Did you know that 70 percent of consumers surveyed take notice of texture in menu items and 61 percent believe texture is just as important as flavor1 ? The ever adaptable California almond is available in more forms than almost any other tree nut, which means chefs and product developers can achieve countless texture and flavor combinations simply by adding almonds. From airy and velvety to sticky or smooth, a myriad of global flavors and ingredients can be leveraged and layered with almonds to create the unique dining experience consumers are looking for.

Taste the Trends: Achieving Menu Success with Texture and Flavor

Almond Board of California (ABC) recently attended the Restaurant Leadership Conference (RLC) in Scottsdale, and hosted the Innovation Forum “Taste the Trends: Achieving Menu Success with Texture and Flavor.” Expert presenters Maeve Webster of Datassential and Top Chef Masters alum Neal Fraser helped participants gain a new understanding for the trends in texture that are poised to affect and change the way customers think about dining.

Consumers’ growing interest in bold, new texture and flavor combinations means companies must work harder than ever to understand – and successfully navigate – the latest trends in food, ingredients, global travel and pop culture. The presentation highlighted the growing demographic of millennial consumers, a group that positively identifies with the terms “creamy” and “crunchy” in menu descriptions. Operators are taking heed, with terms such as “velvety,” “airy,” and “fluffy” represented on over 35 percent of menus studied. From a global cuisine perspective, 59 percent of consumers surveyed believe that texture adds authenticity to a dish1. In addition, items such as burrata, Sriracha and pickled vegetables, along with sauces such as romesco, harissa and chimichurri, are appearing on menus more often, providing consumers with more exposure to global flavors that are quickly becoming mainstream.

Chef Fraser brought texture and global flavors to life with two sample items designed to inspire new thinking around building complexity onto menus and ultimately satisfying consumer demand. Click the link of each item below for the full recipe:


If you would like to receive the presentation from RLC, or if you have any questions about enhancing texture with almonds, we would love to hear from you. Please contact us at foodprofessionals@almondboard.com.

[1] Menu Trends Report: Achieving Menu Success with Texture and Flavor; Datassential. April 2014.

McCormick & Schmick’s Chef Rene van Broekhuizen on Almonds and Texture

After attending ABC’s “It’s a Small (Plate) World: Bringing Authentic Global Flavors to the Menu” at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa earlier this year, Chef Rene van Broekhuizen of McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants was interviewed by Restaurant Business magazine about the ways he incorporates a variety of textures into his menu, using California almonds.

Chef Rene creates a crispy shell with a mixture of almonds and Panko breadcrumbs in his Almond Crusted Rainbow Trout, one of McCormick & Schmick’s signature dishes. He also developed a new item following the event that incorporates almonds in a truly unique manner, Asparagus Textures with Almond Cheese. The almond cheese is created by soaking raw almonds in water, then grinding them finely and cooking them with lemon and herbs. Chef Rene finishes the almond cheese in a food dryer, which “gives it a little crust on the outside that contrasts with the inside, where a bit of the grain and texture from the almonds remains.” Once finished, the (dairy-free) almond cheese has a consistency similar to goat cheese, with enhanced texture from the outside crust and ground almonds. To read Chef Rene’s interview with Restaurant Business in its entirety, click here.
 
Ready for almond inspiration right now? Download our beautiful recipe booklet here and have fun experimenting with almonds in all of their forms and functions.