International flavours are in high demand, so they could be an excellent way to draw in consumers. Around 64% of millennials say they enjoy trying new flavours,1 while 44% would like to see more ethnic options on restaurants menus.2 Canadian consumers particularly love Mexican-, Indian-, Korean-, and Middle Eastern-inspired foods.3
Specialty cheeses are a great addition to any global cuisine recipe. They boost flavours and give a distinctive touch to a menu. Discover our experts' insights and tips to create memorable international dishes.
The ever-so-popular Mexican-inspired cuisine
Mexican cuisine has a soft spot for meaty dishes and salty components served with tortillas and salsas. Chef Beall suggests using mild, creamy, or tangy cheeses to complement the typical spiciness of Mexican food and its other staple ingredients. Think of bloomy rind soft cheeses, such as Brie cheese with its supple body and slightly fruity taste.
To balance out the spiciness of Mexican-inspired dishes, use Sir Laurier d’Arthabaska cheese, like in this Chicken Mole Pizza inspiration. This soft washed rind cheese has a strong aroma and a full-bodied, melt-in-your-mouth flavour perfect for this kind of mission.
Manchego cheese is widely used to enhance Mexican dishes.4 With its supple, moist texture and fruity notes, this ripened sheep’s milk cheese pairs well with bold flavours.
Fresh and salty, Feta is a perfect match for this cuisine. Even when heated, it remains firm and doesn’t melt. It becomes crumblier, which makes it ideal to add texture!
The unique flavours of Korean-inspired cuisine
Given its tangy flavour, Mozzarella Goat cheese pairs well with Korean-inspired recipes. In this Fire Chicken inspiration, this cheese adds a satisfying melt and an indulgent twist to the dish.
Looking for an alternative? For similar melting and stretching qualities, with a milky refreshing taste, Chef Beall suggests using Bocconcini cheese pearls. Ready-to-use, they’re the perfect format to speed up preparation. Overall, fresh cheeses offer an ideal backdrop for the strong flavours typical to this cuisine: Gochujang (fermented chili paste), rice, sesame, soy sauce, and garlic.
Bleubry cheese is an excellent option to contrast the bold flavours of Korean cuisine. Thanks to its creaminess, blue cheese notes and slightly salty taste, a few slices of this ingredient could transform the most simplistic dish, like this Grilled Cheese.
The comforting taste of Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine
Feta and Haloumi cheeses are ideal choices to create Middle Eastern-inspired dishes. They add texture while letting the spices shine through.
Mascarpone cheese is a great thickening and binding agent. Its creamy texture and milky flavour are a perfect addition to sauces, regional cornerstones of this type of cuisine. This Mascarpone cheese dip inspiration, for example, can be served with veggies, bread or warm pita wedges. Add a Lebanese touch to your brunch menu with this dip atop a chickpea stew with eggs and a sprinkle of marjoram. This unique combination is refreshing and bursting with flavour!
Soft Fresh Goat cheese offers a satisfying texture and flavour contrast to Middle Eastern-inspired dishes! Stuff this Mideast appetizer with this cheese for extra creaminess and a distinctive tangy taste.
The boldness of Indian-inspired cuisine
Indian cuisine also relies on various fragrant spices to elevate chicken-, lamb-, or legume-based dishes, which are balanced out with silky creams, yogurts, or coconut milk.
As far as Ricotta goes, it’s an excellent alternative for these ingredients. Its rich texture adds creaminess while toning down the heat, like in this Chana Masala Quesadilla inspiration.
Ricotta and Mascarpone cheese have similar texture and consistency. When it comes to bold Indian flavours, Mascarpone cheese can also be used as a base for dips and sauces.
Efficiently promoting international flavours
Limited time offers for lunch or dinner are part of a good strategy when introducing new items or new flavours to your menu, as they bring customers to step out of their comfort zones. Since consumers crave cheese more than any other flavours,5 its inclusion into “global cuisine” brings more attention to your creations while letting you use everyday ingredients.
When trying your hand at new, innovative dishes, it’s also a chance to tell your story and share how each dish came to be. Plus, it can help you stand out from the competition!
1 Technomic, Canadian May 2020 Omnibus consumer survey data, 2020
2Restaurant Business, Technomic Generational Consumer Trend Report, January 2019
3-4 Statista, Most popular cuisines in Canada by eating location, 2017
5 Technomic, Canadian Omnibus Consumer Survey Data, 2019