A nice chocolate eclair!

This week is all about baked goods…

Apparently, there is going to be a comeback made of chocolate cream eclairs, I distinctly remember that they were one of my mother’s favourites. She used to take us to M&S or Marks and Sparks as it was affectionately known by my mother, to get her the cream eclairs and a Rum Baba, it has to be said that my mother liked a nice cream cake.

On Saturdays, we would be packed in the pram or the car eventually and taken around the shops to get the food for the coming week. It was a routine she had before big supermarkets were the norm, not the one-stop shopping experience we are used to having now. We went to get Pork Pies from the local butchers, the pastry was always cold in the mouth to eat, full of lard probably, I remember the texture still to this day with its slightly crispy pastry. I can still remember queuing and the tiled floor with wood shavings on it with that smell that only butchers seem to have. My sister would be crying in the pram outside, and we would leave with a bag of pork pies and my mother telling her to be quiet.

Next, we would be off to get food from the local Gortin market. Sliced corned beef, fruit and vegetables, and broken biscuits to fill the biscuit tin for my dad who would eat them by the barrel load the following week. Then we would be off to see my grandparents and to get a Sally Lunn from a tiny bakery on the way, you had to get there early otherwise they sold out, the queue out the door. It was a sweet baked loaf, soft and slightly yellow with almond marzipan type fondant swirled through it with almonds sprinkled onto the icing on the top. I’ve never come across them anywhere but from the old bakery in Withington.

When I moved I realised that there were local terms for baked goods, when I moved to Liverpool they had no idea what I meant when I asked for an Oven Bottom, the look on the face of the lady I asked for this bap was classic, and as a student on freshers week she probably thought it was just one of the many pranks that were being played. Depending on where I am Scotch pancakes were drop scones, Stotties were pancakes, Bannock was a Wheaten, potato cakes were potato bread or farls, and floury baps are no longer taken seriously since the Two Ronnies quite frankly, although the origin of the word bap goes back to the 16th century.

Let’s face it the world loves a nice pastry, dessert or baked product, in fact, we love them so much that the worldwide revenue turnover for baked goods is forecast to be worth $540 billion by 2024. Just when you think such a traditional market can’t get any bigger, it’s showing it’s changing with the times and with the health concerns that we have currently, well in some cases.

When I moved to Northern Ireland the supermarkets didn’t stock gluten or dairy free products but in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a change in options available not always for the best sadly but then that’s manufacturing for you. The surge in market increase recently has been in these very goods that I would suggest you eat instead of the white refined ones. Gluten free, healthy, natural, and organic, there is a rise in consumption in bread again, and this is interestingly because of bringing freshly baked bread into the local convenience stores in Europe.

This was an innovation as we know from the supermarkets, that had semi-baked goods ready to be baked as fresh on the premises. The smell of freshly baked bread lets face it is hard to resist, the supermarkets know a great marketing gimmick and it’s shown to work. The olfactory system I’ve found can’t resist freshly baked bread because it’s triggering an emotional reaction. When my mother used to make it, she used to complain of how it never lasted long enough. We would have had her make it every day, her cakes were the same, I would still fight you for her Victoria Sandwich! I would win..I’m just saying!

The increase in the goods freshly baked in the store is mainly in Europe, but the fastest rise in baked goods is in Asia where they are shunning rice for wheat, so potentially they will be seeing some of the same issues health-wise in a few years that we have in Europe and the US.

When I was reading the trends with baked goods it’s actually acknowledged that one of the key drivers behind their growth is stress, yes they know that when you are stressed you eat more! They know that when people are more stressed it drives the desire for premium designer baked goods to soothe emotional issues. Hence the eclair will be making a comeback but as a premium designer eclair apparently.

They know that when emotions trigger the ingredients don’t have to be clean, gluten and guilt free etc. they just have to hit the emotional spot and be sweet. In the indulgence share of the market, ingredients matter less and the end product in regards to just being able to indulge and how it tastes is what matters most. In other words for a section of those eating baked goods, they are not bothered about whether it’s healthy just that it’s sweet! I think we all know those moments although I’m suggesting that if it’s emotional that mindfulness and Bach’s flower remedies may be helpful if not to just slow down the calorific intake!

I thought it was interesting reading about cake trends, fondants are making a comeback, shabby chic will be an influence as will pastels! Fashions happen in all markets I learned, and it’s looking more that soon as a vegan I will be able to have my cake and eat it!

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