McCormick has released its annual Flavour Forecast for 2018, a comprehensive look at the latest ingredients, cooking techniques and culinary ideas driving what's next in flavour at restaurants, on retail shelves and in home kitchens.
This year's report highlights the casual, adventurous and interactive nature of how people are eating.
1. Handheld Flavour Fusion – Take to the streets for the latest fusing of global cuisines. Carts, trucks and food halls are merging high-flavour fillings with unique crepes, buns and breads for loaded street fare you eat with your hands.
- Sizzling Egg Crepes: Called jianbing in China and dan bing in Taiwan, these thin pancakes are griddled, filled and rolled up like a burrito. Stuff these Asian wraps with regional American tastes like smoky pork, crisp slaw and tangy sauce for a Southern twist.
- Gyros Meet Arepas: Arepas are the taco-sandwich hybrid you must try. Split and fill these crispy corn cakes with sliced meat, veggies and spicy tzatziki sauce–it's a blissful union of the best tastes and textures South America and Greece have to offer.
- Dessert Bao Buns: In China, these soft, steamed buns are typically served up savoury. But, with a simple dough and classic pie fillings, you can create the ultimate handheld dessert–like a British banoffee pie bao with bananas, cream, cinnamon and toffee.
2. A Bite of East Africa – East African cuisine is a treasure trove of flavour. The signature seasonings, BBQ marinades and sauces of Tanzania and Ethiopia are being explored across the globe.
- Berbere Spice Blend: Ethiopia's most popular seasoning contains an array of spices like paprika, allspice, coriander, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and red pepper. Its hot, sweet and citrusy flavour lends richness to whatever it touches, whether rubbed on meats, stirred into soups and stews, or sprinkled onto lentils and veggies.
- Tanzanian BBQ: These meat skewers, called mishkaki, are similar to shish kebabs. The traditional marinade blends lemon, tomatoes and green papaya to tenderize the meat, while curry, garlic, red pepper and ginger add bold flavour.
3. Japanese Izakaya Eats – Sushi isn't the only bite-sized food Japan has to offer. Izakayas – Japanese gastropubs – serve up casual tasting plates, similar to Spanish tapas. Featuring bold glazes, seaweed seasonings and tangy dipping sauces, these dishes are an explosion of flavour.
- Miso Sake Yakitori Glaze: It's all about the glaze. This tangy, sweet and savoury sauce adds excitement to grilled chicken and seafood skewers. Brush on to instantly impress dinner guests with a distinctive char and bright, glossy look.
- The Essential Furikake Seasoning: In Japan, furikake is sprinkled on everything from rice and noodles to veggies and seafood. This coarse mixture of seaweed, sesame, dried seafood, sugar and salt offers umami deliciousness and a subtle, sweet flavour.
- Onigiri– Stuffed Rice Balls: Rice balls filled with flavourful goodness are served in almost every izakaya in Japan. Stuff them with ginger & plum vinegar-infused chicken for a sweet and zesty snack.
4. Drink to Your Wellness – Wellness never tasted so good. Breakfast boosts, snacking soups and end-of-day sips feature robust flavours and uplifting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, ginger, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Awaken, stay energized, rebalance and, above all, enjoy.
- The Morning Jumpstart: Swap your coffee for a wake-up call that's packed with tart green apples, refreshing cucumbers, tangy-sweet clementines and a bold kick of cayenne.
- The Afternoon Soup: Power through your day with a drinkable soup. Oyster mushrooms, avocado, thyme and sage provide satisfying flavour for the ultimate pick-me-up.
- The Evening Elixir: Rebalance after a busy day. For the ultimate replenishing mocktail, muddle fresh pineapple with ginger, turmeric and dandelion greens, then top with a splash of sparkling water.
5. Globetrot with Hot Pot – Throw an Asian hot pot party and leave the cooking to your guests. Gather friends around a steamy pot of deeply flavoured broth. Offer meat, seafood and veggies for dunking, then finish with various toppings for a new DIY meal. This East Asian favourite can be easily changed up to go Mexican, Caribbean and more.
- Puebla Hot Pot: Steeping ancho chili, smoked paprika and spices in chicken stock gives this Central Mexican-inspired hot pot a smoky, savoury taste. Use it to cook chicken or pork, and finish with corn, avocado crema and fresh garnishes for a festive feast.
- West Indies Hot Pot: This hot pot features an amazing spiced coconut milk broth. Bay leaves, thyme, turmeric and allspice add intense flavour to the broth, which quickly cooks the seafood. Top it off with a chili papaya pica sauce and plantain chips for a Caribbean vacation right in your kitchen.