HUNT VALLEY, MD. — Poppy seed and rose, oregano and heirloom beans, and vanilla bean and cardamom are among the flavor combinations McCormick & Co., Inc. expects to be popular in the coming year, according to "McCormick Flavor Forecast 2008."
McCormick identifies the top flavor pairings through its network of researchers, trend experts, chefs, food technologists and sensory analysts along with leading restaurant chefs, cookbook authors and television food personalities. Overall, the company said health and wellness, the desire to discover authentic ingredients and cooking techniques from around the world, and increased desire for local food are all factors in this year’s forecast.
"Our team of chefs is constantly exploring new ways to experience flavor — it is the heart of what we do," said Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick. "When we see a new spirit of adventure with ingredients like lemon grass and lychee or red curry and masa, we know it’s an exciting time for food and flavor."
In 2007, the top flavor pairings included clove and green apple, thyme and tangerine, tellicherry black pepper and berry, and sea salt and smoked tea. This year’s pairings are:
• Oregano and heirloom beans — This combination mixes functional food and flavor and maximizes antioxidants, according to McCormick.
• Vanilla bean and cardamom — McCormick said this combination "taps into America’s growing passing for indulgent, yet approachable luxury."
• Chile and cocoa — This pairing takes old world authenticity into a modern context, resulting in complex heat, depth, dimension and richness, McCormick said.
• Coriander and coconut water — Mixing flavors of the tropics brings out light, clean flavors, McCormick said.
• Lemon grass and lychee — "Exotic fruits from far away and the ever-growing popularity of Asian cuisines pave the way for this refreshing match," McCormick said.
• Red Curry and masa — This combines Latin and Asian influences making a unique flavor, McCormick said.
• Orange peel and natural wood — "A new taste sensation is born when the smokiness of wood is matched with tangy orange peel," McCormick said.
• Allspice and exotic meats — This combination reflects how America loves to experiment with taste, McCormick said.
• Poppy seed and rose — McCormick describes this pair as "elegant and sensuous," capturing cuisines from North Africa and the Middle East.
• Rubbed sage and rye whiskey — Sage complements the dry, gutsy taste of rye whiskey and is a historical reflection of taste in America, McCormick said.