Until the 1930s, few Americans had ever tasted a taco or burrito, but since then, Mexican cuisine has become a ubiquitous staple in this country. Likewise, before the 1980s, most American diners would have found it appalling to sit down to a plate of raw fish and rice, but today it seems that there is a sushi bar on every urban street corner. And living in a country with 43,000 Chinese restaurants, it can be easy to forget that there was once a time when the cuisine of China was about as foreign to American eaters as the cuisine of Mars.
Throughout American history, palates (and, subsequently, the foods American cooks place on their dinner tables) have constantly evolved. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the effects of immigration, American travel abroad, the careful marketing of global cuisines in this country and the simple transformation of tastes. It is understood that the dishes most popular with one generation are almost certain to be different from those most beloved by the next. With American palates shifting so rapidly, and with the potential rewards for staying on top of the trends so great, many are motivated to shape and predict what will be the next big thing in global cuisine.
Polish cuisine attracting adventurous gourmands
According to the American Community Survey, there are currently almost 10 million Polish Americans living in the United States, making up 3.3 percent of the total population. In Wisconsin and Michigan, over 9 percent of the population is of Polish descent. As the Polish population in this country is burgeoning, so is the importation of goods from Poland. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2013, the value of goods imported into this country from Poland increased 65.5 percent.
International travel to Poland is also up (over 12 percent since 2009), and Americans make up the second largest group of visitors to the country after the French. The cuisine of Poland has become one of the draws bringing American tourists to the country. In part due to the success of high end gourmet Polish eateries, such as Warsaw’s Atelier Amaro, the first restaurant in Poland to receive the Michelin rising star award, hungry food tourists are flocking to Eastern Europe to taste indigenous Polish ingredients prepared with 21st century techniques.
According to Tomasz Piszczek, founder of Polish specialty food company Polska Foods, Inc., the increasing popularity of Poland as a destination for food tourists and of Polish food more generally in this country is the result of Polish chefs going back to the country’s pre-communist roots and re-inventing the national cuisine with an eye toward freshness and flavor. “During the communists, the Polish kitchen used a lot of salt, fat and black pepper to increase the flavor. You didn’t have too many spices. It was difficult to get access to traditional ingredients such as cloves, anise, figs, cinnamon, saffron, walnuts, almonds, and nutmeg,” said Piszczek.
Piszczek explained that contemporary chefs specializing in Polish cuisine approach the country’s food traditions in a different way. “The new generation in Poland right now is bringing back their culinary heritage of the past centuries—food with exquisite flavor that was influenced by Italian Queen Bona in the 16th century in Poland, who brought culinary lavishness to the Polish court,” he said. “As the new generation returns to old traditions, and as more people travel to Poland, many are rediscovering Polish cuisine that artfully blends many European flavors into one celebrated dish, setting the record straight for future generations.” According to Piszczek, this modern Polish cuisine features a wide variety of spices, vegetables, seeds and nuts, and this is the Polish cuisine he sees growing in popularity among U.S. eaters.
Malaysian tastemakers looking to capitalize on American love of fusion
The American love affair with fusion cuisine goes back at least to the 1970s, when increased U.S. trade with Asian countries led to an explosion of American eateries specializing in Japanese or Chinese delicacies, but with a distinctly Western twist. Asian fusion continues to be popular throughout the United States, along with a plethora of other fusion cuisines from Tex-Mex to Louisiana Creole to California cuisine. As Americans continue to go crazy for fusion, another exotic fusion cuisine could be on deck to capture consumer interest in this country: Malaysian cuisine.
For Americans who are often so enamored with the combination of disparate global flavors, ingredients and techniques, the fusion cuisine of Malaysia seems tailor-made for the country’s food-obsessed populace. Malaysian cuisine represents the unique coalescence of Indian, Chinese, Thai, Portuguese, Middle Eastern and native Malay flavors.
“Why do Americans need Malaysian cuisine?” asked Christina Arokiasamy, chef, author and Malaysia’s Food Ambassador to the United States. “America has given Thailand a chance. America has given Japan a chance. America has given India a chance, China a chance, Vietnam a chance. America is a country that is multicultural. America is close to traditions. And Americans are also very innovative. We Malaysians are also very close to our culture, just like Americans. We are very traditional, yet we are so innovative that we can make this kind of food for the American kitchen.”
The most popular Malaysian dishes represent the melting pot that is the company’s eclectic food culture. Hokkien Mee, for example, is a Chinese style noodle dish cooked with crispy cubes of deep fried pork lard. Nasi Kandar is a popular rice dish, seasoned with Thai-inspired curry sauces. Malaysia also offers its own unique take on satay, a dish popular throughout Southern Asia, from India to Indonesia.
With bottled Malaysian sauces, packaged spice pastes and pre-packaged heat-and-serve meals available in many grocery stores, cooks who never before attempted a Malaysian passport meal at home are now beginning to experiment with the exotic flavors of this Southeast Asian kingdom. Meanwhile, those less likely to whip up their own Malaysian feast are experimenting with the flavors of the country at popular restaurants, such as San Francisco’s Banana Leaf, New York’s Nyonya and Las Vegas’ Satay.
Home cooks experimenting with flavors of India
Although Indian food is relatively well established in this country and thus does not necessarily fall into the category of up-and-coming global cuisines in the way Malaysian or Polish food might, the fare of the Indian subcontinent is growing as a mainstream cuisine of choice in this country. According to market research company Mintel, retail and foodservice sales of Indian food have jumped 35 percent in recent years. As a result, more and more home cooks today are experimenting with Indian flavors and ingredients in their own kitchens.
Today many Americans who never before touched a plate of chicken tikka masala, palak paneer or vegetable jalfrezi are carefully dipping their toes into the pool for the first time. This is in part due to the work of gourmet food companies that are attempting to make Indian dishes and flavors more accessible to the average American. Whereas one once had to visit a specialty grocery to pick up the staples necessary for preparing an Indian meal, today the average supermarket offers a selection of Indian ingredients and heat-and-serve dishes.
“It’s getting a little bit easier [to appeal to Americans], because people have become more adventurous in what they want to eat. They want new spice profiles. They want higher spice profiles. And Indian food provides that,” said Mike Ryan, Vice President of Marketing for Deep Foods, a manufacturer of Indian foods.
By Lorrie Baumann
As the world’s economy emerges from economic recession, American foodies are ready to launch out from the safe harbor of Italo-American and traditional American comfort food for deeper culinary waters, and all the indications are that this is going to be a spicy voyage. Demand for seasoning and spice is increasing due to the increasing demand for new flavors and flavor ingredients, growing popularity of ethnic cuisines and increasing health awareness among consumers, according to a 2013 report from Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence company.
This is part of a global phenomenon, according to both Transparency Market Research and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which released a report in 2011 on growing opportunities for small farmers in developing nations to participate in the global spice trade. India is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and exporters of seasonings and spices, and growth in the Asia-Pacific spice trade is riding on the developing spice markets in India, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, which have traditionally been net exporters of spices.
“What’s really changed in the spice business in the past couple of years, Spice 2.0, is that 300 million Indians and 400 million Chinese have entered the middle class and want to eat the food of their cultures. American spice prices have gone through the roof as the Chinese and Indians buy more spice,” said Tim Ziegler, Spice Master for Italco Food Products, Inc. a specialty food distributor in Colorado and the co-author of “Spices and Culinary Herbs” by Tim Ziegler and Brian Keating, a poster presentation designed to aid chefs in creating flavors by pairing spices and herbs from the same culinary family. “India is now a net black pepper importer. It is the most staggering development in the spice business in the past 25 years.”
Spices can be defined as vegetable products used for flavoring, seasoning and importing aroma in foods. Herbs are leafy spices, and some plants, such as dill and coriander, provide both spice seeds and leafy herbs. Around 50 spice and herb plants are of global trade importance, but many other spices and herbs are used in local traditional cooking. There is also an overlap between spices and herbs and plants normally classified as vegetables, as for example some mushrooms that are used as spices in China and Pakistan. Paprika is widely grown by small-scale farmers in Africa, while chiles are widely grown in Central America, Asia and Africa. Cloves are grown in low-lying tropical areas including Indonesia, Madagascar and Zanzibar.
Trade is dominated by dried products. In recent years, fresh herbs have become more popular, and spice- and herb-derived essential oils and oleoresins are sold in large and growing markets.
Pepper, the world’s most most important world spice crop, is grown in areas of South America, Africa and India and some Pacific Ocean countries that have high rainfall and low elevations. Lemongrass is another important herb, and it’s grown widely in the tropics. The leaf is used dried in teas, and the stems are used fresh and dried in Asian cookery. Growing interest in organic food and beverages is also catching up with the market as large amounts of certified organic spices have been introduced to the market over the past few years, according to Transparency Market Research.
This trend is already having its effect in home and restaurant kitchens across the U.S. “If the melting pot is true anywhere in America, it’s true in the kitchen,” Ziegler said. “American cuisine is not roast beef and mashed potatoes and asparagus spears any more.”
Ziegler says that Americans are growing more interested in the flavor profiles that originated in Middle Eastern and southwest Asian cuisines. “I’m a history major and I’m a chef. I sell spices on a daily basis, and increasingly the flavor profiles that even the young chefs are asking me for are increasingly southwest Asian,” he said. “I believe that 3-1/2 million to 5-1/2 million Americans have traveled or lived extensively in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrein and the Middle East, and those flavor profiles have come back to the United States, and I think that’s going to be a burgeoning trend.”
New Dehli-born Chef Suvir Saran, Executive Chef at Devi in New York City and Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for the Culinary Institute of America, says that he sees Americans’ growing interest in spices as an indication that Americans are becoming more mindful about how they cook and eat. “My feeling is that we’ve been a nation that’s reactionary and loves fads and diets and trends. With the economic recession ending, people have become less reactionary, and they’re becoming more mindful,” he said. “Taking Mediterranean or whatever comfort food we were already doing and adding more herbs and flavors and spices will be a way that we can cook and eat more mindfully and also save money in the end. Spices and flavoring ingredients are cheap. They’re wallet-friendly and last a lifetime. They give you great joy and great flavor without spending too much…. As there is more availability for aromatics and spices, we can incorporate these into what we already know and create more breadth and depth in our repertoire.”
Chef Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner of Perbacco restaurant in San Francisco, agrees. “I don’t think food ever gets boring. I never think flavors go out of style. I think that people find new things and discover new things for themselves, whether they’re eating or cooking, but I never think that basil and tomato is going to be boring,” he said. “Chefs are exploring other spices and herbs and flavors that might not be familiar to people. Spices had a place that’s been pretty constant for a long time in different foods, but I see that people are exploring things in the spice realm itself. It’s not so much about the heat of spiciness but about different flavor combinations. You’ll see things like cloves and allspice sneaking their way in.”
“I look at how I flavor my own dishes, cooking northern Italian food, and I look at history. Italians were part of the early spice market and adapted things that came from the East and from the New World,” he continued. “You start looking at old European recipes, and you’ll find some very interesting things – the use of cinnamon, the use of ginger – things that came from the Middle East. It’s not just about chile peppers.”
Chef Hosea Rosenberg, owner of Blackbelly Catering in Boulder, Colo. and winner of the fifth season of “Top Chef,” says he’s hearing a lot from his fellow chefs about their interest in the cuisines of Morocco and Latin America. “Everyone’s familiar with Americanized Mexican, but there are so many regional cuisines in Mexico that have not been highlighted, such as Oaxacan,” he said. “I see a few chefs that are starting to get a lot more press attention that are either from Morocco or have Moroccan heritage. It’s an amazing cuisine, and I don’t think there’s enough attention to it as of yet.”
He is exploring both of these cuisines in his own cooking, especially the tagines characteristic of Moroccan cuisine. “I just love the slow cooking, especially in the wintertime. Slow braises of meat. I have a farm and we raise our own lamb, and I’m always looking for creative ways to cook and serve lamb,” he said. “This type of cuisine really lends itself into turning a cheaper cut, if you will, into a remarkable centerpiece-type dish.”
“Now that it’s so easy to access all these spices, I see people really taking regional American cuisine and applying global spices to them as well to enhance those dishes,” said Chef Matt Greco, Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in California. “People are using spices that, not long ago, no one had ever heard of.”
“You’re definitely seeing a lot of that cross between American, especially southern American, with Asian flavors,” he continued. “I definitely see a lot more fermented products. Korea uses so many fermented products in their food. I definitely see those types of influences applied to American cuisine. The past five years have seen a rebirth of southern American food, and that whole movement is going to other areas of the United States that have their own food cultures.”
Giovanni Food Co. Inc. has earned Gluten-Free Certification from NSF International, a global public health organization, for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta. The NSF Gluten-Free label is a signal to consumers with gluten intolerance or celiac disease that the product contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten.
This is essential as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently published the final rule that sets a gluten limit of 20 parts per million (ppm) in foods labeled as “gluten-free,” “without gluten,” “free of gluten” or “no gluten.” The compliance date of this final rule is August 5, 2014. In 2011, NSF International developed a voluntary gluten-free standard and certification program, which verifies that certified products do not exceed this limit.
This certification helps Giovanni Food Co. meet the needs of consumers who need verification that the products they purchase are gluten-free. It is also significant to the company’s current private-label and contract manufacturing customers.
“It is important to our company that we provide consumers with products that have the attributes they are looking for,” said Louis DeMent, CEO of Giovanni Food Co. “Having this gluten-free certification, along with our recent non-GMO project verification, enables our brand, Greenview Kitchen, to stand out among the many others that are in the marketplace.”
To earn the certification, Giovanni Food Co. had to meet the requirements of the NSF Gluten-Free Certification Program by developing a gluten-free compliance plan for production and/or handling facilities and successfully pass both on-site facility audits and product testing. Supplier assurance, manufacturing practices and training methods were evaluated to verify the company’s ability to create products that meet the certification requirements. Random product samples were collected and tested at an NSF International laboratory to verify gluten levels are below the FDA limit.Facilities are audited and products are tested annually to confirm ongoing compliance to the program.
“NSF International developed this voluntary standard to provide consumers with a science-based gluten-free certification program they can trust,” said Jaclyn Bowen, General Manager, Agriculture and Specialty Food Programs at NSF International. “Earning NSF Gluten-Free Certification for its Greenview Kitchen organic pasta sauce, pizza sauce and bruschetta demonstrates Giovanni Food Co.’s dedication to meeting the needs of its customers as well as the gluten-free integrity of its products.”
Products meeting all certification requirements are authorized to bear the NSF Gluten-Free seal and are included on NSF International’s website to demonstrate the products are certified gluten-free.
Family-owned Graeter’s Ice Cream is releasing its first completely new product lines in 144 years this spring. Graeter’s Gelato and “A Little Less Indulgent” lines are made with the same high quality ingredients and attention to detail as Graeter’s original flavors, but offer a new spin on the traditional recipe.
The new product lines will be launched at select grocery stores, but available to all online at graeters.com.
Graeter’s signature French Pot process that makes its ice cream so dense and creamy was actually based on Italian gelato machines, making its Gelato the most authentic Italian gelato available in the United States. Using this old-world freezing process, Graeter’s artisans create the hand-crafted gelato using specially made truffles from a family owned candy confectioner in Pennsylvania. Flavors include Caramel Truffle, Hazelnut Truffle, Vanilla with Milk Chocolate Truffles and Dark Chocolate Truffle.
A Little Less Indulgent
A Little Less Indulgent stands apart from other reduced sugar ice cream varieties thanks to the sweetness provided by a natural sugar substitute made from Monk fruit extract. The new line has 50 percent less sugar, roughly 25 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than Graeter’s regular ice cream, making it a just little less indulgent while retaining all the flavor of Graeter’s traditional ice cream. Flavors include Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip.
Arthur Schuman Inc., an importer and distributor of domestic hard cheeses, has partnered with the Greek Company Dodoni SA, establishing the company as the exclusive importer and distributor of Dodoni SA Products in the U.S. Dodoni is widely recognized around the world for its P.D.O. (Protected Destination of Origin) feta cheese and other Greek dairy products. The partnership between the two dairy companies provides the U.S. market with widespread access to these premium authentic Greek products.
“As a company that prides itself on importing the best cheeses and working with the strongest and most sustainable companies, Dodoni SA is a natural fit for us,” explained Neal Schuman, President and Owner of Arthur Schuman, a fourth generation family business. “We believe Dodoni, and particularly its P.D.O. feta cheese, will thrive in the US market.”
Dodoni cheese and dairy products are currently available for order from Arthur Schuman and requests from customers across retail, foodservice and industrial markets may be placed starting immediately. The products will be available at major club stores with national reach, with additional outlets to follow.
Arthur Shuman and its distribution network will be targeting all channels of distribution, in particular those customers who demand and appreciate the best quality cheeses.
The quest to find the perfect potato salad is a life-long journey that has been the source of friendly family rivalries for decades. To celebrate this timeless debate, Reser’s Fine Foods® decided to make things interesting and invite people to put their spuds on display for a national debate. Back for its third year, Reser’s Fine Foods is inviting the nation to participate in America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge, boasting more than $20,000 in prize money plus a trip to Las Vegas to compete for the national title at the World Food Championships.
The America’s Best Potato Salad Challenge is a two-tiered competition, inviting competition barbecue teams, as well as any chef or home cook with a tasty potato salad recipe, to take their chance at the national title. Five select Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned events will make up the BBQ Competitor Series, with the top two placing teams at each event receiving a cash prize and the first place winner receiving an additional $1,000 travel stipend to compete in the championship round in Las Vegas.
But the competitive barbecue teams won’t be having all the fun. In the Consumer Series portion of the challenge, home cooks are invited to submit their favorite recipe online. Reser’s will select the 10 best recipes and invite those finalists to pack their potato peelers, and their bags, for Las Vegas.
“Reser’s has been whipping up world famous potato salad for more than 60 years, so we know a winning recipe when we taste one,” said Teresa Carter, Category Manager at Reser’s. “We can’t wait to dig in to this year’s entries and name a new champion!”
The first contest of the Competitor Series will take place next Friday, on April 18 at the High on the Hog Festival in Winchester, Tenn. To register, view a schedule of events and official rules for participation, visit kcbs.us/potatosalad.
On Tuesday, April 15, Consumers are invited to submit their recipes for the Consumer Series at resers.com/potatosaladcontest.
505 Southwestern has reached an agreement with H-E-B Markets to sell its line of All Natural 505 Southwestern sauces and salsas in 62 H-E-B Markets across the state of Texas. 505 Southwestern Sauces and Salsas are available in mild, medium and hot flavor profiles, are all natural, gluten free and made with 100 percent green and red chile peppers grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, also known as the “Chile Capital of The World.” 505 Southwestern products come in five tantalizing varieties including Flame Roasted Green Chile, Green Chile Sauce, Enchilada & Tamale Sauce and an assortment of Salsas.
“We have seen an overwhelming positive response from both retailers and consumers to the quality and superior taste of our sauces and salsas. We are extremely excited that Texans will now have the opportunity to experience our 505 Southwestern sauces and salsas for themselves,” said Ray Gadd, Executive Vice President of 505 Southwestern.
Rapidly growing in popularity nationwide, 505 Southwestern sauces and salsas are setting the standard in the fast growing Hispanic-influenced sauce category. 505 Southwestern uses only Hatch Valley pungent green chile peppers that deliver a smooth, simmering heat and a kaleidoscope of chile flavors based upon legendary recipes of generations past from the Hatch Valley in southwestern New Mexico.
505 Southwestern sauces and salsas are available in mild, medium and hot tantalizing flavor profiles and packed in glass jars.
The Associated Press is reporting that the city of Irwindale, Calif. has declared the Huy Fong Foods, Inc. plant that makes its Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce is a public nuisance. The action gives Huy Fong 90 days to abate the odors that have prompted complaints from nearby residents and gives city officials the right to enter the plant and make changes if the odors persist past that date, according to the Associated Press. Read the entire story here in the Huffington Post.
Two Italian favorites are teaming up as Top Chef fan-favorite Fabio Viviani joins Columbus Foods for its “Meat Up” food truck tour, inviting Americans to explore the simple Italian goodness of premium salumi and deli meats. They’re hitting the road this April and May, spending a week each in Scottsdale, Salt Lake, Boston, New York Metro and New Orleans, as part of the company’s long-standing tradition of local market retail promotions.
With thriving restaurants in Los Angeles and Chicago, Fabio is a shining star in the culinary world following a successful stint on season five of Bravo’s hit television show Top Chef and the New York Times bestselling cookbook ‘Fabio’s American Kitchen’. “I grew up making salumi with my grandmother in her kitchen in Florence, Italy,” he recalls. “I love the fact that Columbus was founded by Italian immigrants and shares my dedication to the traditional process and simple Italian goodness found in the salumeria, or Italian delicatessen. It’s an honor and a privilege to work with a brand that is equally inspired by the Old World craft that has informed my life and career.”
Beginning April 9, Columbus and Fabio will woo the crowds at four top-tier events including the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, Boston’s MayFair, Mother’ s Day Weekend at the New York Botanical Garden and the NOLA Food & Wine Experience, showcasing Columbus’ broad variety of salumi and deli meat offerings. While in town, Columbus will also share samples from its branded food truck at local grocery retailers – the full schedule and details can be found at www.ColumbusMeatUp.com.
“Fabio bridges traditional Italian heritage with today’s contemporary lifestyle. His approach to recipe creation – dishes that are simple to prepare and full of flavor – is a perfect complement to Columbus. We’re looking forward to him engaging consumers and providing ideas for meals they can create at home.” said Michael Cruz, director of marketing at Columbus Foods.
Win a chance to cook with Fabio
From April 9 – May 30, consumers can stop by the “Meat Up” tour or visit www.ColumbusMeatUp.com to enter to win a trip to Los Angeles, two nights lodging and a cooking session with Fabio at his Moorpark, Calif. restaurant, Café Firenze.
The Specialty Food Association has notified Canada Enterprises LLC, the creator of Jin+Ja, that Dragon Fruit Jin + Ja is a 2014 sofi™ Awards finalist for Outstanding Cold Beverage. There were 2,025 entries across all 30 Awards in Part 1.
Gold Winners will be determined in a special tasting by 200+ buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City on Sunday, June 29 and Monday, June 30. Gold Winners will be announced that Monday, June 30, at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by noted chef Dominique Ansel.