Friday, August 14, 2015

Dairy Foods Innovations: Flavor Trends for Frozen Desserts. Expect the Unexpected at the International Dairy Show

Photo source: SensoryEffects 

It’s less than five weeks until the International Dairy Show takes place in Chicago (September 15 to 18). Today’s blog sponsor—SensoryEffects—will be exhibiting at booth 8230. SensoryEffects is also sponsoring the Daily Dose of Dairy Live! presentation on Friday, Sept. 18, from 10:00am to 10:30am on the show floor. The topic is Innovations in Milk and Dairy Beverages. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend. At the Dairy Show, SensoryEffects will be showcasing its extensive range of innovative flavor systems for all types of dairy foods, in particular refrigerated and frozen desserts, as well as milk, yogurt and dairy beverages, including an economical egg replacement system for the approaching holiday nog season. The company showcased a number of these concepts at the recent Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and expo, which was also in Chicago. Read more about the prototypes HERE.

Sherman’s Dairy Bar is an ice cream destination for summer-time vacationers in southwest Michigan. Located in South Haven, MI, about two miles from the shores of Lake Michigan, Sherman’s hand makes small batches of more than 70 flavors of ice cream in the facility adjacent to the ice cream parlor. 

During peak business hours, ice cream aficionados have been known to wait in line for more than an hour, with that line lasting for hours on end. To avoid the congestion, I waited for a cloudless day with beach-perfect 80 degree weather to visit when the doors opened at 11:00am. I had to experience Sherman’s. (My 13-year-old son accompanied me. Not having had breakfast yet, he declared his double scoop of chocolate the best brunch ever.)

Sherman’s is more than just fresh, local and small batch. It’s about flavors and ingredients that speak to the community. Of course, vanilla and chocolate, as well as the usual chip, nutty and rocky varieties are big sellers, but what many patrons come for are the localized offerings. 

Blueberries, cherries and peaches grow abundant in the area, making frozen treats such as Amaretto Cherry Amour, Black Cherry, Blueberry Cheesecake and Peach & Cream big hits. There’s also a Chocolate-Covered Cherry going by the name of Lindy Lou, celebrating the same-named electric-powered river boat that launches from the nearby Maritime Museum.

Every year the company introduces a couple of new flavors, according to Bob Eisenman, owner since 1988. The dairy itself has been in existence since 1916. The company comes up with new flavors using the help of flavor ingredient companies, often times working with more than one to create a special recipe. “Inclusions are popular. People like lots of ingredients,” he said.

“Some of our more complex flavors include Chocolate Malt Supreme, which is chocolate malt chips in a chocolate malt ice cream rippled with chocolate fudge, and Grasshopper, which is mint-based ice cream swirled with chocolate cookie fudge,” he said. Amaretto Cherry Amour is pretty special, too. “It is amaretto-flavored ice cream with red maraschino cherry pieces swirled with thick fudge.”

Sherman’s sells packaged product for at-home consumption in the scoop shop. The company also distributes its specialties to numerous restaurants and foodservice establishments throughout southwest Michigan, northwest Indiana and even Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. 
To read more about Sherman’s, link HERE.

Connecting with consumers is truly key with a product like ice cream, in particular local brands sold via foodservice or retail.

For summer 2015, Velvet Ice Cream rolled out two new flavors to retail and for sale at Velvet’s Ye Olde Mill. Summertime Peach boasts a blend of fresh peach ice cream with juicy chunks of real peaches. Buckeye Brownie is a new twist on one of Velvet Ice Cream’s top-sellers, Buckeye Classic. Slightly salty peanut butter ice cream is swirled with chunks of creamy peanut butter and gooey brownie pieces.  Beyond its Buckeye confection inspiration, the name pays homage to Velvet’s home state of Ohio and the company’s support of the National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes. For more information, link HERE

Locally produced Ice cream get wild back at home in Chicago. 

Angelo Quercia, owner of Angelo Gelato Italiano, Franklin Park, IL, explains how he makes gelato the way he learned from his grandfather years ago in Naples, Italy, just today he uses many of the same authentic ingredients but with modern-day flavorful twists. Melding the familiar with the unexpected, that’s his contemporary approach to flavoring gelato.

“I can create any flavor that the customer desires,” says Quercia, whose Chocolate Bacon Gelato is among his top sellers. “Most importantly, our customers appreciate that we offer exclusive proprietary flavors for any retail store or restaurant that wants something that is truly their own. My team of food chemists and culinary experts love rising to the challenge of creating the most extraordinary flavors.”

Recent gelato innovations include Honey Lavender, Caramel Swirl with Cheese Popcorn, Raspberry Cream Cheese, Guinness Beer and Sparkling Champagne.

An approach the company took this summer was to add a savory twist to sweet gelato flavors. Innovations include Avocado with Lime Zest, Sweet Peach with Fennel, and Sweet Summer Corn with Salt and Pepper.

To read more about adding savory twists to dairy foods, including the increasingly popular trend of melding heat with sweet, link HERE to an article I recently wrote for Food Business News entitled “Flavorful twists add spice to dairy.”

In addition to heat from peppers, heat can come from spices such as cinnamon. Another growing trend is the use of alcohol beverage flavors.

Whereas some restaurant chefs and even packaged ice cream manufacturers use real liquor, others rely on denatured, reduced or concentrated alcohol ingredients, or even premium alcohol extract flavors. That’s because state regulations limit how much alcohol can be used to formulate packaged foods. Further, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives requires special taxes to be paid on alcohol, as well as have food formulas approved. And when you buy real alcohol, you pay alcohol tax, which can add up.

In addition, there’s the impact the alcohol has on freezing point, which impacts finished product quality. That has not stopped some players from creating frozen treats that require proof of being 21-or-older.

Intoxicating innovations were unveiled by several ice cream brands at the Summer Fancy Food Show, according to fellow Food Business News Editor Monica Watrous. You can view a slide show of intoxicating food and beverage innovations HERE.

New York City’s Tipsy Scoop makes liquor-infused ice cream inspired by cocktails. Containing 5% alcohol by volume, flavors include Dark Chocolate Whiskey and Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean Bourbon and Hot Buttered Rum. For more information, link HERE.

In the States, the original wine ice cream comes from Mercer’s Dairy. This premium product line is 15% butterfat with 5% alcohol by volume. From red to white and blush to sparkling, there’s a flavor for everyone. Flavors include Cherry Merlot (Bordeaux cherries blended with ice cream and a merlot wine recognized for its plum and black cherry undertones), Chocolate Cabernet (chocolate ice cream with bits of bittersweet chocolate blended with a Cabernet wine filled with dried cherry and cassis notes), Peach White Zinfandel (ice cream with fresh peaches blended with white zinfandel wine), Port (ice cream blended with ruby port wine), Red Raspberry Chardonnay (ice cream blended with raspberry sauce and a Chardonnay wine known for its delicate vanilla notes and buttery smooth taste, Riesling (ice cream blended with a Riesling wine prized for its fruity, crisp refreshing quality), Spice (ice cream blended with fragrant red mulled wine known for its moderate sweetness balanced with the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove) and Strawberry Sparkling (ice cream blended with a sweet sparkling wine and ribbons of sparkling strawberries). For more information, link HERE.

Via Brasil Steakhouse takes fruits and homemade ice cream and infuses them with hard liquor. Three flavors rolled out this summer. They are:
  • Pina Colada: ice cream with fresh-ripened pineapple infused with Stoli Vanilla and Malibu Rum
  • Midori Sour: ice cream with fresh lemon infused with Midori Melon Liqueur
  • Frangelico Vanilla: simply homemade vanilla ice cream infused with Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
For more information, link HERE.

For all ages, L.A. Creamery Artisan Ice Cream introduced a new flavor called Manhattan. It features brown butter toffee and Rittenhouse rye whiskey ice cream with Bing cherries. For more information, link HERE.

Extraordinary flavor is what today’s consumers desire, in particular Millennials who crave adventure. As the U.S. becomes a more diverse society, ice cream formulators are wise to explore unusual ingredient combinations. Think chocolate with citrus, strawberry with basil and berries with booze.

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