Monday, July 18, 2005

Manager's Birthday 

Manager's Birthday is Friday, and we've been designing a new cake to celebrate.

It's a dark chocolate cake spiced Scandinavian style, almost a gingerbread, sliced into thin layers and stacked alternately with sour cherries and a rich chocolate mousse. The whole cake will be coated in a swirling tri-chocolate ganache, garnished with chocolate dipped cherries and sugared white rose petals to look like cherry blossoms.

A number of local people have been invited to share the cake, and see if it will be the success we expect it to be.

On the investment front, there are two possibilities we're exploring right now.

And there are other options waiting in the wings for their time.

We haven't given up on opening the Cracked Cauldron, we're re-grouping.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Upcoming Bakery Trends 

Now, like all predictions, I could be wrong. That happens.

However, since we were mostly right about the baking trends we predicted more than a year ago, we thought we'd take a stab at it again.

What do we predict people will want to buy at bakeries in the next year or so?


Not the monster cookies that take a dozen people to eat just one, but the small, single bite sized ones. Freshly baked and still warm, preferably, but still baked within the last hour or two. People will buy small bags of these as snacks and as small rewards for work tasks completed. While many will be the simple drop cookies like the ever-popular chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, the trend will be towards the fancy tiny cookies - the pinwheels, the checkerboards, the stained glass window style cookie, the filled cookies like the hamentaschen and fudge tarts.

Remember that fad at flea markets 10-15 years ago where people with small donut machines set up and cranked out donuts by the dozens - teeny bite sized donuts hot and fresh? That's going to make a come-back. Not with us, because we don't do donuts, but we'll be seeing more of the mini-donuts.

Rustic pies. Especially individually portioned rustic pies that can be eaten in less than 4 bites. They'll be filled with a creative blend of fruits, with cheeses, chocolate, and even vegetables or meats. Look for tiny, open-faced chicken pot pies topped with melted sharp cheddar, or little topless beef pies garnished with an elegant spiral of scallion among the cherry rhubarb pies garnished with a chocolate swirl and the peach pecan pies with a bumble bee pastry cutout. Bitsy little rustic pies.

Ethnic breads, lots of ethnic breads from all around the world - Finnish ryes beside Puerto Rican Corn bread, Ethiopean honeybread and Mexican tortillas, Japanese rice bread and Gaboobo bread, and more. These breads will come in the traditional 1 and 2 pound loaves, as well as the new half pound loaves - 6-8 slices of full sized bread, just enough for a single preson to eat before the fresh bread goes stale or moldy.

Exotic breads - new artisan creations, often filled with herbs, vegetables, nuts, fruits, and/or cheeses - again in the smaller half pound loaves. These breads will use the more uncommon grains such as spelt and quinoa.

Viennoiseries - small yeast raised sweet breads filled with fruits and nuts in pretty shapes.

Herbal blends of teas will combine with fruits and selzer or carbonation for custom designed beverages, and chocolate will be a favorite flavor in many beverages from sodas to fruit juices. Chocolate will also become a year-round beverage, from the rich Aztec-style drinking chocolates to the custom blended hot or cold cocoas. Expect a chocolate cheese beverage to be a raging success.

In-store bakeries and small bakeries with live music or mini-art festivals will increase in popularity.

Large bakeries will begin making more profits as they adapt to more modern tastes, going with "hearth" style breads and using fewer chemical additives.

Unfortunately, soy will continue to find its way into many bakery products. This will make the small bakeries even more important, as their breads aren't mass produced by the thousands of loaves a day, and the bakers can easily adjust their recipes to accommodate people with allergies.

So, I suppose, in a year, we'll see how well these predictions and trends bear out.

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