It’s the fresh-pulled tomato. Or the corn cobs fresh from the grill. And the kabobs with those delicious grill marks. Have you ever noticed that food tastes better when you eat outside?
From June to September, we eat dinner outside as often as possible. But why? Is your meal more delicious just because you’re sitting on the patio? Is it the fresh air? The smell of the grill still lingering? The effect of the setting sun? Or maybe it’s the combination of multiple sensory inputs?
In the summer, we’re lucky we can explore preparation methods usually limited to the colder months. Think: grilled, blackened, marinated, torched, burnt, flame-roasted, smoked, and charred. These descriptors were identified by Givaudan’s Seasons insights tool as a few of the top cooking cues associated with summer.
Culinary cues and menu methods can position a dish to suit any season. Think of apples. If they’re a la mode, it’s summer time. If they’re baked, it’s definitely fall. These descriptors drive seasonality in a subtle, yet powerful way. I know I would choose fire-roasted veggies or blackened mahi mahi any day, over “fish with a side of vegetables”. These culinary cues make my seasonal food sound more fresh… like someone’s taking time to prepare it just the way I want it!
The Power of Mother Nature
When you get the chance to eat outdoors, whether at home or not, take a moment to appreciate what you’re eating, what it tastes like, what it feels like. I know it may seem a strange thing to point out, but once you get out of the recycled air of your dining room (at a pleasant 72°) and acclimate to the great outdoors, you can truly appreciate what you’re eating.
The ultimate example of this a picnic! Who doesn’t love a picnic? The ants might annoy, but they seem to never distract from the food! Even if you don’t have a beautiful basket to transport your meal or red and white checkered blanket to sit on – a picnic is always fun.
Location, Location, Location
Let’s talk food. Humans love the smell of cooking meat – it’s an ingrained response to feel hungry when you smell cooking meat. Think of the times you’ve gone by a restaurant and smell something smokey, fatty, or even the scent of something sizzling on an open flame. Even thinking of it now makes me hungry!
But we eat more than just meat. What about fruits and vegetables? A watermelon certainly seems juicier when you’re eating it poolside. Corn on the cob is more delicious when it’s on a paper plate at your neighbor’s 4th of July party. And we can’t forget s’mores! The only way to achieve the perfect s’more is through open flame (which should be done, of course…outside)!
Get the Flavors of the Great Outdoors, Indoors
So what do you do if you can’t eat outside, but you want your food to have that special something of eating outdoors? There are options of foods that have an authentic grilled, smoked, or even blackened flavor. It is possible to capture your favorite part of eating outside, and apply it to packaged goods – through flavor! But if you have the chance, I encourage you to venture into the great outdoors (or your patio) to experience seasonal food at it’s best.
If you’re looking to be inspired for your seasonal food strategies and product releases, reach out to Givaudan at noam.marketing@Givaudan.com.