Top flavors and food trends for 2014

By From page B2 | January 29, 2014

Three_Chili_Obsession_1800Marking its 125th year as a food industry innovator, McCormick and Company Incorporated kicked off a yearlong celebration of the tastes that bring people together with the unveiling of its McCormickFlavor Forecast 2014: 125th Anniversary Edition.

The report, developed annually by McCormick experts around the world, highlights five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors predicted to impact the way we eat in the coming years.

First launched in 2000, this anniversary edition explores how today’s unparalleled connectivity is driving faster-than-ever adoption of new trends and tastes around the globe.

One such trend is the growing obsession with chilies.

“Everywhere we looked, people have a growing fascination with the delicious range of flavors and heat chili peppers deliver,” said McCormick Executive Chef Kevan Vetter. “In the U.S., cooks are embracing exciting new varieties like the aji amarillo from Peru, which is prized for its sizzling heat and surprisingly full-bodied, fruity notes.”

These emerging trends and flavors highlighted in the McCormick Flavor Forecast 2014 offer a taste of what’s next on the global menu:


Five top trends

Chilies obsession: Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chili thrill.

Modern Masala: Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

Clever compact cooking: Proving that big flavors can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.

Mexican world tour: Mexican flavors are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.

Charmed by Brazil: The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.


Five top flavors

Aji amarillo: A hot Peruvian yellow chili with bold, fruity flavor.

Kashmiri Masala: An often homemade blend of spices from northern India featuring cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves and ginger.

Tea: Not just for sipping anymore, this natural ingredient is making its way into rubs, broths and marinades.

Chamoy sauce: A unique Mexican condiment — made from apricot, lime, chilies and spices — just beginning to gain a following in the U.S.

Cassava flour: Also known as manioc or tapioca flour, this gluten-free alternative is a Brazilian staple prized for its versatility.

Visit for 12 more flavors to watch in 2014 and beyond.

The McCormick Flavor Forecast 2014: 125th Anniversary Edition is launching with McCormick’s Flavor of Together program. As part of a yearlong effort, 125 flavor ambassadors from North America are bringing the insights to life online at

Here are a few of the recipes.


Sichuan cashew sauce

This nutty, Asian-inspired condiment gets a spicy kick from hot chili in oil and Chinese Five Spice. Serve with crunchy jicama or carrots, fried wontons or toss with cold noodles.

Prep time: 10 minutes
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup hot chili in oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Chinese Five Spice
1 1/2 cups chopped toasted cashews 1/2 cup McCormick Gourmet Crystallized Ginger, chopped
1 cup chopped green onions

1. Mix peanut butter, hot chili in oil, lime juice and Chinese Five Spice in medium bowl until well blended. Add cashews and ginger; mix well. Add green onions; toss gently.
2. Store leftover sauce in refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving. Makes 3 1/2 cups or 28 (2-tablespoon) servings.

Test kitchen tip: Hot chili in oil is available in Asian markets and online specialty stores. Lao Gan Ma is a well-known brand.


Spicy papaya and pineapple salsa

This tropical salsa gets its heat from ají amarillo, a yellow chile from Peru. A bright accompaniment to tortilla chips, quesadillas, grilled meats and seafood.

Prep time: 15 minutes

1 cup finely chopped papaya

1 cup finely chopped pineapple

1 cup finely chopped chayote

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt from McCormick Sea Salt Grinder

1. Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes 2 1/2 cups or 10 (1/4-cup) servings.

Serving suggestion: Serve fruit salsa with tortilla chips, root vegetable chips or plantain chips.
Also great with quesadillas, tamales, seafood tacos, or grilled chicken or fish.

Test kitchen tip: Ají amarillo paste is also known as yellow hot pepper paste. It can be found in Latin markets, online specialty stores or the Latin aisle of some supermarkets.


Pepita and chile salsa

Toasted pepitas and spicy chile de arbol give this fresh tomato salsa a nutty, smoky flavor contrasted with the tang of orange juice. Garnish with cilantro and serve with grilled chicken or fish, tortilla chips or tacos.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

2/3 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

8 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed and seeded

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup)

4 medium ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 cups)

1/2 cup bitter orange juice*

1 teaspoon McCormick Whole Mexican Oregano

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1. Toast pepitas in medium skillet on medium heat 5 to 7 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown, stirring occasionally. Reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish. Place remaining pepitas in blender container.

2. Toast chilis in same skillet on medium-high heat 30 seconds per side or just until they begin to blister and change color. Place in blender container; cover. Blend on high speed until mixture is ground.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly charred. Add to blender container. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and tomatoes to skillet; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly softened, stirring occasionally. Place in blender container along with juice, oregano, salt and ancho chile pepper; cover. Blend just until coarsely ground. Spoon salsa into serving bowl.

4. Chop reserved pepitas. Mix with cilantro in small bowl. Sprinkle over salsa.

Makes 2 cups or 16 (2-tablespoon) servings.

*Bitter orange juice comes from the Seville orange. It can be found in the Latin foods aisle of the supermarket. If unavailable, use 6 tablespoons orange juice and 2 tablespoons lime juice.

Test kitchen tip: Chiles de arbol are thin hot chiles from Mexico that are usually sold dried. If unavailable, substitute Thai bird chiles.


Three-chile mole fondue

Three types of chiles – guajillo, chile de arbol and chipotle – give this Mexican inspired dessert sauce a smoky kick. Bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate, nutty peanut butter and warm cinnamon make this an intense, luscious complement to sweet churros, fresh fruit or assorted cookies.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

4 large dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

4 dried chiles de arbol, stemmed and seeded 1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup blackstrap or dark rum 4 teaspoons creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Chipotle Chile Pepper

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Toasted Sesame Seed

1. Heat medium saucepan on medium-high heat 2 minutes. Add chiles; toast 30 seconds per side or until they begin to blister and change color slightly. Let saucepan cool slightly. Add 2 cups water to cover chilies. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes until chiles soften.

2. Remove chiles with kitchen tongs to blender container. Add 1/2 cup chili soaking liquid; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth. Discard remaining soaking liquid in saucepan.

3. Strain chile puree through large mesh strainer into saucepan. Stir in cream and corn syrup. Bring just to boil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Garnish with toasted sesame seed.

Makes 2 cups or 16 (2-tablespoon) servings.


Chorizo chile poppers

A twist on chile rellenos — stuffed and roasted jalapeño peppers — this recipe uses mild pickled peppers instead. A filling made with Mexican chorizo sausage, ancho chile pepper and chili powder makes these great bite-size party fare.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

6 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo
1 plum tomato, cored and quartered 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chile Pepper, divided
2 teaspoons McCormick Chili Powder

2 jars (10 ounces each) pickled sweet peppers, drained 2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled (1/4 cup)

1/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. Place chorizo, tomato, quinoa, garlic, cilantro, 2 teaspoons of the ancho chile pepper and chili powder in food processor; cover. Process until well blended.

2. Fill each pepper with 1 heaping teaspoon chorizo mixture. Top with crumbled queso fresco. Place peppers on foil-lined baking pan.

3. Roast in preheated 375 degrees F oven 10 to 15 minutes or until filling is cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees F). Mix Mexican crema, lime juice and remaining 1/2 teaspoon ancho chile pepper. Serve with Chorizo Chile Poppers.

Makes 8 servings.

McCormick is inviting consumers to share their own stories about connecting with others over flavor. For every story shared on any of McCormick’s brand Websites or social channels, McCormick will donate $1, up to $1.25 million, to United Way to help feed those in need.

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