Native to Italy, the blood orange has quickly been gaining momentum across U.S. restaurant menus. According to Mintel Menu Insights, blood oranges have become vastly popular on restaurant menus in both food and beverages. The flavor of the blood orange is less acidic than the common table orange, adding a refreshing sweetness to menu items. Its blood-colored flesh and juice make it a vibrant visual addition to any dish.

On the menu, blood oranges are used in a variety of different ways, including in natural and muddled forms. The restaurant Aureole NY serves Caramelized Bosc Pear and House-Made Nutella Panini with pear and ricotta sorbet, and fresh blood orange. Also captured by Mintel Menu Insights, the Blood Orange Cosmo with fresh blood oranges muddled with lime, shaken with house-infused vodka and cranberry is served straight up at Hawthorne Lane.

Foie Gras Faux Pas

Foie grashas been getting a lot of attention in the press lately, due to the controversy behind the cultivation of the duck liver. Chicago has even introduced a ban onfoie gras, challenging local top chefs such as Charlie Trotter to find alternative delicacies. Nonetheless, consumers still love to eat the luxurious, rich dish.

According to Mintel Menu Insights, The Rattlesnake Club serves slow pan-roasted free range duck breast and foie, sliced atop pinot noir risotto, topped with seared foie gras, Parmesan froth and chive essence. Hawthorne Lane serves a sautéed foie gras “PB&J” sandwich, classically made with huckleberry jam and cashew butter on oatmeal whole wheat bread.

The Trouble with Truffles

Mintel Menu Insights has seen an emergence ofhuitlacocheon the menu.Huitlacoche, commonly referred to as “corn smut” or Mexican corn truffle, is a fungus that grows naturally on ears of corn. It is harvested and treated as a delicacy in the region. Its flavor is said to be earthy, smoky and mild, which allows the ingredient to create interesting flavors when blended with cheeses, meats, vegetables and spicy flavors.

Huitlacocheis not above national debate. Many U.S. farmers consider it a corn disease, while it is canned and sold in Mexico. With several national restaurants exploring authentic Mexican dishes and flavors, it has found a new U.S. outlet within the fine dining segment. According to Mintel Menu Insights, chefs of fine dining restaurants are experimenting with the delicacy in authentic Mexican dishes. The Coyote Café serves a Southwestern Garden Sampler with white corn and wild mushroom enchilada, goat cheese tamale and poblano chile relleno with huitlacoche sauce.