Flavors of the World: African Spices – Food, Flavor, and Cocktails

One country just isn’t big enough to hold all the flavors that today’s foodie craves. These days, consumers look far and wide to find adventurous flavors to satisfy their culinary wanderlust. While Chinese, Mexican, Thai, and Japanese foods have been widely available in the US for ages, recently a new contender has appeared on the scene: African.


Old World spices


The heart of any dish from Africa is its spices. Although these spice combinations may be unfamiliar in your kitchens, it’s time to embrace the challenge—just keep in mind that African spices tend to be very strong, so it may take some experimentation to find the right balance.


Some of the spices that you might use in your African-inspired products include cumin, saffron, paprika, caraway, turmeric, cardamom, coriander, and cinnamon. These spices go well with a wide range of foods, from beans to sausages to prawns to coffee. African spices are delicate yet intense, aromatic and tantalizing; they bring with them a contrast of tangy, spicy, and bold ethnic flavors that will set your products and menu items apart.


South African cocktails


Treat your patrons to a lineup of new, South African-inspired drinks. These flavors are utterly palate-thrilling and easy to put together. Unexpected flavor combinations define these delicious and unique cocktails, such as lime, basil, and barbecue spice with vodka or spiced citrus and vanilla with rum.


Brandy is one of the most popular spirits in South Africa, so bring this favorite into the mix by blending it with peach, cranberry, orange, and bitters–or try adding rooibos tea, ginger, honey, and lime to brandy along with simple syrup for added sweetness. If it’s a dessert cocktail that you want, go for cream, hazelnut, and chocolate for a smooth and irresistible after-dinner beverage. Your customers will thank you!


Naturally health-conscious


Today’s consumer is all about the healthy and the natural, and these factors give African food an easy advantage: these dishes generally contain very little cream or butter and feature whole foods and spices. Your end customers will taste what’s there naturally. Playing around with flavors and approaching bold African spices head-on are sure to reward you with winning combinations in hearty and savory foods that will fit in perfectly with emerging trends.