Disclosure: McCormick spices paid me to feature the Flavor Forecast report on The Mija Chronicles. I wrote the article myself, and the opinions are of course my own.
I have a box of smoked paprika in my kitchen, and lately I’ve been sprinkling it on whatever I have cooking on the stove. Eggs and vegetables, sometimes, or shrimp and garlic. Not until recently have I really stopped to think about that one seemingly small choice. Why paprika? Why not something else? What does it mean about the way I cook?
This is the business that McCormick is in, and the objective of its annual Flavor Forecast report. The 2013 report, released today, attempts to identify not only the most up-and-coming ingredients around the world, but also what those ingredients say about the world we’re living in, and the type of cooks we are. The report predicts that the highlighted flavors and trends will become mainstream in the next five years.
In this year’s report — spookily — I actually saw myself. One of the trends is “Global My Way,” a cooking trend built on using ethnic ingredients in a non-traditional way. That is, like, my onda. Remember roasted carrot tacos with Korean chili sauce? Mamey muffins?
Here are a few other of the trends I found interesting:
1. No Apologies Necessary: Embracing rich foods as a sort of momentary escape. Flavor combinations include decadent bitter chocolate, hazelnut and passion fruit; and charred orange, black rum and all spice. (Or… extra-dark Mexican chocolate cream pie, which is a recipe I’ve been toying with. Maybe it needs a passion-fruit sauce.)
2. Personally Handcrafted: This reflects the exploding DIY movement at home, and the idea of spending time on a recipe instead of being rushed. Flavor combos include cider, sage and molasses; and rosemary, smoked tomato, chile peppers (fresh or dried) and sweet onion.
3. Global My Way: The flavors the team selected were anise seed and cajeta, and Japanese katsu sauce and oregano.
Some of these flavor combinations might seem weird — I will be honest and say I’ve never heard of katsu sauce until now — but past reports have been dead-on. McCormick’s team, comprised of chefs, food technologists, sensory analysts, and people who work in what’s called “consumer insights,” chose rosemary as an up-and-coming ingredient in the year 2000. They chose chipotle in 2003.
I’m interested in what you think about this report. Do you see yourself in any of the cooking trends? Do any of the combinations sound good to you, or too strange?