Bell Flavors and Fragrances hosted its Flavorology® event on Friday, May 19, at the Chopping Block located in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Flavorology® is a gathering of Bell’s R&D, application specialists, industry chefs and key customers. The goal is to educate and communicate new technologies and flavor concepts so Bell’s customers can be successful in delivering market-leading products.

Inspired by Bell’s Spark® trend program, Flavorology® 2017 brought the newest flavor and technology trends together throughout the evening. Then industry-renowned chefs competed in a chef challenge similar to “Iron-Chef,” by creating new and innovative cuisines sparked from Bell’s trend program Spark® and featuring Bell flavors. 

Bell’s Spark® program is the insider resource for up-and-coming consumer trends and flavor inspirations that contain the power to excite, enliven, and invigorate the creativity for key customers. Bell’s unique trend process uncovers new “sparks” that will inspire and stir creativity into winning concepts. This year, Flavorology® proudly featured six overall trends that showcased products inspired by Spark® that use Bell’s flavors and technologies. 

This year, Flavorology® gave customers a taste of the islands as we went island hopping through Polynesia. With unexpected combinations pulled from the sea and plucked from the vine, the islands are quickly becoming the tastemakers for fresh, clean fare, creating an exciting getaway for taste buds seeking a far-flung twist. These trending products included a POG smoothie, Piscola, Kona Coffee Liqueur, Spam Musubi, Shrimp Poke, and Li Hing Mui Truffles. 

Another table took customers “souk searching” through The Arab World trends. As citizens of Arab nations continue to migrate across the world, these delicate, complex, spicy, and surprisingly compatible flavors will begin to find new homes in old dishes, far beyond the walls of ancient Medinas. Bell’s Arab World trend features vegetarian products such as Za’atar Manakeesh, Mint Lebneh, Falafel Hummus, Green S’hug, Turkish Tea, and Qishr.

Another invigorating Spark trend, Late Night Japan, left customers Miso Hungry! Once the lights go down in the city, Japanese cuisine takes on a very eccentric and adventurous flare, especially with builds reigning from the menus of the gastro pub-like izakayas. Late Night Japan treats included Sakura Soda, Ginger Geisha, Okonomiyaki, Coconut Mochi Cake with Sakura Crème Anglaise, and a signature drink of the night – Tokyo Mojito. 

Customers then moved onto the “United Plates of America,” and from sea to dining sea with Spark® trends across the states. Life from state to state has never been more accessible, and regional favorites are finding their way onto menus far from home. With local sourcing and regional food traditions on the rise, it’s time to take the taste of home on a cross-country tour. Bell’s stops along the way included Raspberry Lime Rickey, Boston Cooler, Cherry Flavored Arnold Paula, Shoofly Pie Cookie Bites, and Mini Hot Browns.

It’s time to rise and grind with Bell’s trend to “Sleep in, Brunch out.” Though more picturesque than ever, today’s breakfast favorites aren’t just about looking good, they’re also about giving taste buds a wake-up call. From sweet to savory, the breakfast table is reaching audiences with fresh flavors and all-hours availability. Let’s raise our glasses and give a toast to toast with exciting trends like Spicy Honey, Salted Rosemary Honey Butter, Strawberry Pink Peppercorn Butter, Charred Cherry Tomato Jam, Whipped Avocado Goat Cheese, Bakery Enhancer Rolls, Caraway Rye Bread, Belgian Waffles, Mango Bloody Mary, and Kimchi Bloody Mary. 

Testing testing 1,2,3! Bell’s 2017 Spark® trends wouldn’t be complete without innovative testing. Earth, Wind, Water, Fire. Welcome to the elements of Test Kitchen. In this kitchen, there are no culinary school guidelines, just chefs (professionally trained and those not even close) bringing fresh ideas, modern and old-world techniques, and a globally influenced pantry out to play. Some of these new creative pieces include “Smoked” Salmon Toast Bites, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Smoked Vanilla Pudding, Port Barrel Aged Gin, and a second signature drink of the night – Apple Rum Old Fashioned with Smoke Flavored Ice Cubes.

“Many newly created flavors from our Spark® Program were presented in a combination of traditional to very contemporary food items,” said Bell’s Chef Christopher Warsow. “Everything from Osaka Style Okonomiyaki to a falafel spiced humus. We also highlighted several new technologies, including a natural flavor that enhances the sweetness of products without adding any additional sugar. It is labeled as natural flavor at its recommended usage and can reduce added sugar in some products by as much as 50%.”

The evening provided guests even more tasty items when the chef challenge event began. This is similar to an “Iron Chef” episode as four teams competed with each other to create contemporary cutting edge dishes featuring an innovative use of Bell’s flavors.

The results were as follows:

First place for the chef competition went to Team Midas Foods with Chef Jerry McDonald, Chef Jessica Wainwright, Chef Pat Cook, and Lynn Madsen. They showcased a fun “Just Kidding” theme to take guest’s taste buds to some new concepts with a blast from the past. They creatively used 11 of the 12 flavors in creative applications such as sparkling sangria fruit punch, togarashi spiced tuna poke tacos, shawarma confit chicken nuggets, campfire s’mores, “sack lunch” which contained sweet honey dew popping candy, and “a day at the fair” fragrance to finish.

The Kemps/McDonald’s team of Chef Logan Julstrom and Chef Mike Lingo excited guests with a delicious Smoked Zombie, followed by seared scallops with a za’atar bean salad, black vinegar vegetable slaw, and togarashi mayo; spicy lutefisk rolls with house made ricotta and avocado salsa, and honey melon pavlova with fig and goat cheese.

Blount Fine Foods was represented by Chef Jeff Wirtz, Chef Benjamin Murray, and Chef Thomas Gervasi. They cooked up a storm with honey melon with black vinegar sauce, chicken yakitori, lamb kebob, nigella forbidden rice, smoked vanilla sake shooters, and refreshing sumac lemonade.

The Diversified Foods and Seasonings team of Chef Alfred Castro and Chef Paul Rockwell took attendees on an adventure with eastern Mediterranean salad with za’atar lemon honey vinaigrette, thai coconut shrimp bisque, and deconstructed curried shrimp bahn mi garnished with fresh cilantro, cucumber and jalapeno.

“Bell’s Spark® trend program has evolved over the years to become a dynamic program that analyzes different data points and generates trend insight for flavor and fragrance predictions and concepts,” said Kelli Heinz, Director of Marketing & Industry Affairs. “We were excited to ‘spark’ our customers’ interests at this year’s Flavorology® event with Bell’s latest R&D concepts and innovations supporting Bell’s 2017 Spark® trends.” 

Bell Flavors and Fragrances, Inc. is a leader in the flavor and fragrance industry. With eleven manufacturing plants across the globe, as well as over 40 sales offices around the world, Bell has the ability to create the flavor, fragrance, or botanical for any application. 

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