juniper

Trend Watch: Juniper, pineapple weed, chayote

By Katie Belflower

We’re well into fall now, and Canadian operators are looking to add trending items to their seasonal offerings. RestoBiz and Technomic’s latest edition of Trend Watch focuses on juniper, pineapple weed, chayote and some of the restaurants that are featuring them on their menus.

Juniper

Juniper is a shrub bearing edible berries with a piney, botanical taste. It is a traditional medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory and stomach-soothing properties. Although it is most commonly used to flavour gin, juniper is showing up more often in new ways on menus, such as in meat dishes and beverages.

Menu examples:

  • Braven in Edmonton, Alberta, served Charred Elk Tartare with northern Alberta elk, sunchoke chips, juniper aioli, and parsley
  • The Courtney Room in Victoria, British Columbia, menued the Elixir drink with house ginger root and juniper elixir, white pepper syrup, lime juice, and sesame oil

Pineapple weed

Pineapple weed, sometimes known as wild chamomile, is a herb named for its sweet, pineapple-like flavour. It is known for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a functional ingredient on restaurant menus. Operators are featuring the weed in adult beverages, but it can also be used in desserts and salads for a refreshing fruity flavour.

Menu examples:

  • Legende in Quebec City offered Maraicher with caraway and fennel aquavit, Omerto tomato wine, tomato, and pineapple weed water
  • Perch in Ottawa, Ontario, served Lost in Migration with duck fat-washed 12-year rum, Campari, nectarine, sea buckthorn verjus, pineapple weed simple syrup, lacto-peach, and peach bitters

Chayote

Chayote is a bumpy, green squash originating in Mexico. The squash has a mild taste, likened to apple or cucumber, with a crisp, firm texture. It is a good source of fiber and nutrients. Because of its mild flavour, it can be utilized in both sweet and savoury dishes, making it a versatile ingredient on restaurant menus.

Menu examples:

  • Baro in Toronto menued Chayote Slaw with chayote, carrot, peppers, red cabbage, red onion, cucumber, mango, yuzu vinaigrette, cilantro, mint, chulpes, and chiles
  • The Wood Owl in Toronto offered Mexican Adobo Roasted Carrots with cashew and avocado green goddess, chayote herb salad, and smoked almonds

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.