As the population becomes more and more multicultural, so do the foods people eat. In fact, according to Technomic’s 2018 Ethnic Food & Beverage Consumer Trend Report, 24% of consumers overall—and 35% of those ages 18- to 34-years old—say they are eating more unique types of ethnic foods and beverages now than they did two years ago. Consumers say they are eating more ethnic food for a range of reasons, including that they wanted to try new flavors/flavor combinations (46%), they’ve become more adventurous in what they eat (37%) and because a wider variety of unique or less mainstream ethnic restaurants has become available (26%).
For operators that want to add authentic flavors, using authentic ingredients is key. For instance, using California Hispanic-style cheeses and dairy products helps enhance the flavor of Latin-inspired dishes and more.
Why California Hispanic-style cheeses?
California Hispanic-style cheeses are perfect for adding authentic flavor and rich taste to Latin-inspired dishes. And authentic taste is crucial—49% of consumers say that the food tasting authentic is the most important factor in deciding where to visit for ethnic foods and beverages, according to Technomic’s Ethnic Food & Beverage report.
Restaurants can add California Hispanic-style cheeses to an array of dishes. Asadero cheese, similar to provolone, is melty with a tangy taste and firm texture, is great for quesadillas and nachos, as well as sandwiches or burgers.
Cotija cheese, a crumbly cheese similar to feta, adds delicious, salty richness to an array of menu items, from enchiladas to tacos to Mexican street corn, a popular side dish and snack.
Other California Hispanic-style cheeses chefs can use in their kitchens include Manchego, which is great for a cheese board or charcuterie plate in addition to Latin dishes; Oaxaca cheese, ideal for any dish where stretchy, melty cheese is called for; and queso fresco, a creamy, mild cheese great in salads and other dishes.
A protein boost
Beyond authentic, indulgent flavor, California Hispanic-style cheeses add a boost of protein to whatever dish they’re used in. And with today’s consumers being increasingly interested in foods rich in protein, that’s a great bonus. Use these cheeses as salad toppings, pizza toppings, mix-ins for omelets and so much more to add unique flavor as well as fuel for diners’ busy days.
Get menu inspiration
Outside of classic menu options that typically feature California Hispanic-style cheeses, restaurant operators can get inspiration from the California Milk Advisory Board’s REAL Makers campaign, which spotlights chefs around the country who use California cheese and dairy products in original, creative ways. For example, at Alta Calidad in Brooklyn, New York, chef Akhtar Nawab menus a Pumpkin Blossom “Reverse Quesadilla” on the menu, which features a unique blend of crema, Oaxaca cheese and other ingredients atop pumpkin blossom-filled tortillas.
Another interesting dish that highlights California Hispanic-style dairy comes from The Tasting Room in Houston, Texas. There, chef Brandi Key serves a “Stuffed” Mexican Pizza, with a “crust” of refried beans and jalapeno peppers between two tortillas, topped with a roasted tomato sauce, Oaxaca cheese, Roma tomatoes and more jalapenos, then garnished with green onions and cotija cheese.
Serving up authentic Latin-inspired flavor is easy with the right ingredients—and with California Hispanic-style cheeses from Real California Milk, operators have everything they need to create craveworthy dishes across the menu.
This post is sponsored by California Milk Advisory Board