Cuisine With International Flair
In the past, it has been customary in catering kitchens and restaurants alike to adopt global cuisine and mimic its appearance using American ingredients. This year, the obsession with global flavors has transformed and chefs are now looking for ways to incorporate international ingredients into new recipes. These 7 popular ingredients are being used by caterers and chefs across the country to inspire international flair.
1. Artisan Cheese
At the 2013 Southwest Foods Show, artisan cheese and cheeses from across the world were one of the top products sampled. With a definite focus on less process and more craft, there was a deep selection of imported regional cheeses from France, Italy, Spain and England, plus plenty of newer, small artisanal US cheese makers, says Larry Olmsted of Forbes, making the prediction that consumers will be seeing more good cheese selections in supermarkets without having to go to specialty cheese retailers to find them.
Thanks to trendsetting chefs like José Andrés, the food of the Philippines is making waves from coast to coast. With inspiration from Malaysia, Polynesia and China, Filipino dishes are rich in flavor and incorporate many different cooking techniques. Dishes such as fried pork bellies, pinkabet vegetable stews, kinilaw (raw-fish salad similar to ceviche) and a sweet banana ketchup are all tasty options for spicy or sweet Asian-influenced menus.
3. Mediterranean Cuisine
From Greece to Turkey, fare from the Mediterranean coastlines has been flourishing this year in everything from restaurants to food trucks, and catering is no different! Shannon Bane of Daphne’s California Greek restaurant has turned their traditional recipes into California fusion, adding avocados, pine nuts and gorgonzola to Greek dishes. Dolmas, Laffa and Tabbouleh are a few staples that are appearing on menus across the country.
4. Goat and Sheep Milk
Well nursed versions of goat and sheep milk may not have any recognizable taste differences than cow milk, but that hasn’t prevented them from being used throughout the industry for cheeses, spreads and sauces as the taste is bolder and the consistency is creamier than cow’s milk.
5. Top-quality Olive Oil
The best olive oil is a blend of oil from a mixture of red-ripe and green olives typically found in Italy, Greece, Spain and Argentina. The less acidity in the blend, the higher the quality and the more flavor it encompasses. While you don’t want to use these oils in cooking where the flavor will be reduced, tasting parties and small plates with oil dippers are becoming increasingly popular.
6. International Grains and Spices
As was presented in Catersource magazine July/August 2013 issue, grains and spices from around the world have made their way into catering dishes across North America. From za’atar to cardamom to cinnamon, these spices can customize the flavors in any dish on your menu. For more on international spice trends, view the digital edition here.
7. Parmacotto Prosciutto
According to Italco Food Products, Inc., Parmacotto is a delicately flavored dry cured ham made from the meat of the hindquarters of the hog. Brine cured and then pressed into a hard and dense meat, prosciutto cotto is a cooked form of prosciutto as it is boiled prior to use. Prosciutto cotto is an excellent thinly sliced meat, that is often accompanied by melon, cooked vegetables or used in pasta dishes and as a stuffing for other meats. Made in the same loving manner for centuries in Tuscany, Parmacotto has been imported into the US for less than a year and is already making waves throughout the foodservice industry.