It’s that time of year again: fall harvest season! What produce is freshly picked across Canada – and how can you bring it to your menu? We give you some tasty autumn menu ideas, while also rounding up some of our favourite fall flavours and food holidays that you can celebrate with your customers and can add to your October meal plan.
WHAT IT IS: Brussels Sprouts, the undeservedly mocked vegetable, are seriously delicious.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Ready for harvest in October, these tiny green bundles are packed with vitamins and minerals.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: In salads, roasted as a side dish, in soups and even pasta sauces.
FUN FOOD FACT: While they were named for the Belgian capital after being cultivated there in the 13th century, they’re actually native to the Mediterranean.
WHAT IT IS: Literally the fruits of our labour, as apple picking is Canada’s favourite fall past-time.
WHY YOU NEED IT: From crisp Delicious to classic McIntosh, Apples are a simple (and affordable) way to add local fall flavour to your menu.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: From a slice of cinnamon-apple pie for dessert to adding a little crunch to your salads.
FUN FOOD FACT: While they’re certainly tasty, the long-held “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was disproved by a 2015 Harvard study.
WHAT IT IS: The gooey sweet confection made from burnt sugar.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Whether it’s store-bought or freshly made in your kitchen, caramel is fall’s signature sweet.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: Use it to top baked foods and ice cream or add it to coffee and cocktails. Or get inventive and use it in sweet and savoury dishes, like Vietnam’s Caramel Pork.
FUN FOOD FACT: In 1977, salted caramel was popularized by the French pastry chef Henri Le Roux.
PIZZA AND BEER
WHAT IT IS: National Pizza and Beer Day, October 9
WHY YOU NEED IT: Move over champagne and caviar! Pizza and beer are the food combo du jour.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: Pizza isn’t just for Italian pizza joints anymore. Exciting new variations have been created across international cuisines, like sushi pizza, Greek-style pizza, and chicken shawarma pizza. Then select beers that compliment your menu: a dark-smoky beer for a pizza stacked with meat; something light and crisp for the Hawaiian; or a spicy, floral pilsner to go with a Thai chicken pizza.
FUN FOOD FACT: The average Canadian consumes 7.5kg of pizza each year (just behind the U.S. and Italy.)
WHAT IT IS: Celebrate National Dessert Day on October 14th with sugar-and-spice donuts, pumpkin pie, sesame ice cream, casava cakes, dessert wines, mango and sticky rice; the list is endless.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Everyone likes a little something sweet after dinner (and it’s an easy way to up your profit margins.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: Think of desserts that reflect your restaurant’s unique cuisine. Add desserts customers can’t find anywhere else – and, when possible, fresh is best.
FUN FOOD FACT: “German chocolate cake” is, in fact, not from Germany, but named for its American creator, Samuel German.
WHAT IT IS: October 15 is National Mushroom Day
WHY YOU NEED IT: Mushrooms add warm, earthy flavours to dishes that feel just perfect for fall.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: Pasta sauces, fried with steak, on pizza, in ramen. Or even use it to make your menu vegetarian-friendly, with a hearty Portobello burger, for example.
FUN FOOD FACT: From cremini to shiitake, there are over 2,000 varieties of edible mushrooms.
WHAT IT IS: Spuds, taters, Murphys. Whatever you call them, fall is potato harvest time.
WHY YOU NEED IT: Perhaps the most versatile of foods, the tasty little tubers are an easy fit onto any menu.
HOW TO ADD IT YOUR MENU: The options (sweet potatoes, golden, red, new) are endless, and so are recipes (roasted, mashed, boiled, fried, herbed, scalloped, candied).
FUN FOOD FACT: Incans in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes.