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Trend Watch: Mushroom toast, cedar cocktails, aji panca

By Katie Belflower

In the first edition of RestoBiz and Technomic’s Trend Watch for 2024, we take a look at some of the top trending dishes and ingredients, spotlighting some of the restaurants featuring them on their menus. This edition focuses on mushroom toast, cedar cocktails, and aji panca.

Mushroom toast

Trending at independent restaurants is mushroom toast, a new twist on popular avocado toast. This savoury dish is a British classic featuring any variety of mushrooms often paired with a dairy element (typically a cheese or creamy sauce) on top of toast.

Menu examples:

  • Botanist in Vancouver, British Columbia, served Cultivated Mushroom Toast with truffle aioli, Parmesan and grilled sourdough
  • Pip in Edmonton, Alberta, menued Mushroom Toast with sautéed mushrooms, a poached egg, crispy potato, and parmesan on toasted sourdough

Cedar cocktails

Independent operators are featuring cocktails with cedar flavouring or elements. This adds an earthy, woodsy taste to adult beverages.

Menu examples:

  • Major Tom in Calgary, Alberta, offered a Peach Old Fashioned with Old Grand Dad bourbon, Rittenhouse rye, Ardbeg 10-Year scotch, vanilla sugar, peach bitters, angostura bitters, and cedar
  • The Butternut Tree in Edmonton, Alberta, served Kindling with NFLD Gunpowder and Rose rum, Two Brewers peated single malt, charred cedar cordial, and soda

Aji panca

Aji panca is a dark red, mild chili pepper, with a slightly smoky, fruity taste. The pepper is commonly grown in Peru and found in Peruvian cuisine. It is most typically ground into a paste or powder to add depth of flavour to dishes. Operators are spotlighting the pepper as an accompaniment to both seafood and vegetable dishes on menus.

Menu examples:

  • Suyo in Vancouver menued Octopus Anticuchero with aji panca, yam fondant, and chimichurri
  • Mira in Toronto offered Plantain Chips with aji panca and avocado

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.