It’s in full bloom, and customers are craving cool. Here’s inspiration to give them what they want.
Soup & Salad
Nothing is more refreshing than chilled soup teamed with crisp green salad. Classic vichysssoise, cucumber or beet—today, with more base options than heavy cream—is simple to make and spoons up deliciously, too. Other taste sensations include zucchini with crème fraiche, peas with mascarpone whipped into chicken broth, and carrot with Greek yogourt and a dash of harissa,
the trendy Middle Eastern spice blend. And remember the delightful possibilities of cold fruit soups: e.g., strawberry or blueberry with yogourt and a dash of nutmeg.
For the salad, tucking in a few bitter greens is very much of-the-moment. Try radicchio, arugula, mustard, endive or frisée—even sharp-tasting dandelion greens.
It’s a great time for kebobs! A good way to use up both protein and produce—and offer exciting specials, too. Present artful combinations of seafood or red meats with vegetables. Or let customers mix and match: customization is all the rage with QSR startups and your local burger joint. Rubs and glazes with a spicy kick add flavour to the protein parts.
Zesty marinades are on trend, too; use citrus juice or premium vinegar as the base, toss in a few herbs and/or spices, and soak everything.
The gourmet burger boom shows no sign of stopping—and there’s no end of toppings. From trendy kimchee to ketchup with a kick of balsamic vinegar, condiments bring much of the appeal. Then there’s mayo—call it aioli if you want to advertise the upscale aspect. Combined with flavoured vinegars, smoothed with truffle oil, even spiked with jalapeño or other peppers, this is a whole new way to get signature style.
Barbecue sauces zapped with piquant chipotle peppers or sriracha. Spicier mustards for burgers, franks and sausage sandwiches. Prawns with a Creole sauce. Minced jalapeño in the potato salad or coleslaw. Even a touch of cayenne or chili in your chocolate cake or ice cream. There are many ways to bring on the heat that’s so popular with customers right now. Look to ethnic cuisines for ideas, from Korean and Thai to African and Caribbean; you’ll see spices, peppers, and people happily fanning themselves no matter what the weather.
On Trend: Salad Sprinkles
- Spiced sunflower seeds
- Smoked almonds
- Cumin-spiked croutons
- Oat crisps
- Fruit smoothies: citrus, berries, or lean & green, e.g., spinach
- Lemonade: with basil, mint, or berry syrup
- Iced teas: e.g., mango-ginger, green tea w/peaches
- Light ales: Belgians, IPAs, Summer Weiss