Never say never when it comes to melding together foods and flavors. In fact, at this time next year, some consumers may be singing: ‘Tis the season to eat a pine.

Pine flavor complements chocolate, providing desserts with a unique flavor sensation.

Never say never when it comes to melding together foods and flavors. In fact, at this time next year, some consumers may be singing: ‘Tis the season to eat a pine.

“No tree has ever contributed more to the commercial development of the United States than the American pine,” says Frank Calabro, senior food technologist, David Michael & Co., Philadelphia. “And, pine is no stranger to the plate. For example, in the mountains of Virginia, turkey is often soaked in a brine of blue spruce, juniper and sassafras.

“The presentation of pine in a chocolate truffle offers a unique opportunity to introduce Americans to this iconic flavor,” Calabro adds. “The truffles can further be used as an inclusion in holiday-themed ice cream.”

Continuing with the tree theme, fruit pulp from the Baobab Tree, which is indigenous to Central and Western Africa, has application in a variety of wellness beverages including yogurt smoothies.

“This tree has long been referred to as ‘The Tree of Life,’ as it has been used for centuries to treat various medical conditions,” says Donna Mascaro, project leader, beverage applications at David Michael. “The fruit pulp is currently undergoing a review process for approval within the European ingredients market. It is naturally high in fiber, contains essential amino acids and is an excellent source of vitamin C. Studies have even shown it can help control hunger.” Watch out acai and pomegranate. Make way for baobab.

In Asian countries, cultured dairy beverages often have a savory or salty sensory sensation.

There are many interesting flavors to explore from different regions of the world. For example, lassi, a traditional Indian yogurt drink, is often served savory. Sometimes the flavors are designed to tame the fire of spicy curry dishes.

“We blended a cardamom flavor with a black tea extract to produce a very refreshing lassi,” says Leila Allahyari, apprentice flavorist, David Michael. “We also developed a savory soda called doogh, which is a traditional Persian yogurt beverage. Dooghs are typically salty and carbonated. By combining 0.28% of a natural Indian mojito flavor, which has mint, lime and pepper notes with 0.05% two-fold vanilla extract, this doogh provides just the right authentic notes for the adventurous American palate.”

Indeed, Asian flavors are quite varied, and many have application in unique dairy foods. “Kaffir limes are commonly used in Southeast Asia,” says Linda Morrone, another apprentice flavorist with the company. “Interestingly, kaffir limes are not true limes, although they are members of the citrus family.

“Only the rinds and leaves are used in recipes,” she continues. “The leaves are highly aromatic with a citrus bouquet and the full lemony flavor is released when the leaves are torn or shredded.” David Michael has duplicated the flavor, which, when added at 1.0% to a dairy-based mousse recipe, results in an innovative Southeast Asian dessert.

A European dairy food-crème fraîche-can be frozen to create a lower-fat frozen dairy confection. “The velvety texture is all the more enticing when you add ‘torrents’ of fruit to make it both an indulgent and healthful treat,” says Peggy Pellichero, David Michael’s project leader of dairy applications. “Torrent of summer fruit is an orchard fresh blend of natural apricot, peach and plum flavors. The torrent of wild berries is based on our wild berry flavor, which melds together blackberry, blueberry and strawberry tastes.”

All of these innovations, and more, were featured at David Michael’s Innovation Roadshow on October 4 in Philadelphia. “Our product developers work all year on new product ideas that are far ahead of the latest trends in food and technology,” says Skip Rosskam, president and COO. “This was our fourth Roadshow, and we have already started working on the one for 2007.”

For more information about the Innovation Roadshow, visit