Sloppy Joe Vol au Vent - © 2023 McCormicks

Spice Icon Reveals Its Flavour Trend Predictions For 2024

McCormick’s – the grand dame of contemporary spice and herb purveyors – has released its official 2024 Flavour Forecast. And it’s an interesting, eclectic mix of revisited old faves, classic exotics and the ultimate personalized approach to flavour…

Tamarind Tree - © ?The Tamarind Tree – with its trademark pulp-filled pods…

What it is

McCormick’s Flavour Forecast, now in its 24th Edition, describes its role and purpose as: “The answer to cravings observed around the world. This includes an intentional approach to new-age fusion through regional-traditional cooking, the layers of flavor and craveability brought to food and drink through acidic agents, and the thoughtful personalization of indulgence today.”

That’s a proverbial mouthful! But it’s also an energizing, inspiring notion…

‘Sour Power’

That’s what McC’s is calling its endorsement of tart and puckery flavours. “Next-level sour is taking a jump-off from lemon and balsamic acidities and diving into the deep end…”

And Tamarind is front and centre in their array of suggested ingredients. It’s the fruit of the Tamarind tree, native to Africa and naturalized to Asia and the Eastern Pacific. And it’s usually sold as a paste.

Wikipedia tells us: “The […] brown, pod-like fruits […] contain a sweet, tangy pulp, which is used in cuisines around the world. The pulp is also used in traditional medicine and as a metal polish. […] Tamarind’s tender young leaves are used in South Indian and Filipino cuisine. Because tamarind has multiple uses, it is cultivated around the world in tropical and subtropical zones.”

Other ‘sour power’ ingredients mentioned in the Flavour Forecast include: Leche de Tigre (tiger’s milk marinade), calamansi, sour orange and sour plum. Pickled and fermented foods constitute a whole separate category of sour foods.

Dive into the deep end with:

Egg Rolls with Chipotle Tamarind Sauce

Rainbow Carrot and Green Mango Salad

Potato Gnocchi with Sour Pesto

‘Thoughtfully Borrowed’

“Fusion? That’s so 2000,” McCormick’s asserts. “With a new definition of authenticity that encompasses background, heritage, and experience, we see a reinvention of regional-traditional cooking. These conscious cultural combinations pay homage and respect to both roots and backgrounds – celebrating flavor, experience, and cuisine.”

So what does that mean, in practice? ‘Thoughtfully borrowed’ ideas result in recipe suggestions such as:

Japanese Milk Bread Pizza

Bulgogi Empanadas

Churros with Cochujang Dipping Sauce

‘Indulgence Redefined’

Here’s where you get to personalize your ultimate 2024 flavour experience: “A source of pleasure, ritual, and community, indulgence is something to take seriously – and personally. […] It’s all about YOU! With our lived experiences varying from one person to the next, and directly impacting our cravings, bold, exciting, nuanced flavors come in all shapes and forms.”

English translation: “Go nuts!”

Poutine French Dip Sandwich

Sloppy Joe Vol au Vent (See photo, top of page)

Edible Cookie Dough with Fruit Topping

My take

I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Tamarind has been chosen McCormick’s Flavour of the Year! It’s been dramatically under-appreciated in recent years. I’ve long loved it’s unique sweet-tart zing – especially in old fravourite dishes such as Pad Thai and Mei Goreng. There’s no adequate replacement for it in recipes that headline it!

And I’m tickled that McCormick’s – one of the cornerstone spice merchants of the 20th Century – has endorsed re-imagined indulgence as a leading flavour trend for the coming year. They have the right idea, there. We should all be brave enough to make our own rules about what goes with what, based on our unique human experiences!

~ Maggie J.