FIVE FAVES ENCORE
Flavor guru picks her top tastes for 2019 by
Every year my company, National Flavors, located in Kalamazoo, develops
hundreds of new flavors for the packaged food and beverage industry. Consumer preferences vary — represented by the flavors you see in each aisle of the grocery store — but I prefer these flavors:
Birthday cake flavor My love affair with birthday cake flavor echoes my fondness for vacation flavors. Birthdays conjure up memories of fun gatherings with friends and family, candles and presents. Birthdays usually include a light, fluffy vanilla or chocolate cake topped with sweet frosting and, if you’re lucky, confetti candies. Birthday cake flavor has taken over the grocery store — it’s in yogurt, bubblegum, popcorn, vodka, ice cream and protein powders. Now I can celebrate my birthday every day and manage my weight at the same time, getting the great taste of birthday cake without the carbs, sugar or fat of real cake.
Bourbon and whiskey flavors These
dark, grainbased flavors are often described as sweet at first taste. But the blend of grains and variations in the fermenting process create sweetness that can taste like vanilla, caramel, custard, butterscotch, maple, honey or chocolate. Since bourbons and whiskeys are aged in charred oak barrels, the sweetness often has a woody or smoky flavor. Bourbon and whiskey flavors are now spilling into foods, adding a sophisticated twist to meats, pie fillings, sauces and snack nuts. My all-time favorite use of bourbon and whiskey flavors is in luscious bourbon butter pecan ice cream. The distinctive flavor and smooth creaminess of this ice cream and the sweet crunch of nuts are simply wonderful. 14 | ENCORE MARCH 2019
Flavors that evoke great vacation memories The taste of a food or beverage can transport you back in time, making flavor and memories go together. Often a certain aroma will evoke a specific place or event in your life. When I smell mothballs, for example, I remember my nanny’s house, specifically the closet in her guest room. My favorite vacation flavor is Tropical Mango because it reminds me of traveling to Mexico and Latin America. The complex flavor of mango tastes like a peach, apricot, melon and nectarine, with a little citrus and honey too. The blend of flavors delivers a more intense taste than any one of these fruits on its own. For me, mango flavor is linked with a poolside cocktail on a sunny afternoon. Sometimes it carries memories of brain freezes or hangovers, too, but in a happy way.