According to the THP 2020 Flavour & Trend Forecast, Michelin star 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 South African 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.

Ancient avocados

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.

Avos’ ancient Mexican roots also include alleged superpowers. The Aztecs, for instance, believed the fruit gave supernatural strength to whoever 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!

A Mexican feast

The Mexicans clearly know this, which is why no self-respecting Mexican 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 Mexican-inspired dishes to celebrate the 2020 season include the chicken or veg nachos salad jar; multi-grain 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 (buttermilk) dressing, and vegan breakfast tostadas with black beans, mushrooms, hash browns, cherry tomatoes, corn and sliced avo.

Avo trends

Guacatology (yes, that’s a thing) trends see soya 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!

Like @iloveavocadoSA.co.za on Facebook and visit www.avocado.co.za for awesome recipes. Follow @iloveavossa on Instagram. – Press release, SAAGA