Welcoming Spring in 2022 - For everyone working with chocolate
Shrug off the winter blues and open up to the spring breeze because the natural world around you is about to get very busy - as are you.
Fresh flavour pairings are set to shake your taste buds out of hibernation, with packaging beautiful enough to make an April shower feel like a stroll in May.
The time is now, and we’re here to help you step into spring with style!
In Season (It’s the new Vogue)
Calling all bakers and dessert enthusiasts!
Anyone who’s been present on the internet over the last 10 years knows that we as consumers are now, more than ever, actively conscious about the impact our daily habits have on our planet.
In fact, 87% of us expect companies and businesses to invest in sustainability.
So, don’t worry, we won’t lecture you about it.
What we will say, though, is that, in the world of chocolate, ‘sustainability’ is the word on everyone’s lips for 2022, and we’re here for it.
Don’t worry, no one’s expecting you to fly out to Colombia or Ghana, and change the world (although you absolutely should if you want to). But, there’s at least one very lucrative thing you can do from your kitchen this year to put you on the right side of history.
Eat it In Season
What we mean by that is using fresh produce that’s naturally growing to harvest in your country, in that particular season.
For someone living in the UK, consuming within season might seem like it could be restrictive at first, but, trust us, it’s not.
What it is, is reconnecting with Britain’s natural cycles and giving the organic British farming industry some much-needed love and support.
- Better for the planet, as you’re completely cutting out the amount of CO2 emitted from shipping fruit and veg from origin -> to packaging -> to supermarket.
- Fresher, tastier and healthier.
- Allowing our UK-acclimatised bodies to receive the nutrients we need at certain times of the year, grown from the land we rely on to live.
For bakers and pâtisserie chefs, March opens up a little treasure trove of flavours previously hidden from us over the winter months.
Around this time of year, as any allotment enthusiast will tell you, you can expect a yield of fresh, clean tasting vegetables, such as leek, cucumber, spring onions, watercress, artichoke, carrots, and beetroots.
Over on the sweeter side of things, apples, rhubarb and pears take centre stage.
So, let’s start with…
And, in the spirit of welcoming spring, let’s keep it as light as we can!
- The first recipe to catch our eye for this month was British Michelin star chef, Nigel Mendham’s, orchard apples tarte tatis, sorbet and parfait, with sweet gingerbread crumbs. A complex balance of sugary sweetness and organic acidity, with a sprinkle of earthy spice.
It’s a challenging recipe, but what an inspiration!
- The second recipe we came across, that we will 100% be making this month, is a chocolate apple crisp recipe by Paula, baker of over 30 years and parent of the Vintage Kitchen blog.
Look, yes, we did say we’d keep it as light as we could, but who can resist the tantalising lure of a soul-warming, chocolatey apple crumble? Not us!
You either love it, or you hate it. But, you can’t deny, it’s very British.
- Concept no.1, nice and simple, rhubarb and dark chocolate brownies with walnuts. For all our brownie bakers out there, this would be a good challenge to sink your teeth into!
As rhubarb has a very tart taste that some people tend to dislike, the secret lies in the balance of sugar and bitter dark chocolate - we’d recommend a 60-70% C/S.
- Concept no.2, an absolutely delightful colour-mash, white chocolate mousse with poached rhubarb.
You’d want this one to be quite sweet and vanilla-y to balance out the tart rhubarb. A really high-quality white chocolate, such as the Callebaut W2 or the Carma White Nuite Blanche would be just right.
You wouldn’t be hard-pressed to find a heavy, autumnal recipe for pears, so let's do something fresh and different for welcoming spring.
- Recipe no.1 for inspiration this month is Daniel Galmiche’s gorgeous sous vide poached pear and lemongrass, with bitter dark chocolate mousse, and coriander flaked biscuit.
Aromatic and decadent, we’d definitely use something similar to the Carma Black Zabuye 83% Dark for this recipe - both for its bitter taste, and its intensely black and smooth aesthetic. Or, if we didn’t want to go as bitter for the mousse, Power 41 would complement the dessert very nicely.
- Recipe no.2 (and the final recipe for this month’s ‘Eat in Season’ issue) Olive Magazine’s pear tarte tatin.
A French classic with ripe British pears, what more could you want?
Serve warm with a scoop of gelato to capture the hearts of customers old and new. Perfection!
Flavours & Pairings - Trends for Spring
This one’s for you, chocolatiers!
When it comes to finding new flavours to pair with your chocolates, in-season produce is one organic way of going about it, but, for chocolatiers, your shelf life wouldn’t be fantastic. So, sometimes it can be beneficial to let flavouring drops lead the way.
The data is showing that, after two years of uncertainty, limited freedom and limited living, consumers are desperate for new experiences - and that includes adventures of the palate.
We’ve selected a handful of on-trend flavours, and paired them with some fantastic chocolates that will make your consumers’ senses feel alive again!
Do you dare to pair?
- Citrus Fruits - Lemon, lime, clementine, grapefruit, yuzu.
With 44% of consumers expressing that citrus flavours make them feel more uplifted and energetic, what better flavour for spring!
Citrus provides a clean, refreshing, punchy taste that, if paired correctly, can work in balanced harmony with chocolate.
White chocolate is a no-brainer for citrus fruits as its creamy, sweet taste profile is able to soften the sharpness of, say, lemon, just the same as it balances out bitter flavours such as lime or grapefruit.
But high-quality sweet milk chocolate, or a bitter dark, can really be divine when paired with sweet clementines and orange.
- Green Fruits - Apples, cucumber, watermelon.
Yes, cucumber is a fruit!
We’re so happy green fruits are trending, they hold such fresh, clean flavours that balance the thickness of chocolate wonderfully.
Green fruits are usually best suited to milk chocolates. The berry bitterness of dark chocolate can clash with the unique acidity of green fruits (which can be very unpleasant for most people) while the intense milkiness of white chocolate can throw off the aromas in the opposite direction.
Milk chocolate is a perfect, harmonious middle-ground for these fruits.
- Floral Flavours - Cherry blossom, hibiscus, lavender, lilac, geranium, orchid.
A gorgeous bunch of florist flowers will last you between 7-12 days at most. Chocolate, on the other hand? Months. We know which one we’d go for… probably both. :)
So, why not provide the best of both worlds? Floral flavours are never what your consumers expect, but are always a pleasant surprise.
Delicate but notable, floral tonalities offer an exclusive, aromatic experience. You can use the physical flower as an edible garnish for your savoury dishes and desserts, much like other herbs, or use flavouring drops to directly influence your sweet treats as a staple ingredient.
The best thing you can do with florals is to try them first and get an idea of their unique flavours. If you’re planning on using them in, or alongside, chocolate, we’d recommend a sweet, creamy white chocolate to complement the herbaceous flavours, and allow the physical plant’s natural colours to pop!
A little something for everyone...
Here at Keylink, we do love experimenting with packaging. With so many themes, colours, textures, inserts, ribbons and other such decorations to play with, how could you not?
We’d liken product packaging to flower arranging - you want to convey a theme, a feeling, a message through your packaging.
If a consumer is buying something for someone else, yes, they want it to be aesthetically pleasing, but they also want it to say something. It’s called ‘visual language’, ladies and gents, and it’s important!
So, with that said, where to start?
Keeping up with the Curve
Packaging is actually more complex than you’d think. With so many components and variables to choose from, it can sometimes feel a little overwhelming when, actually, it should be a lot of fun!
Now, you can go down the simplistic, route and opt for either white or black packaging, with silver/gold hot foil blocking, and call it a day.
But, as we’re welcoming spring, what about something a little bolder?
One way we like to ‘keep up with the curve’, as it were, is to take cues from the high fashion industry - couverture chocolate is a very stylish product, after all. We ask ourselves, ‘which colours will we be seeing a lot of next season in fashion, what kinds of textures?’
Let’s have a look at a few colour trends for our springtime packaging.
An unapologetically vibrant, loud colour that will always stand out from the crowd is hot pink.
With a touch of gold hot foil blocking and the right ribbon, hot pink can give you all the chic sophistication of a quiet, soft tone of cream. But, and you have to admit, it’s a lot more fun!
It oozes warmth and passion, perfect for a box full of your most experimental flavour pairings.
Soft, dreamy, beautiful - lilac is a staple for the fashion industry this spring.
Not only can you make gorgeous dresses and jumpers out of it, but you can also wrap your chocolates in it. It’s a great colour to use for a gift to a loved one or to see popping through the contents of a Mother’s Day hamper.
Salted Caramel and Cocoa Tones
A colour that will never go out of style, and can be used, pretty much, all year round.
Whilst experimenting with putting together Easter egg packaging a month or two ago, a salted caramel satin ribbon and matching curling ribbon caught our eye. The finished product was lovely to behold, the salted caramel satin gave the product an elegant, warm finish.
We’d highly recommend!
We’ve always found a scarlet red to be punchy, sensual and expensive - which is probably why it’s such a staple, every year.
Scarlet red is the kind of red that doesn’t necessarily need any trimmings.
Just a simple, rigid, textured box and lid, in scarlet red, maybe a little paper tissue lining the inside, with your brand logo hot foiled front and centre, would absolutely be enough.
You’ll see a lot of yellows over springtime - be that in fashion, packaging, home furniture catalogues or clustered amongst the flower beds of your garden.
Canary yellow is bold, carefree, and sunny, a sure-fire way of catching the eye of pedestrians walking past your shop window! It’s a colour that makes you feel lighter, more energetic, and it looks absolutely brilliant on Easter packaging.
Very much the kind of colour that reminds us of a relaxed, contented sigh!.
A box in a sky or turquoise blue would be the perfect place to house a selection of your more subtle flavour pairings. Any shade of chocolate would be set off nicely by this soft hue of blue, and it’s perfect for Easter, weddings, baby showers and random gifts of kindness.
And that’s all for now, folks!
We hope you’ve found some inspiration over the course of this blog post. We’re super excited to see all the unique and creative ways our chocolatiers, bakers, patisserie chefs, and everyone in between, welcome spring into their business.
For more ideas, chocolate and packaging, make sure to follow us on our socials!
Until next time,