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Strawberry pavlova cake

Celebrated across the globe, Valentine’s Day is a big opportunity for foodservice operators to offer theme-specific menu items that attract customers. Sweets, especially those that include healthy fruits, are the big draw for this night celebrating love.

  • Pavlovas. Cloud-like meringue makes a romantic dessert, especially when topped by chopped fruits (think all berries, passion fruit, grapes, mango, figs, or kiwifruit. Accent with shaved or melted chocolate.
  • Molten Chocolate Cakes. Bolster these favorites with minced chile peppers, mashed raspberries, passion fruit, or mango purée.
  • Budino. These on-trend, Italian pudding cups are practical and easy to make. Go seasonal with citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, or lemons—then garnish with vibrant fruit slices, fresh berries, and whipped cream.
  • Panna Cotta. Another easy, make-ahead dessert that speeds up plating time, these smooth and creamy desserts look dramatic when topped with a sweet pomegranate reduction and seeds, raspberry coulis, or pink grapefruit syrup.

Seasonal Checklist:

  • Markon First Crop Strawberries: dip in chocolate, muddle in cocktails, or top cakes and tarts.
  • Markon First Crop Grapes: crystallize with sugar, drop into sparkling wines, add to sweet breads, and top pavlovas.
  • Ready-Set-Serve Juices: add bright flavor to mimosas, margaritas, and a variety of cocktails/mocktails.
  • Markon First Crop Pears: poach in wine, cover in chocolate or use in tarts in cakes.
  • Markon First Crop Chile Peppers: give sweets a hint of fire with minced Jalapenos, Serranos, or Habaneros.

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.