Richemont Club hears from an Italian master

first_imgAn audience of 75 members from the British branch of the Richemont Club witnessed a recent demonstration of Italian baking by international president Piergiorgio Giorilli.The master baker, consul-tant and lecturer made 14 different products, of which the ciabatta and Mediterranean breads were particularly approved. To British eyes the dough for the ciabatta seemed remarkably wet, but it yielded a much more open texture and an excellent flavour.Three different flavours of focaccia were also demonstrated, as were breads with chocolate and figs and with pumpkin and walnuts.The demonstration was held at the premises of Martins Bakery in Manchester and was complemented by a buffet of Italian meats and antipasti.A visit to Slattery’s Bakery followed the next day, where exchange courses between Italy and England were arranged.last_img read more

Skeltons buyer sought

first_imgAdministrators say the AC Skelton & Sons bakery business will continue to operate as normal as a search for a buyer gets under way.Hull-based Skeltons, which has 43 shops, called in administrators on March 27, blaming supermarket competition and a recent significant increase in energy costs.Adminstrators Mark Loftus and Edward Klempka of PricewaterhouseCoopers said that following six years of continuous trading losses, the directors had no alternative but to appoint administrators.The administrators said they expect it will take four to six weeks to find a buyer. Until that time, all employees and suppliers will be paid in full on the normal dates.Skeltons employs around 670 people at its bakery and in 43 retail outlets, including eight cafés in Hull. The company also supplies a range of contract products to supermarkets, airlines and foodservice customers – a side it added to its business in 1999.Skeltons, founded in 1931, was ranked number 24 in British Baker’s Top 50 Bakery Retailers list, published in January. Speaking to British Baker before the list was published, MD Malcolm Skelton said the company planned to develop the wholesale side of its business in 2007. It was to start by supplying four Asda supermarkets with Skeltons’ branded products in February.Skelton said stepping up the wholesale business would allow it to make use of capacity at its bakery throughout the day. The company already supplied Weight Wat- chers’ products to the supermarkets through Anthony Alan Foods.On the retail side of the business, Skeltons had planned to launch a new café concept in spring.At the time, Skelton said the list made him feel nostalgic, as his chain was the only bakery based in Hull, down from 23 chains in the city in the 1960s.The months since the Top 50 list was published have been unsettling times for many on it: a strategic review continues at Lyndale Foods (ranked number 7); Welsh chain Ferrari’s Bakery (number 15) has been bought out of administration; and sandwich chain Benjy’s (number 20) has been broken up by administrators.last_img read more

MPs post Motion to keep UK rules on bread weights

first_imgMPs have started a campaign in Westminister to exclude the UK from EU moves to abolish standard-size British bread loaves.So far, 16 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion, tabled by MP for Banbury Tony Baldry, in response to concerns raised by a constituent who works at Fine Lady Bakeries in Banbury. The Motion says the MPs believe that rules on the weight of pre-packaged bread are a valuable protection for consumers, as there is no guide price on bread. And it calls on government to support the Federation of Bakers (FoB) by seeking an exemption for bread under the Directive.FoB director Gordon Polson told British Baker that the FoB was grateful for the support of the MPs, saying: “This will help raise awareness, but the decision will be taken in Europe, with a vote expected around the end of April or May.”In 2004, the European Commission proposed the abolition of national and Community rules determining sizes in which consumer staple products can be sold.last_img read more

A world apart

first_imgItaly is renowned worldwide for its gastronomy and that gastronomy is part of our history, culture and tradition,” says Davide Nardini, vice-president of the Council for the Province of Ferrara. “Here in Italy, food is an expression of our cultural heritage,” adds Carlo Alberto Roncarati, president of the Chamber of Commerce. “Each area has its own history and intrinsic character. You can see that even in our bread and, if you don’t protect it, you lose your identity, you lose what sets you apart.”These comments underline a much wider debate – one that is taking place both in Italy and across Europe. The debate’s starting point dates back to 1992, when the EU introduced the Protected Food Name (EUPFN) scheme. This originated as a mechanism to protect, by legislation, particular product names linked either to territory or to a production method. The aim of the scheme was threefold: to encourage diverse agricultural production; to protect quality products from inferior imitation; and to provide consumers with more informed choice and a better guarantee of quality.In Italy, the scheme has met with an enthusiastic reception. Almost 160 food products have successfully attained one of the three scheme designations – Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) or Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) – with many more applications in the pipeline (only France comes close, with 152). The list includes household names such as Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Parmesan cheese and Parma ham. There are currently three breads in the designated directory. Most famous, perhaps, and the first bread product in Europe to have achieved PDO status, is Pane di Altamura. Also included are the Pane Casareccio di Genzano and the Coppia Ferrarese, both with PGI status.The long road to PGIAt the Fiera Liberamente 2008 (literally Free-Time Fair), held in early March in the city of Ferrara in Emilia Romagna, senior local government executives responsible for promoting Ferrara’s PGI status bread and some of the bakers responsible for baking it explained how the consortium took the decision to embark on the time-consuming and, at times, tortuous process to gain protected designation status. The answer lies, at least in part, in the place that food generally holds in Italian society.Maria Chiara Ronchi, director of tourism initiatives, noted: “Historical cities are not just founded on their monuments, but also on their gastronomy.” In other words, in Italy, gastronomy and place are synonymous. Italians think of Ferrara and they think both of its Renaissance architecture (which, incidentally, holds UNESCO World Heritage status) and its bread! Recognition of Ferrara’s distinctive bread, vice-president Nardini suggests, in some small way goes towards attracting some of the estimated eight million home-bred ’gastro-tourists’, who wander annually throughout the country.Mario Partigiani, president of the FIESA Bakers’ Association (a national organisation), and proprietor of one of the province’s 300-odd artisan bakeries, was more pragmatic. “If the product you make is transportable or exportable,” he said, “the benefits can be significant.”One does not have to look far to see what he means: both Parma ham and cheese come from the same region. But unfortunately, Coppia Ferrarese does not travel so well. It’s a fragile bread and besides, if it were refrigerated at any stage in the process, it would lose its PGI status. But the problems do not end once your product has achieved designated status, Partigiani explains. “Perhaps the greatest difficulty lies in policing. Because bread is a low-cost product, the expense of policing your status can be difficult to bear.”The EU scheme does not make provision for the cost of policing a product’s protected status. This must be borne by the producers involved. While for a product such as Parma ham the cost might well be considered acceptable (even feasible), for a provincial product such as Coppia Ferrarese, this issue is undoubtedly more problematic. Notwithstanding this particular downside, support for the scheme in Italy remains high, with nearly 160 products designated and a further 80 applications awaiting approval.Lukewarm receptionHere in the UK, the EUPFN scheme has met with a more lukewarm reception. Even Irene Bocchetta, manager of Food from Britain, the UK body responsible for handling applications made by producers, admits that “at the moment [the scheme] is really low on the radar”. As yet, only 36 products have been designated in the UK and the British baking industry has only just staked its first claims: Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, which were the first to cross the finish line, with their 2004 application recently approved; and Cornish Pasties, which are awaiting Defra backing for an application.But why the UK response has been so different to that in countries such as Italy and France is difficult to say. It’s a complex issue, Bocchetta explains. Producer, retailer, consumer and media awareness are all equally important, but to different degrees lacking at the moment. Part of the problem, she suggests, is an inherent reluctance in the bakery world to share recipes. As individuals are not eligible to apply for protected status, the onus is on expert groups to come together, agree on a historical precedent as well as an original recipe and then submit an application. Yet herein lie a number of potential sticking points. Historical precedents are prone to dispute and methods can, and do, vary from one baker to the next.On these matters, artisan baker and author Dan Lepard, who is writing a history of British baking, has reservations on both the issues of origin and method. He cites the example of Cornish pasties. Can you really award ’Cornish’ pasties special status when there is emerging evidence that the earliest recipe can be found across the river in Devon (tinyurl.com/3oz4b4)? On methods of production, Lepard says there are four or five traditional methods of making Eccles Cakes, for example. “They’re all correct, none of them are wrong,” he adds.Lepard’s argument is that generic products such as this have been made all over the country for such a long time, that it is too late now to introduce a special status, which might only benefit a limited number of producers and possibly disadvantage others. It is not that he is opposed to the scheme – in fact, he welcomes any mechanism that might afford a level of protection to smaller groups of artisan bakers. But he believes it is wrong “to enshrine in legislation” one particular method over another without conclusive weight of evidence.So how might the EUPFN scheme benefit UK bakers? Inevitably, more baked goods will soon follow in the path of Melton Mowbray Pies. The debate is set to continue and although it’s likely to become heated, surely, at the very least, there must be potential to raise the flag of the UK’s rich and diverse heritage in this field.Returning to Italy, one thing is clear: Italians are proud of their bread and are not afraid to shout its heritage from the bell towers. In Ferrara, the Coppia Ferrarese has been symbolic of the city and its history for centuries and few would dispute its claim to designated protected status. Indeed, in some small way, the Coppia is what sets this city apart.—-=== The EUPFN (EU Protected Food Name) scheme ===Started in 1992-3, the scheme aims:* To encourage diverse agricultural production* To protect product names from misuse and imitation* To help consumers by giving them information concerning the specific character of the productsThere are 3 designations1. PDO – Protected Designation of Origin: this covers foodstuffs that are produced, processed and prepared in a given geographical area, using recognised knowhow.2. PGI – Protected Geographical Indication: covers products where the geographical link occurs in at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation. Also, the product must have a good reputation or historical pedigree dating back at least 25 years.3. TSG – Traditional Speciality Guaranteed: does not refer to the origin but highlights traditional character, either in the composition or means of production.For more information on the EUPFN scheme see: tinyurl.com/5yfl4z—-=== The making of Coppia Ferrarese ===Ferrara Coppia is a type of bread in the shape of two ribbons of dough, knotted together, with the ends twisted to form a fan with four spokes. Records of this bread date back to 1287, with city statutes compelling city bakers to produce bread in the shape of scrolls. The history of Coppia is well-documented and intertwined with the history of the city. Coppia obtained PGI status in 2001. To qualify, the bread must be made within the province and cannot be refrigerated at any stage during the process. The dough must be cooked directly on stone, composed only of natural ingredients with no chemicals added, and weigh between 80-230g. Today there are over 300 bakeries in the Province of Ferrara, mostly small family-run operations, producing over 500 tons of Coppia every year.—-=== Gingerbread wars: coming to blows over trademarks and protected status ===The sleepy village of Grasmere in the Lake District is the scene of an almighty battle over rights to naming a traditional local product, writes Andrew Williams. Café Williams and Sara Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread have come to blows over the issue of rights to the name, claims Steve Bell of Café Williams, who fears one larger producer would monopolise a local product.Bell says he stumbled upon a trademark application, lodged by Sara Nelson’s, on the internet. He is fighting the application as he claims it would give one company sole rights to the name Grasmere Gingerbread. With a trademark in place, its owner could sell it to a larger company; claim ’passing off’ if another firm sells gingerbread in Grasmere; and even move its production out of the region. Bell is advocating EU protected status instead. But objecting has been costly, with thousands spent in legal fees.”My main concern about this application is that it gives them sole right to what is a village legacy,” he says. “They could, for example, sell the name, then prevent it from being made in the village by another. I advise anyone who makes a local food to keep one eye on the IPO website for such applications. I would love a regional status and I still hope that a local solution can be found that ensures this product remains in Grasmere.”But Andrew Hunter of Sara Nelson’s insists protected status is not the answer. “Grasmere Gingerbread is different in that it has been exclusively produced by one single establishment, namely The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop in Grasmere, for more than 150 years. It’s not a regional name used widely by a number of producers. To allow this would result in The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop giving up its hard-earned reputation and goodwill, established over many decades of producing a consistent and premium-level product.”last_img read more

Coffee Republic goes into administration

first_imgUK coffee chain Coffee Republic (UK) Limited has gone into administration alongside Coffee Republic Franchising and Goodbean Ltd, following the suspension of its shares yesterday. Richard Hill and David Crawshaw of KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators of the coffee bar and deli chains. The company’s shares were then temporarily suspended on Monday 6 July, after the board of Coffee Republic requested their suspension pending clarification of the financial position of certain subsidiaries, including Coffee Republic (UK). The holding company, Coffee Republic plc, is not in administration.“Coffee Republic has a strong brand and I expect considerable interest in the profitable parts of the business. We will be doing whatever we can to find a buyer for the residual business as a going concern as quickly as possible, so interested parties will have to be prepared to move fast,” commented Hill.Coffee Republic was founded in 1995 and currently employs 153 staff. It operates a total of 187 coffee bars in the UK and 10 international locations, including Ireland, Turkey and Romania. Twenty of these outlets are owned by Coffee Republic (UK) and 70 are franchised through Coffee Republic Franchising. A further 97 concessions operate within cinemas, retail outlets and hotels throughout the UK.The administrators are currently assessing the outlets on a case-by-case basis, and are expecting inevitable job losses through the closure of loss-making stores.Coffee Republic plc has seen year-on-year growth and signed its first franchising agreement in 2005. It also made a number of acquisitions, including the Goodbean chain.last_img read more

Mama’s plans for winter

first_imgNational Cupcake Week’s overall recipe champion Mama’s Cupcakes has launched a new winter range, including its competition-winning Black Forest variety a chocolate sponge laced with kirsch and glacé cherries.Also in the range is My Christmas Cupcake a fruit cake with sherry-soaked fruit, nuts and cherries, topped with marzipan, royal icing and sugared decorations; My Forest Fruit Cheesecake a light vanilla sponge topped with a swirl of white chocolate cheesecake and centred with forest fruits pureé and then topped off with a mix of berries; and My Barbie Cupcake celebrating 50 years of Barbie a pink cherry sponge topped with pink butter cream and edible pink glitter.Prices: (batch of 12) £17.50- £25.50www.mamas-cupcakes.co.uklast_img

Traditionals with a twist Chelsea Buns

first_imgChelsea Buns were originally made in London in the early 1700s. They are a sticky, sweet treat and are either finished with glacé icing or sugar syrup. They usually contain dried vine fruits, mixed peel and mixed spice. The method for Chelsea buns can be used with all sorts of other fillings, both sweet and savoury. This recipe uses almonds and apricots, but you could use chocolate and dried cherries, pecan nuts and dried peach or cranberries and orange. Try making a savoury version using some Parmesan cheese, basil and roasted strips of pepper marinated in garlic flavoured olive oil. The buns can be baked side by side on a baking sheet, so that they have to be pulled apart or baked in a round cake tin. The apricot glaze gives a lovely shine and a sweet, but tangy, finish.Almond and Apricot Chelsea BunsMakes 1215g/½ oz fresh yeast45g/1½ oz caster sugar450g/1lb plain flour, preferably strong5g/1 teaspoon salt45g/1½ oz butter1 egg225ml/7½ fl oz tepid milkGrated zest of 1 orangeFilling:55g/2oz sugar55g/2oz butter, softenedGrated zest of 1 orange1 teaspoon ground cinnamon85g/3oz almonds, chopped85g/3oz dried apricots, choppedApricot glaze1. Cream the yeast with 1 teaspoon of sugar.2. Sift the flour into a warm, dry bowl with the salt. Rub in the butter and stir in the sugar.3. Beat the egg and add to the yeast mixture with the tepid milk and orange zest.4. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the liquid and gradually draw the flour in from the sides of the bowl to make a ball of dough. It should be soft, but not too sticky. Knead for 10 minutes on a floured surface or until smooth and elastic. Put into a clean bowl. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.5. Roll the dough into a square about 23cm/9 inches across.6. Mix the butter with the sugar, orange zest and cinnamon and spread over bun mixture.7. Sprinkle the chopped almonds and apricots over the butter and sugar mixture. Set the oven to 190C.8. Roll it up like a Swiss roll and cut into 3.5cm/½ inch slices.9. Arrange the buns, cut side up, on the baking sheet, side by side, and leave to prove for 15 minutes.10. Bake for 20-25 minutes and brush with apricot glaze while still warm.11. Leave the buns to cool on a wire rack before separating.last_img read more

In Short

first_imgIrish welcome piesPieminister, the Bristol-based pie-maker, said it has had a “really positive” response to the limited product range it has just launched in Ireland. Its first Irish festival was Electric Picnic, where it quickly sold out. Selling through weekly markets and selected food halls and delis, all in the Dublin area, it plans further Irish retail expansion.New line for ButtNottingham bread manufacturer Butt Foods has launched a new product range after receiving £3,800 from the iNet funded by the East Midlands Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. It developed five flavours in its new Big Softy sub roll range and also came up with interactive marketing materials to support the sale of the Big Softy sub rolls into the foodservice, sandwich supplier and retail markets.Fraud alertBakers are being caught out by a fraud that sees them pay for advertising in a non-existent ’Police Crime Prevention Year Book’, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. It said bakers, along with other trades, had paid between £90 and £350 for adverts they hadn’t taken out targeted by fraudsters thought to be based in the Manchester area.Organic not soughtOnly 9% of consumers actively seek out organic product claims, with organic being ranked 27th of 34 commonly ’looked-for’ product claims by UK shoppers, according to a survey by MMR Research Worldwide. It found that claims such as ’healthy’, ’natural’ and ’free of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives’ were up to five times as appealing, and said organic food brands needed to introduce more of the benefits of organic into their message.last_img read more

Nuns appeal to Sen. Braun for safe voting for the elderly

first_img Twitter WhatsApp Pinterest Facebook Twitter Pinterest By Tommie Lee – July 21, 2020 1 1209 CoronavirusIndianaLocalNationalNewsSouth Bend Market Facebook Google+ (Photo supplied/Indiana Senate Republcians) A group of 150 Catholic nuns in Indiana have sent a letter to Senator Mike Braun, expressing their concerns about the upcoming election.The sisters reached out to Braun, who is Catholic, urging him to provide emergency election funding for Indiana in order to make it safer for elderly Hoosiers to vote.They mention the challenges of protecting the elderly during the pandemic, and the need to enable each and every American the oppurtunity to have their voices be heard in November.You can read the letter by clicking here. Google+ WhatsApp Previous articleIndy 500 plan announced for Aug. 23 raceNext articleChoc-Ola making a return throughout Indiana Tommie Lee Nuns appeal to Sen. Braun for safe voting for the elderlylast_img read more

Speech: Supporting self-determination of the people of Western Sahara

first_imgThank you Mr President.The United Kingdom was pleased to vote in favour of this resolution, which we believe sends a strong signal of the support of this Council in three key areas:First, support for de-escalation.Second, support for the continuing work of MINURSO.And finally, supporting the overall goal of progress towards a lasting and mutually acceptable solution that provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.With this goal in mind, we encourage the parties to engage now with a political process in a spirit of realism and compromise. The six-month window provided by the resolution is an opportunity and an indication of the importance the international community attaches to achieving progress. Another indication is the appointment of the new Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General, and the commitment he has already shown in his first months to finding a solution. The United Kingdom strongly supports the efforts of Personal Envoy Koehler, as well as the work of MINURSO and its new head, Mr Colin Stewart. We call on all concerned to engage positively over the coming months, in line with both the spirit and the letter of this resolution.Thank you.last_img read more