Renowned Cognac producer Rémy Martin and its sister brand Cointreau are to undergo something of a reinvention. Keen for both to be seen as young and fashionable brands, the Rémy Cointreau Group formed through a merger in 1990 of the holding firms of the Hériard Dubreuil and Cointreau families that controlled E Rémy Martin & Cie and Cointreau & Cie respectively has embarked on a mission to widen the appeal of these brands.
The group has launched a ’premium gastronomy’ strategy and created sample recipes, to give its customers and potential customers ideas about how it is already used and how it can be used with food.
Rémy Martin, established in 1724, specialises in the pro-duction of Fine Champagne Cognac, which it says is what makes it different to all the other Cognac producers in the region, which simply produce Cognac.
Its Cognac is made using grapes from the Grande and Petite Champagne regions, which, as the name Champagne implies, are areas of chalky soil. Rémy makes around 80% of all the Fine Champagne Cognac in the world, and is proud of its heritage and of the brand it has built up. It does not want to be a mass-market competitor, but it is keen to increase its brand’s use at different times of the year other than Christmas. Victor Griffiths, field sales manager, Keylink, which supplies culinary alcohols, says the argument from manufacturers and retailers about using alcohol in food has always been that summer is a family time, but then what is Christmas if not a family-orientated celebration? And it is used in plenty of foods at that time of year.
The group is also hoping to increase the incorporation of the culinary alcohol version of its Cointreau liqueur into a wider range of applications. Cointreau is an orange liquor made with natural sweet and bitter orange peels, so works well with ingredients such as chocolate. Frédéric Ratajczak, international sales director (gastronomy), explains that he wants to create a new sector for Cointreau, for use in summer desserts, and wants consumers to think of it as a very trendy brand. The liqueur was created in 1839 by a pastry-maker, to be used as a food ingredient in ganaches, for example. It then became a liqueur in its own right, but the company is keen for its use as a culinary alcohol to be expanded. Cointreau has been created at 60% proof for use in gastronomy, but it is needed for the flavour, not the alcohol content, says Ratajczak. Cointreau Concentrate is also sugar-free and offers less evaporation to its sister liqueur. Ratajczak says it has the highest essential oil content, compared to competitors, at 575mg/l, and the lowest sugar content at 240g/l. Rémy also offers a 54% variant that does contain some sugar this is only to be used for when a company wants to be able to say the product contains liqueur.
Artisan baker Thierry Dumouchel, whose bakery Dumouchel in Garforth was a finalist for The Craft Business Award at the Baking Industry Awards this year, has been the brand ambassador for Rémy in the UK for around 14 years. He works with customers to develop recipes using Rémy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac and Cointreau, and says he can find a way to combine it with any ingredients you have in mind. His recipe suggestions include macarons, chocolate gateaux and patisserie (see side panel for his Cointreaupolitan Cupcake recipe, created exclusively for British Baker). The group already works with Crown Bakery, Marks & Spencer and Relais Desserts and, with its new strategy, is looking to develop a niche market with high profitability for its partners, and increase its brand awareness, by making use of its technical and marketing know-how. In addition, Griffiths is also a fully qualified chef and contributes on development concepts/recipes, with around eight years’ experience of consulting with NPD and innovation managers within the industry.
During the visit, Dumouchel demonstrated some ways in which Rémy and Cointreau can be used in bakery and patisserie. He combined Rémy Martin with fig, passion fruit, dark chocolate, raspberry and cherry for example: filled choux pastry balls on a stick; small patisserie items such as fig purée topped with a circle of sponge, cream and chocolate; and mini cakes with a pipette of Cointreau to inject into the cake yourself. Dumouchel says the supermarkets are starting to look for something new. He says he now sells more individual mini cakes than big cakes at his bakery even though the smaller cakes are more expensive.
Cointreaupolitan Cupcake recipe:
l Cupcake size 4.5cm diameter
l Makes 24
Self raising flour300g
1. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Mix in vanilla essence
2. Gradually beat in the egg
3. Gradually add the sieved flour
4. Pipe into the cupcake/bun cases (45g per case)
Mix all of the above together. Reserve 50g for the butter cream. Drizzle the rest over the cupcakes.
Egg white 100g (whisked)
1. Bring the water and sugar to 120C in a pan
2. Pour the cooked sugar over the whisked egg white. Whisk together to form a meringue until cool (Italian meringue)
3. Soften the butter and mix with the remaining 50g of cocktail
4. Fold into the meringue until smooth, then pipe on to the cooled cupcakes.
5. Decorate as required.