I meet Lorna Bennett at Liverpool Airport before setting off on our trip. Lorna works for Huffkins of Burford and won the Piero Scacco Award from the Worshipful Company of Bakers. I was the winner of the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufacturers (ABIM) Award. Both awards are funding our trip to the Richemont school, which has been arranged with help from Liz Davidson, president of the Richemont Club of Great Britain.
On arrival in Basle, Switzerland, we meet up with some of the other people attending the course and make our way to Lucerne together.
We have a slight problem on the train – we had all purchased children’s tickets – so we have to pay full fare on the train itself. On arrival in Lucerne, we make our way to the hotel and check in. The hotel and room are lovely. Then we go to a delightful Italian restaurant – most of the group eat together, which is good because we get to know each other before the course starts. Then we have a quick stroll by the lake and retire to bed.
We go to the school for breakfast and meet up with everyone else. We are greeted by our demonstrators and translators. We then have a tour of the school. Wow! What an amazing place. I’m sure we are going to learn a lot.
After the tour we go into the classroom. Our first lecturer talks to us about working with chocolate. I find it very interesting and I get some great ideas from it.
After lunch, it is back to the classroom for the rest of the afternoon. That evening we have dinner at the Richemont Gastretto restaurant, then most of the group walk to Lucerne for a drink. It is a nice end to a really interesting day.
We start the day by being shown how to make moulds from silicon, then get the chance to make our own. This is particularly useful because we get to take them home.
In the afternoon we make a chocolate Easter line, which involves marzipan modelling, piping chocolate, piping Royal Icing and air brushing. These are all techniques that I have not had much experience in, so I learn an awful lot of new skills during the session.
School finishes for the day, then it is back to Richemont Gastretto for our evening meal, before turning in early – it is tiring work learning so many new skills!
After breakfast we have a two-hour coach journey to Chur to visit a bakery and chocolate company called Confiserie Merz. It is absolutely amazing. The range and quality of the
products is superb. The staff are really friendly and answer all our questions. They also let us take lots of photographs of the products.
The bakery visit is followed by a trip to Zurich and the well-known chocolate company Lindt & Sprüngli. We look around its chocolate museum and also visit the shop. Back at the hotel, we have time to change before being picked up and taken to a Swiss restaurant. Two members of the school accompany us to the meal that evening, which is lovely. A case of great food, great company!
We are introduced to the head pastry chef at the Richemont School. He shows us various types of bread, such as potato, leek and onion, and rye. He also encourages us to come up with new ideas for speciality breads.
The president of the Richemont School then presents the group with a certificate, and thanks us all for attending. We all have a glass of champagne and say our goodbyes.
I had a wonderful time and have been inspired by the quality of products that I have seen. I had the good fortune to join the course, run by the Richemont Club of Great Britain – I’m very grateful to its president, Liz Davidson, for all her help.
Bakers interested in applying for the 2006 Piero Scacco and ABIM Awards, should
contact the Worshipful Company of Bakers, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or ABIM’s Steven Birrell, tel: 0131 229 9415 or email: email@example.com