Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Texture Trend Insights Insights into the texture trend from our panel of experts

Oysters & Pearls at Yellowbelly in St. Louis showcases intriguing frozen pearls of cocktail sauce.
PHOTO CREDIT: Yellowbelly

This trend takes me back to a time in the kitchen when my only job was to build a pantry of flavor-enhanced powders, ashes and crystals that were used to garnish the amuse-bouche for the evening. The availability and variety of flavorful crystals, pearls and dusts are now moving it far beyond the garnish station.

One popular item we’re seeing incorporated into more dishes is the pearl. These caviar-like orbs are available in many different flavors, filled with liquids like balsamic, maple and even truffle. Pearls hold up well on the dish and explode with flavor when the guest bites into them.

Flavored crystals are another item becoming more popular both in the kitchen and behind the bar. These range in flavor from sweet to savory, including basil, ginger, fennel, habanero and rose. While known to be popular with chefs in the kitchen, their use among mixologists has grown, with their powerful flavors adding endless options at the bar.
Chris Casson

Food these days needs to appeal to all senses, and, right now, touch and sight seem to be the most important. Food needs to feed the eyes—it needs to be ready for its close-up. It also needs to be deconstructed by the hands and the tongue. Textural elements of whimsy and thoughtful flavor pairings will keep diners engaged— even after their foodie photo has posted.
Elizabeth Moskow

Snap, Crackle and Pop – modern pearls, dusts, powders and crystals introduce captivating texture, making texture one of our top 10 flavor trends for 2019.

In a digitally captured world, consumers are constantly seeking cool and unique preparations with unexpected surprises to drive the most engagement. Textures, crystals, powders and pearls provide multi-sensorial appeal for many different applications, making them a versatile tool across the menu. These ingredients can provide low-cost and high-impact word-of-mouth P.R. that’s easy to execute.
Adam Moore

Powders and crystals are fantastic for a punch of flavor. These are easily customizable, low-investment ingredients that can elevate the perception and the execution of many dishes. They also lend themselves well to customization, with a great opportunity for an extra punch of sweet, salt or spice, according to the customer’s preference.
Charlie Baggs

The infusion of flavor into a textural component creates an opportunity to deliver a composite experience. Being on the surface, it’s the first item to come in contact with your palate, setting an immediate reaction for the remainder of the tasting experience.
Mike Buononato

This trend definitely reflects the Millennial behavior of experiential dining and having that ‘Instagram-worthy’ aspect of a dish. Younger consumers want to be wowed before the first bite. Then, as they eat, they want a full experience of textures, flavors and aromas that are brag-worthy on social media.
Rosalyn Darling

From the Jan/Feb 2019 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.