Bell Flavors and Fragrances hosted its Flavorology® event on Friday, May 18th at the Chopping Block located in downtown Chicago, Illinois inside the Merchandise Mart. Flavorology® is a gathering of Bell’s R&D, application specialists, industry chefs and key customers, to educate and communicate new technologies and flavor concepts so Bell’s customers can be successful in delivering market-leading products.
Each year, Flavorology® brings the newest flavors and technology trends together that are inspired by Bell’s Spark® trends program. Industry-renowned chefs also compete in a chef challenge similar to “Iron-Chef” with creative cuisines and flavors inspired from Bell’s trends while featuring Bell’s flavors.
Bell’s Spark® program is the insider resource for up-and-coming consumer trends and flavor inspirations that contain the power to ignite the creativity for key customers. Bell’s unique trend process uncovers new “sparks” that will inspire new flavor creations that will develop into winning concepts. This year, Flavorology® proudly featured six overall trends that showcased products inspired by Spark®.
This year, Flavorology® set out to make what’s good for you (actually) fun to eat by exploring healthy-ish alternatives and flavor enhancers that create well-balanced and tasty dishes. These trending products included Japanese milk bread with fresh fruit and sakura pear sweetened condensed milk; Togarashi chashu “pork” bowl; Watermelon cucumber fruit and veggie juice; and elderberry soda.
Another table took customers on an unexpected journey with a pinch of wit, a dash of mystery, and a splash or two of perfectly crafted execution. These elements of surprise are what keep us coming back for more within this trend. Exciting global flavors paired with everyday favorites are creating a new flavor party for all adventurous palates to enjoy. Bell’s Unexpected trend features Za’atar Sunday gravy meatball sliders; Savory sweet potato pie; Mango chili limeade; and Smoked pickle margarita.
Then, customers took a “wok” through the provinces as they discovered the robust culinary repertoire of China’s eight food regions and their palate-tickling diversity – it’s not just about crab rangoon and fried rice anymore! This trend featured flavorful prototypes such as Chinese plum herbal black tea; Chinese churro with ginger hot fudge; Huaidian smoked lamb bao; and Lychee black tea and bourbon cocktail with Sichuan peppercorn – the signature drink which was served at the bar.
Guest were then greeted to the Outdoor Social trend, where the smell of fried churros, food-truck tacos, and freshly poured beer is enjoyed everywhere – especially when that “place” is outside surrounded by friends and strangers that will shortly become your friends. Some of the delightful finger-licking yummies within this trend include the Tilt-A Whirl cone featuring coleslaw ice cream, Carolina BBQ caramel sauce, and a BBQ pork waffle cone; Peach thyme lemonade; and a Cotton candy flavored beverage.
Bell’s Longitute/Latitude trend takes us on a flavorful expedition to imaginary lines across the globe that create a grid of exploration and intrigue. This grid pinpoints intersections of the world that are known for very specific ingredients, which are now being introduced on menus and for at-home chefs everywhere. Guests were able to take their tastebuds around the world with flavors like Yuzu honey green tea; Matcha latte flavored cream liqueur; Thai papaya salad; and Wild Canadian sundae.
Taste buds were touched by the Mediterranean as guests journeyed through the Northern coast of the vast Mediterranean Sea, filled with an abundance of fresh seafood, various citrus fruits, craft-liquors, cheeses, and seasonings reigning from this region. Some of these new flavorful pieces included Limoncello cannoli; Morrocan cigars with green s’hug and muhamara; Greek lantern; and Sangria.
Chef Christopher Warsow, Bell’s Corporate Executive Chef and Manager of Culinary Applications, comments on the event. “Bell’s innovative flavors that were presented this year were extensively researched by our Culinary Team to ensure authenticity and superior taste. Our team searches the world for extraordinary gold standard recipes to create and then analyze. It is a great methodology to generate outstanding flavors in collaboration with our very talented flavorists. My recent trip to 5 provinces in China was instrumental in creating our Regional Chinese flavors. We take these incredible steps in the creation of all of our flavors.“
Guests gathered into the adjoining room for the Chef Competition, which provided even more delicious items using Bell’s flavors and technologies. Industry chef teams were challenged to create innovative and tasty offerings from cuisines that span the globe. Each team is tasked with the same 12 Bell flavors and is judged based on creativity, use of flavors, and showmanship by Flavorology® attendees.
Team Vienna Beef included the creative chefs Tamara Klincewicz and Jaime Mestan as they let their flavor freedom reign with #Merica Dog featuring a natural casing, beer, bacon, an d Aleppo pepper in a pretzel roll with summer salsa; a Freedom Float with Ras el hanout, bourbon barrel stout, and star-spangled sprinkes in a waffle cone; and a Preserved Lemonade with hibiscus, watermelon, and cucumber vodka.
The Blount Fine Foods chefs team of Thomas Gervasi, Jeff Wirtz, and Clayton Burrows excited guests with a Ginger Hibiscus spiked lemonade; Seared Halibut with sweet corn bouillon; Black and white doubanjiang barley; and a Waffle cone butterscotch custard.
Team Midas brought their flavor game with Chefs Jerry McDonald, Jessica Wainwright, Lynn Madsen, and Patricia Cook. Guests slurped up a Tang Lava Lamps made with tangy pineapple orange juice with edible glitter, vodka, and hibiscus spheres, topped with preserved lemon flavored cream foam, and served with an enlightened stir. Then they tasted a Tuna Noodle Casserole made with lettuce, Tokyo scallions, and red bell pepper dressed in Bonito bang-bang sauce, topped with Hunan chili and sesame soy seasoned tuna tartare, and Doubanjiang and Kimchi potato dusted fried Chow Mein noodles. Pigs on the blanket were also served, featuring a Cola braised crispy pork belly seasoned with Bell’s Ras al Hanout flavored 5-spice seasoning, with Amber ale caramelized onion jam and Cidre de glace and Aleppo pepper flavored Kalbi sauce atop a curry leaf and sweet corn flavored cornbread crostini, with edible flowers. Mouths watered with Fondue-a-delic – inverted fondue – made with Gruyere cheesecake cookie dough served on a fondue fork with Butterscotch and waffle cone granolas for dipping in a mini crock. Finally, guests snacked on Jiffy Unpopped Corn made with freeze dried super sweet corn kernels seasoned with Szechuan pepper and buttered popcorn kettle seasoning in a mini air-popper container.
“Bell’s Spark trend program not only looks at trends that are maturing the market, we also expose trends that will hit 2-5 years down the road making this an intricate trend program for all of our customers,” said Kelli Heinz, Vice President of Marketing. “Our Spark trends have become an industry benchmark as to what is up and coming for all flavor application developments and we look forward to partnering with our customers to make their product the next flavored craze for consumers.” Kelli Heinz, Vice President of Marketing.
Bell Flavors & Fragrances is a family-run business, growing on an ever-expanding global scale and providing superior quality and excellent customer service. This remains to be the heart and soul of the company, and is the “Bell Way” of doing business. With over 100 years of industry experience, Bell’s deep passion is to create products that captivate the world’s taste buds and stimulate the senses. This passion was instilled by Bell’s founder William M. Bell, and continues today.