Callebaut launches competition to visit its cocoa plantation


, , , ,

Chocolate company Callebaut has launched its For The Love Of Chocolate challenge, where caterers will have the opportunity to win a visit to a cocoa plantation in Ghana.

To enter, chefs, chocolatiers and patissiers must create an imaginative twist on one of the nation’s top-five chocolate desserts: brownie, cheesecake, cake, pudding and ice-cream.

Robert Harrison, sales director for Callebaut, said: “The foodservice industry thrives on innovation, so we’re really looking forward to seeing what chefs come up with and rewarding the best of the best with a trip to one of our plantations. It really is a unique prize and one we’re incredibly proud to be able to offer – who wouldn’t want to see where the chocolate journey begins.”

Following the judging process, two lucky caterers – one under 22 years old and one over – will be rewarded with an accompanied four-night, all-expenses-paid trip to learn more about the origins of chocolate.

Chocolate & Banana Sundae

Beverley Dunkley, head of Callebaut’s Chocolate Academy, has already created contemporary twists on the top five desserts, including triple chocolate brownie, raspberry and lime cheesecake and chocolate and banana sundae, to help caterers get creative.

Triple Chocolate Brownies“There are so many interesting uses for chocolate,” adds Harrison. “And strong consumer demand means there will always be a place for chocolate on menus, but caterers really need to expand their offering with wow-factor dishes to keep customers coming back for more.”

The competition is open between 5 January and midnight on 1 March 2015. Visit Callebaut’s website for details.

Development chef Poole turns manufacturer


, ,

grubworkz 2

Chef Steve Poole has launched a new range of meat and poultry dishes under the banner of Grubworkz,  grub workz image a consultancy set up in 2010 offering a range of services from trend identification and concept development through to customer presentations and product launches.

Alongside his son Tom, Grubworkz have designed a range of sous vide products aiming to save chefs time and “provide them with some breasthing space” says Poole.

“We are not out to de-skill the kitchen and what we provide is not a complete meal.  We provide a compound part of the menu to which they can add their own creativity and invention to transform each idea into fantastic on trend dishes.

Asian Scented Chicken Breast Confit, Chicken Ballotine Confit, Pork Belly Salt and Cracked Pink Peppercorn Confit, Rack of Lamb (Four Rib) Confit Cooked and Spicy Pulled Pork.

grubworkz 3


A day with Le Charcutier Anglais


, , , , , ,

Marc-Frederic Berry fondly labelled Le Charcutier Anglais is described as one of the most knowledgeable and experienced Charcuterie Englishmen.  This is ironic because Berry has spent a large chunk of his life learning about Charcuterie in Germany and rural France including the regions of the Languedoc, Limousin and the Charente.

He is a delightful man, a storyteller and a joker with a passion to educate us all about the fascinating world of Charcuterie.

Having returned to the UK nine years ago Berry has taken to teaching like a duck to water.  I was lucky enough to participate in one such lesson at earlier this year and this is an account of what I learned.

The class included a variety of interested parties; a mix of people, some with small tracks of land with pigs wanting to know what to do post slaughter, hobby cooks, a retired gentleman breeding pigs in Oxford and wanting to produce his own small joints, an arable farmer with a few pigs dotted around and a local butcher from the Charles Whitbread Estate.

The pig we butchered on the day was a mix breed from Eastleich Organics.  I am told Pigs sold to chefs as dead weight cost between £3-£3.50 per kilo.
pig cut
If you want to take up charcuterie as a hobby or to advance your skills (like chef Tom Aikens who attended one of Berry’s courses) you will need some basic utensils; these include: a meat saw, a boning knife, a steel, a steak knife and a Stanly Knife.  You might also like to invest in a Lardon kneedle and try not to compromise on quality.

sausage machinesausage mix

With supervision from Berry we attempted some basic butchery, taking turns through the correct process: starting with taking the head off – this is piece one. There are six cuts in total. This is not for the feint-hearted and it’s physical work. The skill required to be a butcher had never really hit home before this session.

Once we had our various cuts of meats, Berry talked ‘Charcuterie’.  Charcuterie is the artisan skill of taking raw meat and preserving it by curing it, smoking, cooking or a combination of all three methods.  Some examples are: Jambon, Boudin Noir, Gayettes, Fromage de Tête and Pâté en Croute (translated as ham, black pudding, faggots, brawn and pork pies).

We attempted some basic crepinettes, (soft cornered triangles of savoury breakfast sausage wrapped in Caul Fat with herbs and fruits) and made our own Cumberland sausage mix and a spicy Chorizo.  Stuffing the sausages with the sausage machine and skins was hilarious, and, again not easy, I was assured it gets easier.
We talked about all sorts of cured pork meat: Streaky bacon, Short Back bacon,
Spanish Lomo, Ayrshire rolls, Gonchali (or pork cheeks).

You must never wash cured meat, just pat it dry with paper towel, then air dry it and if air drying add another 10g curing salt.

Charcuterie is a fascinating subject and Berry is definitely the font of all knowledge, his book Le Charcutier Anglais will provide you with step by step instructions and recipes if you are interested in learning more about the subject.  He describes it as easy reading with buckets of humour and laughter.  We certianly enjoyed both on our day at Thyme at Southrop Manor.

Southrop Manor has become a destination for foodies.  It is owned By Caryn Hibbert and the Thyme cookery school is located within 140 acres of farmland adjacent to luxury accommodation and the Grade II listed Manor.

Erlenbacher Summer Flavours

Erlenbacher have launched three new flavours in their Cream Triangle Slices range designed for an increasingly busy world.

The slices can be presented as individual slices or as whole cakes and are easy to handle in spite of the cream nestled between two layers of light sponge, each slice provides a varied taste and texture.

Raspberry Cheese Cream Triangle.jpgThe new flavours include: Raspberry and Cream Cheese; Strawberry and Buttermilk and Mandarin and Cream Cheese covered with tangerine slices and topped with a fruity glaze.

The cakes are offered ready to serve, pre-cut into 12 portions that can be removed as individual slices.  None of the triangle cakes contain artificial flavours, artificial colours or added hydrogenated fats and oils or preservatives.

Natural colours and flavourings from DaVinci

DVG_Raspberry_Syrup_FI.jpgDaVinci Gourmet has reformulated its range of beverage syrups to include only natural colours and flavours.

By making the transition to all natural colours and flavours, DaVinci Gourmet is hoping to help baristas meet increased demand for healthier options by serving a product that consumers are increasingly seeing of equal importance as “fresh” or being “made with quality ingredients.”

Enter the theatre of great tastes for the latest coffee trends, recipes and news by visiting

Sensible Dave’s Granola

Sensible Dave granola is available in three new recipes:  The Original One, The Strawberry One and The Berry One.Sensible Dave Packshot-34_croppedHR2.jpg

Created in the kitchens of The New White Lion in the Brecon Beacons, the home-made granola incorporates the zest of one orange in each 600g box of granola, oats from Cheshire, rapeseed oil from Herefordshire and other carefully sourced, British ingredients.

The longstanding nick-name ‘Sensible Dave’ has flourished into the happy-chappy character that features throughout the branding. With his selection of 1970′s kipper ties, Sensible Dave appears on-pack, as retro cut-outs, providing good old fashioned breakfast entertainment – no electronics in sight!

Available from 600g boxes have a SRP of £5.95 online

Taste range from Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki has created a takeaway solution for operators called Taste including a choice of different style food containers to suit a variety of popular menu choices from sandwiches and wraps, to salads, sushi and pizza.
Suitable for hot and chilled foods, the Taste range of lightweight takeaway packaging is manufactured from paperboard with a PET lining with leak-proof webbed corners.  The food to go boxes are available in small, medium and large, with or without a window and vents.

The Taste pizza boxes are available in quarter, half and full sizes and include a window and vents so the contents can be clearly presented to customers.  Cool to the touch, the packaging is designed to keep the product inside hotter for longer without making the item uncomfortable to hold.  The taste range comes in kraft brown and customised corporate brand printing is available.

Aussie Verjuice and Vino Cottom from Maggie Beer

Australian Maggie Beer has returned to the UK to launch her Verjuice and Vino Cottom distributed to the trade through family-owned wine importer Negociants UK. 
Verjuice is made from the juice of unfermented under ripe grapes, a gentle acidulant that can be used wherever lemon juice or vinegar is too tart.  Verjuice can be used to deglaze a pan when cooking chicken or fish, in salad dressings, poaching fish or making a hollandaise.

Vino Cotto can be used in a similar way to balsamic vinegar, but with its own depth of flavour, deriving from the honey like grape and aged red wine vinegar.  Try roasting baby beetroot, or onions, in olive oil until just tender and splash with Vino Cotto before serving, or use Vino Cotto to deglaze the pan after searing beef fillets to create a syrupy sauce.

Maggie Beer Verjuice has a RRP of £6 (375ml) and £11.35 (750ml)
Maggie Beer Vino Cotto has a RRP of £14 (250ml) and £36 (1 litre)

visit or