menu trends

Trend Watch: Birch syrup, kosho, candy cap

By Katie Belflower

Our latest edition of Trend Watch with Technomic highlights three menu trends that are being seen across Canada right now, and how Canadian restaurants are utilizing them to great effect.

Birch syrup

Birch syrup is made from birch sap and produced in much the same way as maple syrup, but has a complex and distinctly mineral-rich taste with a hint of spiciness. Because of its less sweet and somewhat savoury flavour profile, it is most often used as a glaze or dressing for vegetables and meats.

Menu examples:

  • Nupo in Calgary menued Warm Nupofarm Sweet Carrot Salad with ricotta, birch syrup, pistachio, and miso carrot puree
  • Canoe in Toronto served Fried Pig’s Ears with birch syrup aioli


Japanese condiment kosho has a paste-like texture and is made by fermenting chiles, salt, and citrus (most often yuzu). Either green or red chiles can be used, allowing for slightly different spice levels and taste profiles.

Operators can highlight the spicy-sour condiment on a variety of dishes to add a bright pop of flavour, including atop meats, fish and vegetables.

Menu examples:

  • Bouillon Bilk in Montreal offered Hiramasa with yuzu kosho, grapefruit, fennel, and cucumber  
  • The Courtney Room in Vancouver served a Wedge Cobb Salad with farm egg, bacon, avocado, aged cheddar, yuzu kosho vinaigrette, and puffed quinoa

Candy cap

The candy cap is a small- to medium-sized mushroom varietal known for its aromatic qualities. It has a strong maple syrup aroma and, as such, is often used as a flavouring for desserts.

Operators are utilizing the mushroom in ice creams as well as milder vegetable dishes accompanied by another sweet element.

Menu examples:

  • Published on Main in Vancouver menued Candy Cap Mushroom Ice Cream with pickled mulberry and porcini wafer
  • Botanist in Vancouver offered Roasted Winter Squash Salad with candy cap mushrooms, brown butter, and spiced maple vinaigrette

Trend Watch is based on 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.

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