By Junior Merino, The Liquid Chef
Flavor trends in the United States are known for rapid and extreme changes within a short period of time. However, Hispanic flavor trends have been steadily increasing over the years. The increase in Hispanic flavors throughout the market are due largely to the increasing population of Hispanics. According to a US 2012 census, the Hispanic population is expected to double from 53.3 million to 128.8 million by 2060.
As the Hispanic population increases in the U.S., so will interest in ethnic foods and regional customs. Just recently in America, Doritos, a leading chip manufacturing company released Dinamita Fiery Habanero Rolled Tortilla Chips, a take on Mexico’s very popular Takis name brand chips which feature similar styled rolled tortilla chips that are both sweet and spicy. This similar sweet and spicy taste has not only been a new addition to the snacks arena, but also in meals.
The contrasting taste between sweet and spicy is common. Mangoes are often sold with hot sauce and powdered chile. Another notable combination in the Hispanic tradition also combines sweet flavors with sour. Grilled corn on the cobs are mixed with cheese and crema or mayonnaise and often topped with chile powder.
Passion Fruit & Mango has also been a very dominant taste agent that has really dominated the market of beverages & food. You’ve probably ran across some passion fruit mango smoothies when reading through a menu, or maybe even a passion fruit mango cocktail. The combination of two sweet fruits along with a citrus kick combines perfectly to deliver a delightful experience on the palate. It can be taken commonly as a cold drink such as a smoothie or even as a warm one in the form of a tea.
A Chamoyada may be just what you need. Icy and full of flavor, a Chamoyada is a frozen drink made of mango, chamoy (a sweet, salty & spicy condiment) and lime, garnished usually with a spicy tamarind candy stick (tarubo). The possibilities of Hispanic flavors are endless. The contrasting taste is amazing, and the creativity has no end.
Other innovations such as the use of Chia seeds with fruit juices and oatmeal give off a revolutionary way of snacking. Combining them with yogurt or baking them in bread, the new innovation of flavors have possibilities that are endless. Even now, during the times of spring and in the midst of warm weather, these Hispanic flavors are a lifesaver!
For me, creating cocktails utilizing flavors and ingredients that I grew up, has kept me always one step ahead of the curve. Catering to palates similar to my own, has allowed me to use exotic ingredients that have become mainstream such as tamarind, peppers (ancho, chipotle, guajillo, pasilla, cascabel, costeno, piquin, etc), hibiscus, condiments, flowers, and fruits- guanabana, acai, mamey, sapote, jaka, nanches, lucuma, acerola, . Other ingredients that I enjoy using are more exotic such as tejocote (similar to crab apples), huitlacoche (corn truffles), algarobina (carob), tumbo (similar to passionfruit), and anona (custard apples), camu camu (similar to grapes), carica, yacon etc.
A cocktail I created to represent the Bicentennial Celebration of the Independence of Mexico.
1 T huitlachoche
3/4 oz tamarind concentrate
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Xtabentun Liqueur
1 1/2 oz 100% Tequila Reposado
Muddle the blackberries and huitlacoche in a mixing glass. Add the rest of the ingredients, ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a rocks glass rimmed with Pasilla Salt.