The latest flavor development from the Wixon Innovates program is focused on Mexican comfort food. “Mexican flavors are incredibly popular, yet there’s still room for innovation with exploration into regional flavors and preparations,” said Wixon Marketing Manager, Becca Henrickson, as she explained the organization’s research-driven, trend identification program. “Our culinary and applications innovation team spent the past three months studying the culinary influences at play in different regional Mexican specialties. This led to the development of a range of what we’re calling, collectively, Mexican Comfort Food Flavors.”
Spotlight on Birria
Birria is one example of regional Mexican comfort food. A savory stewed meat – birria is traditionally served as a guisada or casserole. In the Mexican state of Jalisco, where birria is said to have originated, the slow-cooked, warm-spicy meat stew (usually goat) is served at celebrations or during special occasions. Birria migrated around Mexico from Jalisco to other areas, and now the comforting casserole can be found in many iterations. One of the favorites is serving birria as a taco filling in the country’s ubiquitous street food.
“The birria trend we are seeing sweep the U.S. is a take on Tijuana-style birria de res, made from beef,” said Henrickson. It’s an adobo-marinated beef blend, stewed and chopped into pieces, and placed in a tortilla that was dipped in beef fat and warmed on a griddle. Then the birria de res tacos are served with beef consommé for the diner to dip or sip.
“Tijuana-style birria de res is a fairly recent culinary evolution,” said Wixon Corporate Chef, Ryan Kukuruzovic. “Although it’s been around since the 1950s, it didn’t become popular in Tijuana until the early 2000s. And its introduction into the L.A. market came in 2013.” Fast forward as interest in birria simmered across the U.S. – culminating earlier this year with Yelp identifying it as their top food trend to try in 2021, with site review mentions of birria up 235%.
“In our Mexican Comfort Foods flavor exploration, we captured the warm-spicy, exquisitely savory, and scrumptiously meaty flavors in this dish in a birria-type seasoning,” said Kukuruzovic. “The birria flavor that has caught so much attention in tacos right now lends itself to other applications. What we did is start from a culinary perspective, and then reimagine the essence of birria as a flavoring and used it in a varied array of snacks, sauces, marinades…really there are so many opportunities to broaden its application.”
Beyond just the Birria-Type flavor, Wixon taste experts recreated tastes of other Mexican Comfort Foods in a new flavor system collection as part of its Wixon Innovates program. A list follows.
Mexican Comfort Food Inspired Flavor Systems:
• Salted Caramel Tres Leches • Creamy Habanero Manchego Type
• Vegan Guerrero-Style Pozole • Mango Tajin Type
• Guajillo Lime Carnitas • Smoky Mezcal Type
• Za’atar Elote • Manchamanteles Mole
To find out more about these flavor systems and to request samples of the Birria-Type seasoning, visit https://www.wixon.com/sample/birria/.