Yesterday, we pointed out how research has given primary importance on new flavors in restaurant dishes for brand differentiation (scroll down to read the article). Today we will still talk about flavors, highlighting on mint, and how it has become a perennial favorite during winter holidays among restaurants.
Many think that this aromatic, refreshing and cool flavor is apt for use only during summer. But surprisingly, mint turns out to be at its best during the holidays, too, as restaurants exploit the use of mint in their menus and menu holders’ main entrees, beverages and desserts this season.
Take IHOP for example, when they featured their White Chocolate Chip Mint Pancakes as part of this year’s holiday offering. Chick-fil-A, too, has its Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake which is now on its third year as one of the chain’s holiday specials; and McDonald’s recently introduced its first time holiday McCafe drinks Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Mocha.
McDonald’s see the importance of adding new and innovative beverage options to consumers, and they see mint as one of the best ways to start off. “Beverages now comprise 20% of U.S. McDonald’s sales, and we see the need to infuse fresh and unique flavors to our beverages and our menu,” said McCafe’s marketing director for McDonald’s USA Marta Fearon.
“As we introduce the decadent taste of Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Mocha, we are confident that our customers will experience another savory taste from McDonald’s this holiday season,” she added.
Dunkin’ Donuts have also come up with their own, with their Peppermint Mocha Coffee and Latte. Anaheim, Calif.-based Yogurtland gave its old time favorite Snowflake Mint flavor a comeback.
As for desserts, New York City’s De Santos lusciously cooked-up dribbling peppermint syrup on top of an array of various berries, which then are coated with mascarpone cheese, then browned in the oven. Dennis Marron, a new chef at Poste Moderne Brasserie in Washington, D.C., serves Chocolate-mint Torte alongside Crème Fraiche Blood Orange Ice Cream to his holiday diners.
Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen, located in San Francisco, recently included Chocolate Profiteroles with Hot Fudge Fondue and Peppermint Mousse to their menus and menu holders’ specialties this yuletide season. And Salt & Straw, a Portland, Ore.-based ice cream store, has spun mint from a seasonal flavor to a local one, having used Oregon mint oil that’s available at the local market in their Peppermint Cocoa Ice Cream.
And it turns out that mint is perfect for savory main dishes, too, as it goes with chicken, fish, lamb, shrimp and all others.
La Sandia Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar in Santa Monica, Calif. offers Chicken Posole served with Serrano chilies, tomatillos and mint; while Binna Osteria in Boston serves Roasted Sardines accompanied with root vegetable condiment giardiniera, mint, hot peppers and breadcrumbs.
Los Angeles-based Culina goes for lamb, as it features slow-cooked lamb ragu served with taggiasche olives, mint and pecorino to its holiday-cheering guests. And Thai shrimp seems to do well with mint, sweet Chile, green onion and cilantro, served with tamarind chutney and mint, as Zengo Denver offered it as holiday cheers to their guests.