Trend Watch: Garum, ras el hanout, spruce tips

By Katie Belflower

Our latest edition of Trend Watch with Technomic features three of the top menu trends across Canada right now, highlighting some of the restaurants that are successfully adding them to their menus.


Garum is a fermented fish sauce popular in ancient Rome and Greece with a salty, umami flavour. Operators are featuring the condiment with meats, often pairing it with acidic or spicy elements such as citrus fruits and hot sauce to help balance the flavour. 

Menu examples:

  • Marben in Toronto served a Dry Aged Pork Chop with 12-ounce Tanjo Farms’ loin chop, blistered cherry tomato, orange miso, bok choy, whey garum and chicharron dukkah 
  • Pluvio in Ucluelet, British Columbia, menued Marinated Fish Lettuce Wraps with peach aguachile, smoked almond, garum and garlic aioli, pickled vegetables and house-fermented hot sauce

Ras el hanout

Translated as “head of shop,” ras el hanout is a Moroccan spice blend with a warm, earthy flavour. The blend can vary, but typically includes cumin, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cayenne pepper, allspice, and cloves. The mix appears in many North African dishes, particularly tagines, paired with meats and vegetables for added depth of flavour.

Menu examples:

  • Fairouz in Ottawa, Ontario, offered Beef Kibbeh with ground beef, cracked wheat, onion and ras el hanout yogurt
  • Constantine in Toronto served Moroccan Heirloom Carrots with ras el hanout, verjus, crispy quinoa and sheep’s milk feta

Spruce tips

Spruce tips are young growths appearing on the tips of evergreen tree branches. The tips have an herbal, citrusy flavour and are high in vitamin C, making them both flavourful and functional. Operators are spotlighting the ingredient in both sweet and savoury applications, showcasing its herby flavour alongside complementary flavours such as lemon and ginger.

Menu examples:

  • Savio Volpe in Vancouver, British Columbia, menued Mitch’s Catch with tuna crudo, salsa rossa, lemon, and pickled spruce tips
  • The Acorn in Vancouver, British Columbia, offered Stone Fruit with end-of-season plum and ginger leaf, Odd Society gin, spruce tip shortbread, and birch syrup

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.