While planning for Christmas is in full swing, Gerhard turns his attention back to summer and the strawberry creations flying out of the door.

Where has the year gone? Glossy magazines have started knocking on our door looking for Christmas ideas. ‘Christmas in July’ is a well-known launch date in the retail and publishing industry diary. Gone are the days when we got away with baking the fruit cakes in August, before going into a bit of an autumnal slumber and then cranking up the mince pie production in December.

In order to get ready for this Christmas, we were brainstorming ideas between Valentine’s Day and Easter and have been experimenting with colour schemes and final looks ever since. Top of the list, as always, will be mince pies, but it is ‘the stuff that surrounds them’, to paraphrase Wallpaper magazine, that gives each Christmas its specific look. Much like couture fashion, it’s the catwalk that makes the headline, but the perfume that rolls in the profits.

After last year’s Persian-inspired Christmas Bazaar with fondant-iced cakes in rich-coloured tones and opulent fruit cakes laden with gilded stars and truffles, we will be ‘toning it down’ for this year’s festivities. This much I can reveal: our colours will be red, ivory and white — the ribbons are already being printed! London serves as the inspiration around our decorations: famous buildings, traditional street furniture, and iconic graphics have inspired our cake decorators and will be given an appropriate festive or wintry treatment.

First, we have the summer ahead of us and anything involving strawberries seems to be flying off the shelves. Our customer have fallen in love with one particular cake – so far the season’s top seller – baked in one of those brown parchment tulip cups. Not a muffin though, something superior and divine. No picnic accompanying an opera or musical festival should be without one. The act of selling might appear to be a theatrical performance in itself, but by golly the sales spiel sure gets results, as follows:

Sales assistant: “Strawberry Heaven, did I mention it before? Please forgive me, it’s so delicious, I keep going on about it.

We all love it. In fact I have to constantly try it – what a chore! Just to make sure it’s always executed to perfection.

It features everything that is good about British baking: a base of wheat-free almond sponge, topped with a layer of meringue, baked to a delicate softness, releasing lovely caramel tastes in the meringue’s outer skin. And there’s more: it’s then filled with a soft white cloud of double cream and topped with red ripe strawberries and finished with a delicate sprinkling of toasted almonds.
Oh – I had mentioned it before? It’s irresistible isn’t it?
Really, you would like one – that’s very nice. Oh you want me to make it a box of four? Tremendous, your friends will love you forever!”
(To the sound of a ringing till)

Customer: “What a pleasure, thank you!”

Customer and sales assistant exit, both with smiles on their faces.
Everyone is happy. It can’t get better then that. If you have a product that is a hit, you cannot mention it often enough. Try it, and watch the ripple effect as sales progress exponentially. Here’s to a great summer.