I have just returned from the Délifrance Sandwich World Cup Final (pg 4 and future issue) in France. It was sheer delight to hear French craft baker and chairman of judges Jean-Luc Pouvaran speak in passionate terms about mother doughs, the art of kneading and slow fermentation to produce great flavour - resulting in less need for salt.
Then there are little extras such as the care he says is important when selecting ingredients. He chooses flours from one region, butter from another, olive oil another. Meanwhile, hazelnuts are sourced from Piedmont and water is filtered for the doughs.
I asked him for one tip. "Before adding walnuts," he says, "it is best to lightly grill them."
Sometimes we forget that craft bakers over here can be just as discerning, though fewer in number and receiving far less support from local communities.
In the UK, businesses such as Greggs face totally different challenges (pg 4). The company’s dynamic record of success has to be maintained, but in light of recent results it is set to trial a number of changes from shop formats to longer opening hours. Sir Michael Darrington is very positive and sensible to opt for trials first. But with Food to Go a way of life, the longer hours could prove a success.
I am delighted to learn that Glenn Bancroft of Bakesense has bought Oakdale Bakeries’ sites in Doncaster and Wigan - and saved 247 jobs (pg 5). I remember Glenn from his days at Asda when he was always excellent at new ideas, helping to drive the business forward. Now he is taking on the biggest challenge of his career and we wish him well.
Talking of new challenges, have you ever thought of taking on sandwich chains such as Quiznos at their own game and franchising out your bakery? William Stephens of Dunfermline has done just that. Find out more on pg 18.
And as we follow our two students on their trip to the Richemont School we share their joy in learning about the use of egg whites, gelatines, creams and alcohol (14).
Speaking of alcohol, Grand Marnier is one product that suits ’indulgence’ products and treats to a T (pg 25) or should that be a tot?