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Chef's Notes

Bold + Sweet


A reimagined sweetness has entered the party, and we are here for it. Today’s consumers are seeking dual flavor experiences: over the last year, there have been 57.6k mentions of ‘Sweet & Spicy’ across US & Canadian social media platforms.* Go beyond familiar sweet and savory flavors with the unexpected boldness of sweet plus spiced, spicy or smoky notes. Explore citrus fruits, vinegars, and other tart flavors for a more sophisticated take on sweet and sour.

*Social listening via the following channels: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Feb 2021-Jan 2022

The Taste:

The beloved marriage of savory and sweet can enter new dimensions, by pairing sweet elements with smoke, spices, and spicy. Smoke delivers penetrating flavor and aroma. Explore various wood smokes or even charred vegetables or fruits. Consider cumin or coriander for a strong spiced profile to pair with sweet. No longer just about heat, spicy flavor can come from chilies (capsicums), piperine from peppercorns, or even a pungent heat from mustard, horseradish, and ginger. 


Sweet and tart have co-existed forever. (Yes, we’re suddenly craving our favorite childhood gummy “insert any shape here” candies too.) But in the evolution of this flavor duo, we’re celebrating sweet and tangy, zesty, and fruity sourness reaching new formats. From drinks to appetizers, main dishes, and vinegars, we’re open to it all.


The following chef creations offer inspiration for bold + sweet blends.

 Plus Heat

Spicy & Sour + Sweet

Chapman is a classic Nigerian cocktail made with lime and orange soda, grenadine, Angostura bitter, cucumber, and lime. Our culinary team created a version with a spicy twist by using Cayenne Pepper. The resulting profile is nostalgic thanks to the orange pop with spicy capsicum notes and a burst of sour.


Try our Spicy Chapman recipe.                         


The combination of spicy, sour, and sweet can come to life in beverages, baked goods, meals and beyond. Consider a blood orange and black pepper marinade for proteins. Or deliver the fresh, fruity heat of an aji Amarillo chili with tamarind and tart cherry in cocktails or desserts.

Plus Heat

Spicy & Sour + Sweet

You may have noticed corn ribs popping up on social media and on restaurant menus due to the plant-based movement. Research Chef, Ian Craddock of the UK created a vegetarian take on sticky ribs that features charred corn coated in a sweet sticky glaze and rich umami-driven butter. It is finished with crunchy, smoked paprika pumpkin seeds and a spicy citrus coconut yogurt sauce. The profile is a perfect example of a layered, complex taste experience that balances smoky, umami, spicy, and sweet.


Try out Corn Ribs with Maple Glaze and Miso Butter recipe.


There are many ways to blend these bolds flavors with sweet. The slightly smoky guajillo chili adds spicy complexity to chocolate (think ice cream to a fun cocoa meat rub). Super umami Japanese furikake seasoning blends sesame, salt, bonito flakes and nori. Add it to kettle corn for an unexpected twist.


Feeling inspired? To learn more about the future of flavor, contact your McCormick account representative or contact us today.