According to the THP 2020 Flavour & Trend Forecast*, Michelin-starred restaurants around the world will be increasingly seeking out traditional ingredients from some of the oldest civilisations this year, particularly Central and South America.
The SA Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA) has taken its cue from this prediction, and in 2020 is celebrating the ancient origins of homegrown South African avocados (South Africa is one of the world’s major avo producers, after all) with a nod to Mexico as the undisputed primordial homeland of the avo.
Researchers believe that people in Puebla, South Central Mexico, were tucking into avos as long as 10,000 years ago, while evidence suggests Mesoamerican tribes first domesticated the avocado tree 5,000 years ago. This makes avo cultivation as old as the invention of the wheel!
The ancient Mexican roots of avos also include alleged superpowers. The Aztecs, for instance, believed the fruit gave supernatural strength to whomever ate it. The Mayans, too, believed the avo held mystical powers, calling it the fruit of the gods.
Today, avos still have magical powers – they miraculously transform any dish, taking it from gaudy to glam in seconds!
The Mexicans clearly know this, which is why no self-respecting Mexicano dish would ever be caught without a significant serving of avo. From nachos and tacos to enchiladas and burritos, you simply need to add an avo to capture the true taste of Mexico. Of course the obvious topper is guacamole, but avo salsa, avo pico, avo crema or simple avo slices with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a pinch of salt and twist of black pepper are all hot favourites.
SAAGA’s tantalising Mex-inspired dishes to celebrate the 2020 season include the chicken or veg nachos salad jar, multigrain tortillas with baked chicken and avo “meatballs” with a tangy lime dressing, and mega veggie and avo tacos with pickled red onion.
Did someone say avocado margarita? Oh, yes, we did! That’s sizzling on this season’s menu along with a Tex-Mex southern-style sweet potato and avocado salad with a zingy amasi dressing, and vegan breakfast tostadas with black beans, mushrooms, hash browns, cherry tomatoes, corn and sliced avo.
Guacatology (yes, that’s a thing) trends see soy sauce, rice vinegar and wasabi paste being added to traditional guacamole in Japan, while baguettes laden with gauc made with shallots and tarragon is how it’s enjoyed in France. The Swedes have Taco Fredag (taco Friday) and the Americans have Super Bowl Sunday where guacamole is the stand-out star of the show.
Avos might have ancient Mexican roots, but they’re as in demand today the world over as they were thousands of years ago. Probably because it’s just so easy to add an avo … to everything, starting with these recipes.
*THP, a Tag company, is the world’s leading provider of content and social media services for brand managers and marketers