pickled nuts

Trend Watch: Meat-infused cocktails, pickled nuts, salal berries

By Katie Belflower

In our latest edition of Trend Watch with Technomic, we are focusing on three current top menu trends across Canada, showcasing some of the restaurants that are creatively and successfully adding these items, flavours, or ingredients to their menus.

Meat-infused cocktails

Operators are featuring cocktails infused with meaty elements including marrow, fat, and stock. These cocktails often include other rich elements, such as chocolate and red wine, making for bold flavour profiles. This is an example of the kitchen crossing over into the bar, utilizing ingredients more typical on the food side of the menu to innovate within the adult beverage category.

Menu examples:

  • Union 613 in Ottawa, Ontario, served the Rum Ham with bacon fat and pineapple-washed El Dorado five-year rum, maple butter-washed Casa Dos Vinhos five-year Madeira, Angostura Bitters, top-shelf spiced chocolate bitters, and gomme
  • Straight & Marrow in Vancouver, British Columbia, menued the Straight & Marrow with marrow-infused brandy, Benedictine, beef stock, red wine, lemon, orange, and black pepper cardamon bitters

Pickled nuts

Nuts such as walnuts and almonds are a popular addition to many dishes, but we’re seeing more operators serve them in pickled form. This preparation method changes both the texture and flavour of the nuts, creating a softer, briny topping that operators are spotlighting on salads and meat dishes. This is an example of operators preparing common ingredients in non-traditional ways, creating menu innovation while remaining cost-conscious.

Menu examples:

  • Primal in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, offered Bison Carpaccio with pickled walnut, fried artichoke, garlic aioli, greens, and parmesan
  • Kissa Tanto in Vancouver, British Columbia, served Fish Crudo with shiso vinaigrette, radishes, Tokyo leek, capers, pickled almonds, and Castelvetrano olives

Salal berries

Salal berries are blue-black berries that grow on shrubs and have an earthy, blueberry-like flavour. They are full of antioxidants, and the seeds even contain Omega-3 fatty acids, making them a functional ingredient. Similar to other berries, the salal berry can be showcased in both sweet and savoury applications. Operators are featuring salal berries in meat dishes to add a sweet element to umami entrées.

Menu examples:

  • Be Love in Victoria, British Columbia, menued the Winter Burger with a sourdough bun, mushroom patty, pickles, red onion, salal berry ketchup, mustard aioli and greens
  • Eden in Banff, Alberta, offered Caribou Tataki with juniper, salal berry, and oxalis

Image courtesy of Kissa Tanto’s Facebook page.

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.