Dairy specialties such as yogurt based smoothies and milkshakes, premium ice cream, and artisan cheeses enrich many a restaurant menu. Beyond that, dairy products suit the way consumers eat today.
Here are some of the cheese-friendly food trends that the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board has identified for 2004:
- Low-Carb Diets: With more than 10 million Americans embracing the low-carb way of life, cheese is not only great alone, it adds texture and flavor to a variety of other high-protein menu items.
- Sandwich Specialties: Create signatures by adding cheeses such as smoked Cheddar, Gorgonzola, or aged Provolone.
- Flavorful Flights: Enhance your restaurant's cheese course by offering cheese flights featuring cheeses of the same variety but from different regions, of different ages, or of different milk types. For instance, consider showcasing a selection of soft-ripened cheeses like Camembert, Brie, and artisan varieties.
- Washed-Rind Cheeses: The classics include Gruyere, Muenster, Brick and Fontina. The innovative newcomers to the category include a host of cheeses featuring rinds washed and rubbed with such diverse ingredients as cumin, smoked paprika, cocoa, cinnamon and coriander.
- Ethnic Specialties: While Italian-style cheeses such as Provolone are firmly established, Hispanic-style cheeses are gaining new fans. These cheeses include Asadero, Queso Fresco, Cotija, Queso Quesadilla and Anejo Enchilado.
- New Flavor Profiles: Flavored cheeses¯such as Horseradish and Chive Havarti, Smoked Gouda with garlic, or Cheddar with Pinot Grigio¯offer customers a new taste experience.
- Making the Most of Mascarpone: The traditional Italian-style dessert cheese used in cannoli and tiramisu is now adding richness to soups, sauces and appetizers as well. It's a versatile flavor base, too, when combined with ginger, citrus, chocolate or fresh herbs.