Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Flavor & The Menu
September 10, 2019

Nostalgic desserts never go out of style. In fact, more than half of consumers prefer ordering desserts they enjoyed as a child. It makes sense—when diners get to the end of a meal, they often seek comfort. Today, they also expect creative twists on those classic desserts.

Making a dessert both nostalgic and signature is easier when starring ingredients that hold strong flavor memories, but also play nicely in modern updates. As an example, look to Jamie Simpson, Executive Chef Liaison at The Culinary Vegetable Institute (CVI), who is no stranger to “creative twists.”

Known for his passion for produce, his Blueberry Candy Leather is both modern and nostalgic. Made solely with frozen blueberries, he relies on the natural pectin in the fruit to give it the desired consistency.

“The blueberry is a perfect package for creating sturdy dehydrated leather without needing to add anything,” says Simpson. “You can fully dehydrate this purée to create a crisp, delicate wafer that’s versatile in applications from salads to desserts.” By using frozen blueberries, he transforms this fan-favorite fruit to serve up a taste of summer—and childhood—all year.

Blueberry Cupcake 2.0

US Highbush Blueberry Council

Blueberry Cupcake with Foie Gras Cream Cheese Frosting

Nothing is perhaps more nostalgic than a cupcake, with most consumers holding warm memories of enjoying them at school bake sales and friend’s birthday parties. There’s been tremendous creativity over the last 10 years that focuses on the cupcake, proving its staying power and opportunity.

Similarly, blueberries have that “trendy, yet timeless” consumer appeal. Reminiscent of childhood memories but with the ability to shine in culinary innovation, frozen blueberries can help chefs tap into the nostalgic dessert trend in any season with their reliable, steady supply year round.

Tristan Acevedo, chef at CVI, runs with the notion of blending comfort with creativity in his Blueberry Cupcake with Foie Gras Cream Cheese Frosting. He relies on frozen blueberries for their “clean” profile, with no additives or preservatives.

He starts with a standard yellow cupcake batter, dotted with frozen blueberries for both color and flavor. “The foie gras is cured like a terrine and whipped with a paddle until light and fluffy,” he says. “For an aromatic accent, it’s finished with freeze-dried blueberry powder and micro thyme.”

“For most applications in sauces and purées, frozen blueberries are a perfectly reliable and consistent substitute for fresh blueberries.”
Executive Chef Jamie Simpson, CVI

Why Choose Frozen?

  • “Clean” ingredient, no additives or preservatives
  • Individually Quick Frozen (IQF) format allows you to use only what you need and helps reduce waste
  • Minimal labor with 100% product yield: no peeling, chopping or pitting
  • Nutrition sealed-in at the peak of freshness
  • Stable and reliable supply in cold storage year-round
  • Full range of GAP industry safety practices in farming, packing and distribution

“The ease with which frozen blueberries can be found makes them a great solution when searching for acid to balance richness.”
Chef Tristan Acevedo, CVI

On average, consumers are 3.5 times more likely to select a dessert with blueberries when purchasing a meal away from home in a given month.**

For menu solutions that maximize blueberries, visit BlueberryCouncil.org/Foodservice.

*Global Indulgence Study from Culinary Visions, Olson Communications, Chicago, 2019
**U&A Study conducted by SMS Research on behalf of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, 2017

About The Author