By Katie Belflower
Chefs and restaurateurs must be constantly innovating to stand out in an industry packed full of talent and variety. Keep up-to-date with the very latest in food and menu trends is a vital part of the job.
Thankfully, we and Technomic are here to help!
This latest edition of Trend Watch focuses on three menu trends that are being seen across Canada right now: haskap, miso desserts, and pandan.
A tart and sweet nutrient-rich berry, haskap is a unique alternative to more commonly menued berries. The berries are high in antioxidants, showing a continuance of the trend toward more healthful and functional ingredients.
Operators are most often featuring haskap in desserts as a complement to cakes and chocolates.
- The Mercantile Social in Halifax, Nova Scotia, served a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry-haskap coulis.
- Toque! in Montreal menued Bavarian Lavender with sweet clover sponge cake, yuzu cream, white chocolate crumble, haskap sorbet, and lavender gel.
Operators are featuring miso in desserts in Canada. The fermented soybean paste is featured on 9.8 per cent of menus, according to Technomic’s Ignite Menu data in Canada, though it is more typically found in soups or savoury seafood dishes.
The use of the salty condiment in desserts adds depth of flavour and helps balance sweetness in dishes.
- Grey Gardens in Toronto offered Fried Apple Pie with miso butterscotch ice cream.
- Fleurs Et Cadeux in Montreal served Creamy White Chocolate and Miso with creamy white chocolate and buttermilk, miso crumble, grapefruit supreme, candied natsumikan and grapefruit peels, shiso, and caramelized puff pastry.
Operators are spotlighting pandan, a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia. The leaves have a sweet, floral flavour, similar to vanilla. This trend aligns with the embrace of more unique and global flavours on Canadian menus.
Operators are typically serving pandan in desserts or cocktails, often alongside other tropical flavours, such as coconut.
- Miss Thing’s in Toronto menued Matcha Matcha Man with Absolut lime vodka, melon liqueur, matcha, pandan, yuzu, lemon, and toasted sesame.
- Lunch Lady in Vancouver, British Columbia, served Che Ba Mau with pandan sticky rice cake, housemade coconut and condensed milk gelato, red bean strawberry puree, and mung bean streusel.
Trend Watch is a regular contribution to RestoBiz based on restaurant and menu trends noted by Technomic Inc.
Katie Belflower is Associate Editor for Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry, including menu trends.