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Media Spotlight – Menu Innovator® – Sweet and Spicy

Hot Topics:
Sweet and Spicy
Roasting for Flavor
Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
Nostalgic Desserts
Farm to Table

Top Cuisines:
Asian
New American
Mediterranean
Latin
Southern

As technology expands our reach to all parts of the world, different cultures and ethnicity become a part of our every day. As this happens, America’s interest in ethnic foods, and lesser known regional flavors is bringing new and exciting options to the table. One of these options is the mixture of sweet and heat – flavors that have been attracted to each other since the beginning of time. When developing menus, it’s best to remember that when spicy ingredients are paired with sweet the heat is reduced. This allows for bold tastes to come through without ruining the taste buds. A “new classic” example is chipotle barbecue sauce. The sweetness of the barbecue sauce lets the smoky heat of the chipotle pepper to come through without being too hot. Another popular combination is habanero pepper with pineapple and mango demonstrating how adding sweetness can tame even the hottest of peppers

One cuisine that presents the ultimate opportunity for sweet and spicy combinations is Thai. With its blend of sweet, sour, and spicy Thai food has become mainstream. Thai cuisine has distinctive and flavorful core, with ingredients including curry paste, fish sauce, coconut milk, chile paste and peppers, lime, garlic and shallot. These flavors, in combination, entice the palates of most mainstream consumers. Sweet Thai chile sauce is the logical evolution of mainstream teriyaki with its combination of chilies, garlic and sugars. Hot Sriracha sauce has become a household word. When sriracha ketchup is served along side traditional ketchup on our burgers, you know hot has arrived.

Still not convinced that sweet and spicy will work on the menu? Last spring Texas-based Pie Five Pizza Co. ran a limited-time offer of a Thai-rrific Pie, a pizza crust topped with sweet chile sauce, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, sliced grilled chicken, a mix of vegetables, crushed red peppers, carrot sticks and cilantro. The Thai pie was a hit with customers, increasing average sales by 8 percent.

The sweet and spicy craze is not just confined to Thai food, or dinner for that matter. Piri-piri peppers, also known as bird’s eye are one of the chili peppers in South African cooking. Flamed grilled piri-piri chicken is the authentic South African street food. Served with creamy sweet coconut sauce and topped with cashews, fantastic. Piri-piri sauces can be found is restaurants and retail stores. Add some to a sweet barbecue sauce for sweet and sassy grilled chicken. Piri-piri peppers can make a great hot pepper jelly. Try that on your morning biscuits to get you out the door on time!

And for dessert? Mexican chili chocolate ice cream makes irresistible chocolate even more craveable with the addition of chili. Cookies and cream puffs filled with vanilla caramel and cayenne ice cream accents the delicious dairy notes of vanilla and caramel, then is finished with the heat component at the very end of the bite.

Try your own combination of “sweet and heat” in any food from appetizers and beverages to desserts.

Eat Well!

Culinary Systems Inc

Windermare, Florida 34786

Email. tlagana@culinarysystems.com

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