What is familiar? What is new? Everything seems to be confusing this year. Things are going south. But the traditional ways of celebrating and rejoicing do not have to be lost behind. While we do not know whether we can celebrate with our loved ones as the months pass by, it can be certainly interesting to change how we look at our vacation plans.  

Although dramatic trends have arisen during the pandemic such as bread-making, heritage cooking, exotic cooking — closer observations indicate that newer and more adventurous flavours and tastes were incorporated in food products too. More people have tried to embrace the tropical and botanical world of flavours in food. While there are familiar flavours we know of, in things like the herbal teas we consume or the fruit salads we gorge on to maintain our weight, there has certainly been an explosion of newer market trends which highlight the flavour in a new way. 

 

During the pandemic, the way we perceive food changed. This has given an opportunity for brands to pave way for something different. More specifically, brands are introducing people to easy, appealing and comforting food from another state, and from beyond the Indian subcontinent, that also have tropical or botanical flavours. Anything that is different from usual can grab eyeballs. What is set to happen is that food and drink which was lesser known will be given a place on the grocery aisles or restaurant menus, which remind customers of distant lands. Mango-chilli mojito, you say? Check out the range of drinks in your supermarket’s app, and you may get to ‘travel’ virtually to Konkan Coast’ by buying the mojito. The interesting flavour may remind you of eating pungent mango-chilli sauce and pakoras. Or, have you been thinking a lot about the perfectly tangy imli dip perfected in Varanasi, though served alongside chaat? But would you like to taste it in a sandwich and revel in the memory of that day spent wandering the streets of Varanasi? Maybe there is a drink or sauce for that. Hotels and restaurants are launching gourmet menus to allow customers to sample dishes with tropical and botanical flavours from every nook and corner of the world.   

We will also see the exploration of other people’s ethnic cuisine. So perhaps there is a sushi cake, which you may want to ask your friends to bring for your birthday. You have missed out on the chance to see Japan this year. But maybe spending the day eating sushi cake is the new way to travel. Sushi cake is not a tropical offering per se, but the colours and the use of an array of ingredients do make your heart full, doesn’t it?