Trend Watch: Camelina, balsamic pearls, beet jam

By Katie Belflower

Our monthly edition of Trend Watch with Technomic highlights three menu trends that are gaining popularity across Canada right now and looks at how Canadian restaurateurs are successfully incorporating them into their menus. This month’s edition features camelina, balsamic pearls, and beet jam.


Some operators are featuring camelina in a variety of dishes on the menu. Camelina is a flowering plant, and its oil, high in omega-3 fatty acids, is often used as a health supplement. Camelina oil has a mild, nutty taste and can be used in place of more traditional cooking oils, making it highly adaptable for restaurant operators.

Menu example:

  • Chez Boulay in Quebec City menued La Ferme with game and legume cassolette, maple and camelina-glazed duck confit, poached egg, and flatbread

Balsamic pearls

Several independent operators are spotlighting balsamic pearls, which are boba-style flavour pearls made with balsamic vinegar. The pearls add a unique textural element to dishes that would traditionally feature balsamic flavours.

Menu examples:

  • Vaticano Cucina in Edmonton, Alberta, offered Caprese Salad with ripened tomato, fior di latte, fresh basil, balsamic pearls, pesto oil, and mixed lettuce
  • Restaurant E18teen in Ottawa, Ontario, served Burrata with roasted squash mousse, sweet pickled stone fruit, toasted almonds, white balsamic pearls, cherry tomatoes, rosemary ash oil, and balsamic gastrique

Beet jam

Beet jam is showing up on more and more independent restaurant menus. This sweet, earthy jam made from the red root vegetable is being featured in savoury dishes, as well as in cocktails. This is an example of operators cross-utilizing ingredients, with beets offering a fresh twist with a new preparation style. As an extra advantage, making jam from beets can also help extend the shelf life of the veggie, limiting waste and improving inventory management for restaurant kitchens.

Menu examples:

  • Bar Haifa in Vancouver, British Columbia, menued the Beet & Sour cocktail with gin, beet jam, lemon, and orange bitters
  • Tryst in Edmonton, Alberta, offered Beet Flatbread with house-made sourdough crust, beet jam, roasted garlic, roasted beets, smoked goat cheese, and wild arugula

Trend Watch is based on menu trends noted by Technomic.

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.