the casual, adventurous and interactive nature of how people are eating across the globe today. Dive into street food flavor fusion with a gyro-taco hybrid – plantain arepas filled with grilled steak and tzatziki hot sauce. Discover a Japanese izakaya favorite, onigiri stuffed rice balls, sprinkled with furikake seasoning. And, take a bite of East Africa with spicy Tanzanian BBQ skewers and tomato onion sauce.
Since 2000, McCormick has deployed its international team of experts, chefs, trend trackers and food technologists to explore and identify tomorrow’s favorite flavors featured in its annual Flavor Forecast. The team predicted smoky, spicy chipotle in 2000, rich and versatile maple in 2007, refreshingly sweet coconut water and milk in 2008, golden turmeric in 2010 and tangy, savory Korean BBQ in 2012.
Handheld Flavor Fusion
Take to the streets for the latest fusing of global cuisines. Carts, trucks and food halls are merging high-flavor fillings with unique crepes, buns and breads for loaded street fare you eat with your hands.
- Sizzling Egg Crepes: Called jianbing in China and dan bing in Taiwan, these thin pancakes are griddled, filled and rolled up like a burrito. Stuff these Asian wraps with regional American tastes like smoky pork, crisp slaw and tangy sauce for a Southern twist.
- Gyros Meet Arepas: Arepas are the taco-sandwich hybrid you must try. Split and fill these crispy corn cakes with sliced meat, veggies and spicy tzatziki sauce–it’s a blissful union of the best tastes and textures South America and Greece have to offer.
- Dessert Bao Buns: In China, these soft, steamed buns are typically served up savory. But, with a simple dough and classic pie fillings, you can create the ultimate handheld dessert–like a British banoffee pie bao with bananas, cream, cinnamon and toffee.
A Bite of East Africa
East African cuisine is a treasure trove of flavor. The signature seasonings, BBQ marinades and sauces of Tanzania and Ethiopia are being explored across the globe.
- Berbere Spice Blend: Ethiopia’s most popular seasoning contains an array of spices like paprika, allspice, coriander, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and red pepper. Its hot, sweet and citrusy flavor lends richness to whatever it touches, whether rubbed on meats, stirred into soups and stews, or sprinkled onto lentils and veggies.
- Tanzanian BBQ: These meat skewers, called mishkaki, are similar to shish kebabs. The traditional marinade blends lemon, tomatoes and green papaya to tenderize the meat, while curry, garlic, red pepper and ginger add bold flavor.
Japanese Izakaya Eats
Sushi isn’t the only bite-sized food Japan has to offer. Izakayas–Japanese gastropubs–serve up casual tasting plates, similar to Spanish tapas. Featuring bold glazes, seaweed seasonings and tangy dipping sauces, these dishes are an explosion of flavor.
- Miso Sake Yakitori Glaze: It’s all about the glaze. This tangy, sweet and savory sauce adds excitement to grilled chicken and seafood skewers. Brush on to instantly impress dinner guests with a distinctive char and bright, glossy look.
- The Essential Furikake Seasoning: In Japan, furikake is sprinkled on everything from rice and noodles to veggies and seafood. This coarse mixture of seaweed, sesame, dried seafood, sugar and salt offers umami deliciousness and a subtle, sweet flavor.
- Onigiri– Stuffed Rice Balls: Rice balls filled with flavorful goodness are served in almost every izakaya in Japan. Stuff them with ginger & plum vinegar-infused chicken for a sweet and zesty snack.
Drink to Your Wellness
Wellness never tasted so good. Breakfast boosts, snacking soups and end-of-day sips feature robust flavors and uplifting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Awaken, stay energized, rebalance and above all, enjoy.
- The Morning Jumpstart: Swap your coffee for a wake-up call that’s packed with tart green apples, refreshing cucumbers, tangy-sweet clementines and a bold kick of cayenne.
- The Afternoon Soup: Power through your day with a drinkable soup. Oyster mushrooms, avocado, thyme and sage provide satisfying flavor for the ultimate pick-me-up.
- The Evening Elixir: Rebalance after a busy day. For the ultimate replenishing mocktail, muddle fresh pineapple with ginger, turmeric and dandelion greens, then top with a splash of sparkling water.
Globetrot with Hot Pot
Throw an Asian hot pot party and leave the cooking to your guests. Gather friends around a steamy pot of deeply flavored broth. Offer meat, seafood and veggies for dunking, then finish with various toppings for a new DIY meal. This East Asian favorite can be easily changed up to go Mexican, Caribbean and more.
- Puebla Hot Pot: Steeping ancho chile, smoked paprika and spices in chicken stock gives this Central Mexican-inspired hot pot a smoky, savory taste. Use it to cook chicken or pork, and finish with corn, avocado crema and fresh garnishes for a festive feast.
- West Indies Hot Pot: This hot pot features an amazing spiced coconut milk broth. Bay leaves, thyme, turmeric and allspice add intense flavor to the broth, which quickly cooks the seafood. Top it off with a chile papaya pica sauce and plantain chips for a Caribbean vacation right in your kitchen.
To learn more about the flavors of 2018, including recipes and tips for tasting them now, visit FlavorForecast.com.