Written by Kon-Tiki Taco
American tastes trend toward chili heat. So if you’re trying to please a crowd, be sure your food includes some spice (with options for the less adventurous).
It’s no secret that foods are getting hotter – not in temperature, but in spicy flavor. IFT, a food formulation industry trade magazine, reported in late 2014 that combinations of sweet and heat were growing in popularity. This is driven by what consumers are asking for – and can have an effect on what event attendees are going to enjoy when the meal is served.
It’s also another reason that taco cart catering is growing in popularity. Made-to-order taco service stations at business and family events allow each diner to pick and choose their own ingredient. This allows them to also spice things up as they choose.
Importantly, those choices are expanding every day. Gone is the time when a simple shake of hot sauced covered all bases. Now taco caterers as well as home cooks are exploring different nuances of spices to give their dishes a kick and a twist. Consider some of the special tastes different chilies bring to the table:
- California chili (or Costeño, New Mexico or Choricero) are a sweeter, fresher taste that complement red bell peppers and fresh tomatoes.
- Cascabels, Arbol and Pequin are very much on the hot side, and should be approached with caution – and fervor.
- Chipotle (which are dried, smoked jalapeños), Ñora and Guajillo each have a naturally musty, charred wood smokiness.
- Ancho, Mulato and Pasilla are rich and fruity, with aromas of sun-dried tomatoes, raisins, chocolate and coffee.
And that’s only the beginning. Now it’s important to note that most mobile taco catering companies will not have a line-up of different shakers of these different chili types. Some of the flavors might already be in the salsas; some chopped fresh chili might be available in the toppings. The larger point is that as we incorporate more heat into every meal, an event without heat will disappoint many attendees.
At the same time, as a nod to the people with more sensitive taste buds, options for lower heat will always be there.
Taco catering offers diners and event planners many advantages. One is that the carts in mobile taco catering used in most situations can be spread throughout the event – the food station concept that has become increasingly popular because it allows diners to move around and mingle. The handheld nature of tacos too allows stand-up dining where that might be the party planner’s objective.
Fresh ingredients are also a preference for modern party throwing. The toppings as well as freshly prepared fillings of tacos meet that need as well.
Of course, with all that spiciness the beverage choices should be extensive as well. The theme can be carried through with margaritas, sangria, beer, agua fresca and natural fruit juices to quench the thirst – and perhaps to put out the fire.