Catering Trend: Savory Desserts

Messina's Savory Cheesecake Bites

Desserts are much more than just a way to end a meal and satisfy a sweet tooth.  While sweets dominate when most people think of desserts…things are changing.

The fastest growing ingredients on dessert menus is bacon.  Yes, you read that right.  Bacon is up 137% on dessert menus according to a report by Datassential.  Other savory flavors showing up in sweets include olive oil (up 154%), pretzels (110%), herbs (49%), bourbon (46%) and spicy (36%).

Like other areas of the catering industry, desserts are breaking with traditional norms.  Desserts are appearing on everything on from breakfast menus to infused boozy drinkable dessert bars.  One of the trends we’re watching closely at Messina’s Catering & Events is savory desserts.

It All Started With Salted Caramel

Savory desserts have been rising in popularity for several years now.  Salted caramel opened the door for savory sweet combos like black pepper ice cream, tomato sorbet, olive oil cake, and vegetable cheesecake.  The reason?  Guests’ palettes have grown more sophisticated, making herbs, spices, and savory condiments commonplace in every pastry chef’s kitchen.

Savory Desserts Pair Exceptional Well With Wine

Talk about a win-win!  Wine tasting events are now featuring dessert items like rosemary-pine nut chocolate dipped pretzels sprinkled with sea salt.  Chiles, Indian curries, and Middle Eastern spices are finding their way onto house-made popcorn.  Miso, bacon and duck prosciutto can easily replace salt in recipes containing caramel and toffee.  These little touches elevate an ordinary dessert into a stunning taste sensation.

Miniature Foods From Our Childhood Get A Grown-up Twist

According to a recent Epicurious article, people aren’t as enamored with sweetness as they used to be.  After years of giant cupcakes and heaps of buttercream, our preferences have swung back the other way.  Imagine a PB&J jello shot–a gellee made with vodka and dusted with peanut butter and a whole fruit jam.  Or how about liquor-spiked cupcakes such as mini bourbon-bacon crumb cakes with apple-cheddar streusel?  House-made ice creams are also a perennial favorite with a new emphasis on unexpected flavors, such as lavender blossom and rose sorbet with blueberry essence.  One of our most popular savory desserts at Messina’s is our famous Savory Creole Cheesecake.

Messina's Savory Creole Cheesecake

American Comfort Desserts Endure, But Chefs Are Giving Them A New Spin

In addition to the savory dessert trend, there is a trend toward lighter, less rich desserts featuring fresh bright flavors.  Think avocado mousse and green tea-infused ice cream.  Plus, savory desserts often feature textural elements that add crunch to a creamy dessert, such as chocolate covered nuts over a pot de crème.  Other classics like molten chocolate cake, panna cotta, and crème brulèe are getting savory makeovers, too, with the addition of flavors (and some heat) from ghost peppers, cracked black pepper, and sharp blue cheese.

Dessert Buffets Continue To Impress In Special Event Catering

Regardless if you go with sweet or savory desserts, it’s increasingly commonplace to find dessert buffets at catered events.  Buffets allow guests the chance to try a lot of different flavor options.  Focus on miniature sizes to allow for sampling.  This is especially helpful when serving more unique menu items such as savory desserts.  And don’t forget the coffee bar!

Think Sweet and Savory For Your Next Event

Thinking about adding a unique element to your next catered event?  Messina’s can offer a wide array of savory desserts to feature on your catering menu.  From salty to sweet, to the combination thereof, chances are we’ve prepared and served it before.  We can help to broaden your guests’ culinary horizons.  Messina’s Catering and Events has been providing full-service catering to the New Orleans area for more than 60 years.  We’ve been selected by New Orleans CityBusiness readers as one of the  Best Caterers for three years running.  Let us put our dessert imagination to work for your next catered event.