COOL IS COMING…
GREET REFRESHING FALL WEATHER WITH SOUP, COFFEE, TEA, AND COCOA
Florida’s known for its heat, but here in North Central, we can still feel the cool breeze of fall. Customers can, too, and it’s a great source of energy for them to get out to their favorite restaurants — or to try new ones! As temperatures drop as we move from October to November to December, tap into seasonal excitement with seasonal menu items. Match cool weather with hot food and drink, by trying new recipes for soup, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
There’s nothing like soup on a cold day, and the approach of cool fall weather gives you a chance to harness that craving, with enticing soup specials. Chowder’s an excellent first stop. Cook up a base of potatoes and cream, then add your choice of seafood to take your dish to the next level. Clam, fish, shrimp, and even scallops are all fair game. Choose what fits your budget and location — if you’re a coastal operation, you might pick up fresh seafood at a surprisingly low price. Next, for a classic fall flavor, turn to squash soup. This dish thrives on spices like cloves, black pepper, allspice, and cinnamon, and is a great option for vegetarians looking for a savory experience. To appeal to meat-eaters, try barley stew, well supplied with tender beef, potatoes, and carrots, and infused with a splash of red wine or dark beer.
Florida’s Fresh Fall
When crafting your soup menu, don’t forget Florida’s super power: farms that start making fresh produce in the fall, rather than wrapping up for the year. Okra’s at the head of the produce pack, coming in even during the hot month of August. It’ll still be going strong in the fall, and makes a killer gumbo when combined with sausage, shrimp, and spices. Curried cauliflower soup is another smart choice that takes advantage of fresh produce. Farms will be well-stocked with this vegetable, which gets a huge flavor boost when fresh. Last but not least, remember that Florida can grow fall tomatoes! Use these for top notch chili, minestrone, or even gazpacho (for those still hanging on to summer).
Add hot coffee options that lean into the drink’s cozy reputation. Two regional comfort allstars have been making the rounds, and are a perfect addition to any cafe: Vietnamese coffee and Cuban coffee. Vietnamese coffee uses sweetened condensed milk instead of cream and sugar, producing a rich, caramelly version of a standard sweet coffee. It’s low hassle, too: just add condensed milk to your stock list, and you’re ready to go. Cuban coffee has a similarly low footprint. Grab a package of demerara (also called turbinado) sugar to make it happen. Add some of this coarse, flavorful brown sugar to a cup at the start of the brewing process, drip in a little espresso, then switch to a separate vessel to hold the rest of the coffee (and the finished drink). Whisk the sugar and espresso mix, then add it back to the serving cup once brewing is finished. It’s not rocket science, when compared to frothed milk espresso drinks — and the result is a remarkable combo of strong coffee and complex, creamy sweetness.
Tea and Chocolate
Not everyone’s into coffee — cover your bases in the hot drink realm with the welcoming flavors of tea and hot chocolate. Jasmine tea walks the line between fancy and chill, picking up customers on both sides. It’s a great standalone offering for this reason. On the other hand, if you’re already committed to tea variety, consider expanding this strategy to sweeteners. Honey is fertile ground in this category. Orange blossom and wildflower honeys sound (and taste!) wonderful, and make for a buzzy addition to your traditional clover. For those looking for hot drinks that are sweet through and through, try offering marshmallow hot chocolate. It appeals to young diners by sweetness alone, but might draw older customers, too, with its pleasant wintry vibe, and ties to holiday memories.
As the weather turns, make sure your menu turns with it. Balance the cool of the day with warming food and drink, for a fall dining experience that’ll fill your patio with patrons. To keep their soup, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate coming, turn to us for ingredients. Contact your Florida Food Service rep today, and restock for the changing season.