Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
July 7, 2019

Consider the giant success of salted caramel. It demonstrates an exuberant embrace of sweet and salty, and is now a pretty standard combination on dessert menus. As always, the question is: What’s next? We’ve got our eye on miso caramel, which takes that salty-sweet win and introduces a craveable element of umami.

Miso caramel seems to find its favorite dance partner in ice cream. At Miminashi, an izakaya in Napa, Calif., miso caramel is among the sauces offered with its “soft cream.”

The Pine Room in Harrods Creek, Ky., serves a bread pudding topped with vanilla-bean ice cream, oat streusel, candied nuts and miso caramel.

On the savory side, the funky, salty, sweet flavor is often called out as “caramelized miso,” but is essentially the same thing, promising a bit of adventure couched in the familiar caramel. At Michael Mina in San Francisco, the black cod is served with caramelized miso, Tokyo turnip and pepper crab broth.

Poitín Bar + Kitchen, a creative American restaurant in Houston, calls out miso caramel as a glaze for its small plate of bone-in pork belly, grilled corn and hazelnut (above).

It’s even showing up in cocktails—the Hudson Old Fashioned at Wild Ink at Hudson Yards in New York stars bourbon, orange bitters and caramelized miso.

Emma K. Morris

At Miminashi in Napa, Calif., miso caramel and sesame honeycomb are among the creative toppings for a variety of rotating “soft cream” flavors, including this Brown Sugar Crème Fraîche version.

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