Confectionery in 2018: beautiful, healthy and delicious
The festive season is upon us: a time of course for sweetmeats of every kind, although pastry is now in the spotlight all year round. So, as 2017 comes to an end the question arises as to what global trends we will see in the coming year. Instagram and food design, health or dietary issues and new flavours and crossovers are the main themes that will guide pastry-making, according to the specialist (and indeed non-specialist) international press.
Attention will turn in particular to chocolate, recently dubbed “the new caviar” by Madame Cuisine in the French daily Le Figaro, suggesting a glorious future for the “food of the gods”. Now it is all about controlled-origin cocoa beans, quality ingredients and artisanal chocolates, in addition to viewable production processes and guides to the best chocolatiers (as heralded by France’s Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat).
As for desserts, the American publication Restaurant News reports four likely trends identified by four well-known pastry chefs: the new pink colour for chocolate, which, having done the rounds of the social networks looks set to go mainstream as restaurant kitchens start to use it for mousses and creams. But the focus will also be on consistency, with the introduction of anything from jelly-like and powdery textures to effervescence – all with the aim of turning traditional recipes into something more exciting and unexpected.
On the special diets front, even the more exclusive confectionery concerns will be doing more experimental research, as pastry chefs try out recipes involving alternative milks, sugars and flours.
Baking and pastry-making generally need to do more to cater to the more responsible approach consumers are taking to the things they buy, with a greater insistence on the origins of ingredients and the way crops are grown and animals reared: operators will need to communicate more about the ethical correctness of their activities.
In addition to this – as we noticed at the last edition of HostMilano – there will be a big return to everything vintage: to ancient, “original” flavours. In 2018 it looks as if bread baking will be going in search of lost flavours, as America’s Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel announced. “Although we’ve seen the explosion of gluten-free in the last few years, the traditional side of bread-baking has also been elevated by the same sourcing and fine-tuned production processes we have seen with proteins and vegetables. Bakers returning to traditional production methods and the use of high-quality grains will find favour with consumers.” And then there are the options that offer those all-important health benefits. Bread will go in two directions: either high-end and artisanal, or low-carb and high-protein, with a view to satisfying the demand for health-promoting foods.
Finally, on the subject of confectionery, the BBC predicts that 2018 will be a great year for herbal and green teas with a flowering of new specialised tea shops and hipster-oriented tearooms, where the focus will be very much on the quality and variety of the products on offer. This goes hand in hand with the boom in artisanal bakeries and pastry shops: formats that are already being seen in New York (Brooklyn) and London. The idea of including a tea shop (or coffee shop) corner in bakeries could well be the next big thing – also here in Italy.
Photo by Abhinav Goswami/Pexels.