Spring into these seasonal trends

Key points
  • Spring presents a great opportunity to take advantage of Australia’s fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables on the menu
  • Light, fresh and tasty is the trending motif for spring recipes
  • It’s the perfect time of year to make fresh pesto along with dips from fresh seasonal vegetables
  • Fresh seafood such as scallops, mussels and oysters always trend high on Australian menus in spring and it’s also the ideal season for share plates

SPRING is traditionally the season of rebirth – a time of year when flowers blossom, there’s a freshness in the air and the days start growing longer as we head for summer. The extra light also encourages more customers to eat out later in the day, especially if your business has an outdoor serving area, as well as providing more opportunities for social events which need takeaway or home-delivered food.

It’s also a great time to take advantage of Australia’s broad selection of fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables which you can use on the menu.

Fresh beetroot, asparagus and artichokes are all abundantly available in spring and make terrific toppings for pizza as well as in Italian style entrees and mains.

It’s also the perfect time of year to serve fresh vegetable juices pulped from these and other suitable ingredients – like celery and cabbage, both of which are trending in the US due to perceived health benefits (celery for anti-inflammatory and cabbage for the gut).

Light, fresh and tasty is the trending motif for spring recipes – think salads with lemongrass chicken and honey, vegie burgers with housemade aioli and coleslaw or a baked vegetable lasagne. Tomato carpaccio with mozzarella and fresh raspberries is a perfect Italian style side dish to add a dash of seasonal colour to the menu.

Fresh chutneys made from seasonal fruits such as peach and berries are the perfect accompaniment to a range of dishes. It’s also the perfect time of year to make fresh pesto – a simple way to add authentic Italian flavour not only to soups and bakes but even sandwiches and wraps. You can also make dips from fresh seasonal vegetables like cucumber.

Seasonal Italian style soups such as minestrone can contain plenty of fresh seasonal greens such as asparagus, courgettes, spring onions, broad beans and herbs such as basil and chives.

Fresh seafood always trends high on Australian menus in spring, particularly scallops, mussels and oysters, all of which feature in Italian style cuisine. A fresh pan-fried fish served with warmed fresh beetroot and a light salad makes an excellent menu addition at this time of year, as does fish with a light crumb served with greens such as broccoli and green beans lightly tossed in butter. 

Share plates are perhaps most popular in spring when the arrival of the warmer weather heralds the move towards lighter appetites and weight-watching for many customers. Hence it’s a great idea to ensure there’s plenty of choice on the menu for tapas style presentation as well as that traditional Italian favourite of antipasto. These present a great opportunity for customers to share the buzz of the moment with good food and friends. Seasonal chargrilled vegetables are a great addition to the antipasto plate – where the emphasis is as much on colourful presentation as it is on flavour. For that reason, the vibrantly coloured vegetables prevalent in spring are the perfect choice. These can accompany the traditional core of the antipasto offering such as olives, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes and cured meats like prosciutto along with a selection of Italian style cheeses, breads and dipping sauces.