Embrace the zingy, tart and tangy, because sour is emerging as a popular pastry flavor

27 Oct 2023

Hype & Trend Signal
Trend Updates

Lemon meringue pie has an evergreen status and will never go out of style, but in patisserie, sour flavors have always been overshadowed by sweet fruity and chocolaty, nutty flavors. Until now. In our 2023 Taste Tomorrow research we see sour strongly emerging as a popular pastry flavor. 

Discover why you should embrace the zingy, tart and tangy.

Our Semantic AI technology monitors millions of food related online conversations on social media to gather online consumer data and to spot upcoming trends. One of those trends we’ve discovered is that people now increasingly enjoy products that incorporate bitter and tangy elements of taste. Fruits and berries are the most prominent sources of sour that are on the rise. We see the number of online conversations on raspberries increase by 44%, while conversations on grapefruit even grew with 103%.

Flavor boost

Sour gives a more interesting and enjoyable eating experience by offering some contrast and balance to otherwise mostly sweet pastries and desserts. Certain sour ingredients even contribute to the mouthfeel, like citrus that brings a tangy element or yogurt that offers creaminess. 

Health flair

Besides the light and refreshing sensation, sour and tart flavors provide, sour flavors are associated with freshness, naturalness and health. As people start to eat more consciously, they are drawn to sour fruit ingredients because they are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

“Sugar in a lot of ways has become understated”, says Tanmoy Majumder, Executive Chef at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Bangalore in The New Indian Express. “Consumers prefer healthy options even in desserts and sour food is perceived as a viable option.” Sour fruit flavors have a bigger health appeal than caramel, but you can also think of sour cream being used as a replacement for pastry cream. 2022 research by Innova Flavour also pointed out that 19% of consumers worldwide choose sour tastes when they want to feel healthy.

Fusion flavors

If you’d like to experiment with new and exciting sour flavors, there are plenty of options to be found around the world. Try Japanese citrus fruits such as yuzu, hassaku, kabosu or sudachi, opt for Australian Finger limes, Filipino calamansi or combava lemons from Indonesia. As a bonus, you also benefit from the heightened appreciation for global cuisine. ‘Fusion flavors’ is one of the bigger trends we see on social media, but that comes through in our survey as well. Globally, 66% of consumers would like to try exotic tastes from other parts of the world, which was just 60% in 2021. Another 65% of people wants to try new or a combination of tastes which are unusual at first, so follow your curiosity and explore new (sour) flavors from around the world.

Try out one of these sour ingredients for your next patisserie creation:

Balsamic vinegar - Cactus Pear - Calamansi - Cranberries - Dairy - Fermented fruits - Grapefruit - Huckleberries - Hibiscus - Lemon - Lime - Passion fruit - Pomegranate - Raspberries - Rhubarb - Sour cherries - Sumac - Tamarind - Yuzu

Or get inspired by these examples of tart and zingy pastry:

Fraîcheur d’ Agrumes by Clement Goyffon

Clement Goyffon came up with the Fraîcheur d’ Agrumes for Pastry Arts Magazine, which means ‘Citrus Freshness’. The Executive Pastry Chef at ONE65 in San Francisco and the 2023 world champion in the International Catering Cup thought up the fresh pastry with slight acidity and bitterness to symbolize the feeling of spring. He uses grapefruit-strawberry jelly, blood orange cremeux and yuzu ganache to delicately balance the flavors. 

Calamansi Donut by Kora

One of the top-requested treats at New York bakery Kora is the Calamansi Amapola, a delightful creation featuring calamansi curd, poppy cream, torched meringue, graham crunch, and a tantalizing calamansi glaze. The creator of the sour and citrussy donut is Kimberly Mendoza Camara, a New Yorker of Filipino-American descent. Her delectable pastries are renowned for their infusion of Filipino flavors like ube, halo-halo, leche flan, and buko pandan. 

Strawberry Yoghurt Eclair by Maitre Choux

Maitre Choux calls itself ‘the first and only choux pastry specialist patisserie in the world’. The patisserie run by Three Michelin star-experienced chef Joakim Prat offers a Strawberry Yoghurt Eclair with French Clery strawberries and light pastry cream, topped with freeze-dry yogurt and strawberry crunch. The addition of yogurt makes the eclair not only fresh and tangy, but also makes the treat sound healthier. 

Kochi Yuzu Mango Tart by Lachér Patisserie

The yuzu mango tart from the Malaysian Lachér Patisserie combines the sour and fresh Japanese kochi yuzu with sweet mango, an almond tart shell and French almond cream. They promise quite the eating experience, as their website states: “On the first bite, the sourness of yuzu will cruise through your palate as you gently chew on the soft yuzu curd and bits of mango.” The light and refreshing cake should ‘de-stress’ and have a ‘colling and breezy effect’.

Give sour patisserie a go with grapefruit pastry

Dip your toes into this new trend with a pastry that combines chocolate with zingy citrus fruit. This Grapefruit recipe consists of sablé, grapefruit cream, brownie, chocolate mousse and calamansi fruit jelly. Try it yourself!

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