What’s Hot in Holiday Flavor Profiles?

‘Tis the season to open your doors and welcome your festive guests, who are ready to get their party on!

Now’s the time. Try new, seasonal food trends, popular flavors, ingredients, and preparations. Diners are open to new beginnings and discovering flavor trends for the first time or revisiting nostalgic flavors of holidays past. Either way, position your holiday to take guest’s taste buds happily through the season and into the New Year.

Our culinary team, including our in-house R&D Specialist Amanda Webb, is hard at work guiding clients to making the most of their holiday menus. So, like kids on Christmas morning, we couldn’t wait to sneak into our kitchens for a quick peek into what our team’s cooking this holiday season…and we’re happy to inspire you and share what we’ve uncovered.

Combining Starches. Since we like to mix it up, so to speak, this “mash-ups” food trend caught our attention. For example, instead of offering traditional potatoes, look to add in a less-used starch, such as parsnips, to add dimension to classic mashed potatoes or sweeten things up with fruit, like adding cooked apples into mashed sweet potatoes. Including these items will pack on the flavor, without packing on the extra calories as with butter, milk, salt, and the like. We’re sure guests will love the tastes and appreciate the healthier ingredients.

Fermenting Vegetables. Complementing our fall flavors trend piece on pickling last month, fermenting is another popular, sustainable method of preserving foods with salt water or vinegar (also try using white distilled or cider vinegars) like fresh, seasonal vegetables that are low in acid, such as root vegetables: turnips, beets, parsnips, and carrots (which are great featured on meat and cheese plates). Also, our team is exploring unique sides this holiday season such as pickling apples to serve with turkey or ham or substituting shaved Brussels sprouts for cabbage in sauerkrauts.

Onions as a Main Ingredient. Instead of using onions as the base or starter for recipes, onions are trending as a star main ingredient this season. For example, we’ve created a wonderfully flavorful creamed leaks dish for our client, Founding Farmers Tysons that is served with seared tuna and porchetta. Another delicious example? Serving creamy pearl onions as a side, all on its own.

ffdc_dr_winteririshcoffee_003_kfHoliday Cocktails. Who can pass up a festive holiday drink? Here are some amazing holiday drink recipes we’ve whipped up for our client’s restaurants that are sure to be on every guests’ must-have cocktail list this season: Irish Coffee (pictured here) featuring Jameson Black, brown sugar syrup, mint bitters, and whipped cream; Apple Toddy featuring spiced apple-infused rye, hot tea, grapefruit, and honey; Winter Pie featuring chamomile-winter spice-infused Absolute, cinnamon-infused honey, and apple juice; and what we call a Cider House Rules incorporating Rémy Martin, Grand Marnier, hard cider, maple syrup, lemon, and angostura bitters. Ah, the joys of the season!