Seasonal Flavors Around the World
By Mindy Dang
As the weather gets colder in the United States and people pull out their autumn seasonal decor, many Americans shiver in anticipation of the infamous pumpkin spice latte. Pumpkin spice is a traditional flavor that encompasses everything fall in the United States. Since its growth in popularity, thanks to Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, many foods, and drink companies have monopolized on the flavor, incorporating it into their products in any way possible. The flavor can now be found in creme-filled cookies, beers, and even mac and cheese. Pumpkin spice has become such a huge part of the fall experience that many people in the United States will not admit the season has come until the scrumptious flavor hits their taste buds.
If pumpkin spice signals the start of fall in America, what flavors complete the fall experience in other parts of the globe?
Canada: As the largest maple syrup producer in the world, and the maple leaf the symbol on their national flag, it only makes sense that the deliciously smooth syrup is desired. With fall being prime time for maple syrup harvesting it only makes sense that it would be put on anything. This delicious flavor can be put in coffee, on ice cream, and pancakes of course.
France: Pears are the big fall flavor here, which stems from this traditional fall dessert: the french pear clafoutis that many bakeries make during fall. This delicious dessert combines the sweet taste of soft pears, with a custard base. Along with the clafoutis, many french bakeries make other tasty desserts such as the pear Tarte Tati, a classic tart that is made much like an upside-down cake, and the pear Belle Hellen, which is essentially poached pears with a yummy chocolate sauce. The french pear flavor can also be found in Saint Siffrein gourmet jellies.
Japan: During the fall, many street vendors sell the delicious dish titled yaki-imo, which is simply a roasted Japanese sweet potato that many people like to enjoy as a snack. The Japanese sweet potato is much sweeter than the American sweet potato. According to Justonecookbook, the Japanese sweet potato has a nuttier flavor and its texture is much drier. Japan also enjoys this sweet potato in a candied form often referred to as Daigaku Imo. These candied sweet potatoes are deep-fried and then covered in a hard sugar coating.
Australia: Apple is a huge fall flavor here, it can be found in apple pies, candies, and even apple tarts. But among all the different apple recipes a huge Australian staple is stuffed baked apples. These apples are hollowed out; stuffed with a delicious mixture of pecans, dates, and then baked until soft. They are often served hot with a side of ice cream.
Mexico: In Central Mexico, Chiles are used in many main dishes during the fall. The poblano chile is used to create the national dish chiles en nogada. The poblano chiles are typically stuffed with picadillo and topped with a walnut-based sauce. The flavor of Chiles is also found in a multitude of different candies such as chile-infused chocolate, such as Chamoy: a hardened sugar candy, and chile-infused peach rings.
These are just a few flavors that are used in popular fall dishes in various countries. How interesting that these distinct flavors can bring forth nostalgic thoughts of fall and signal the beginning of a new season. Each flavor is stocked in tradition and is unique to the country it comes from. What signals the change of seasons to a person in one country means nothing to someone from a different country. But as seen by the pumpkin spice craze in the United States, perhaps relying on one flavor to get you in the autumnal mood has been taken too seriously. With companies incorporating the flavor into everything imaginable, the flavor is starting to lose its novelty. As a result, it is overdone and many people are starting to get tired of the flavor. Instead of focusing so much on pumpkin spice maybe people in the United States should turn to different countries to find their next traditional fall flavor. And maybe other countries should start adapting new fall flavors as well. My advice to you is next time you’re feeling festive try making a fall dish from one of the countries listed above.