Christmas is a special time for everyone, but for pastry chefs and chocolate artisans everywhere, it is the high season of the year, according to Veliche™ Gourmet Ambassador Chef Peter Remmelzwaal. In his experience, that’s when the workload is highest, but it also brings a unique opportunity to show off your creativity. You can dream up all kinds of flavours and designs for everything from patisserie to cakes and ice cream – but thinking ahead is an essential ingredient for success.
So how to best prepare for the Christmas period? Peter shares some tips:
Coming up with ideas takes place months before the end of the year. “Often, we’ll be organising photo shoots for our Christmas specialities during the summer, while everyone else is on the beach! It’s vital to start planning on time. The better your preparations, the easier it is to ensure you have all your ingredients on time. Determine what parts of a creation you can prepare in advance, and determine how long you can keep certain prepared elements in storage without losing flavour or consistency.”
Don’t worry about calories
Peter points out the fact that many recent food trends don’t seem to make their way to the festive season. “People are increasingly conscious of what they eat, but when the end of the year comes round, they are definitely much less interested in a healthy, low-carb, calorie-restricted diet! So there’s no need to restrict yourself!”
There is, however, one trend that endures all year round: critical consumerism, says Peter. “People read labels and want to know the products they’re eating are ethically sourced. That’s definitely worth pointing out.” For that reason, Veliche™ only source cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms.
Stick to the classics
“People are looking for traditional, time-honoured delicacies. You can add an interesting twist, but don’t get too experimental! We once tried adding blue accents to a dish, but that wasn’t a huge success. You can add decorative accents, or flavour accents to classic recipes.” Take a look at all our Christmas recipes here!
Keep an eye on the meal
Another important recommendation is making sure that whatever you create fits in with the dining experience in its entirety. “The last thing guests will want after a large meal is an enormous, heavy, overly rich-tasting dessert, for example. Keep that in mind when picking ingredients and deciding on portion sizes. I’ve created desserts using a light milk chocolate-flavoured mousse, or with chocolate and cherries. This is less sweet and has a nice tangy flavour, and isn’t too filling.”
Keep it simple
Nobody wants to get too stressed out in the kitchen at Christmas. “Don’t get too ambitious – there are various things you can do to add festive touch in a very simple way, such as using a sieve to create powdered sugar snow. What’s more, using just a small amount of Veliche™ Gourmet’s Hazelnut Praliné paste adds a very rich, exclusive taste to your creations, thanks to its 65% of hazelnut”.
As a passionate chef, you would like to use only the very best ingredients in your creations. Veliche™ Gourmet is a brand with a strong heritage in producing fine quality Belgian chocolate. Our range of chocolate and cocoa products is rich in character, complex in flavour, remarkably workable and 100% sustainable.
We’d love to hear how you’ve used the tips shared above. Want to find out how our highly workable chocolates can make things easier for you around Christmas? Try them for yourself now! Take a look at our full range here and check out our range of festive recipes!