Given today’s tastes, trends and prevailing culinary winds, what themes dominate upscale desserts: Rustic or refined? Fresh-and-fruity vs. rich-and-gooey? Local vs. global?
Today’s trends are not as distinct as rich vs. fruity or rustic vs. refined. Current trends are a combination of many things; often customers’ new sophistication with food industry has caused a demand for combinations of attributes. Nostalgic desserts still live in the market place but now receive some creative twists. Such classics as Carrot Cake, Coconut and Chocolate desserts are still popular and live beyond their years.
As an example, a refined cobbler is served in an individual skillet as a single portion with the filling, shingled in a design and with a topping that doesn’t meet all of the edges and is more dollops on top. Or a rich, bold, chocolate flavor can be aerated with citrus to create a light and rich dessert that is both fruity and indulgent.
Individualized classic desserts account for 47% of bakery sales with cookies and brownies following closely. These individual desserts stay close to tradition but find a new flavor and challenge boundaries with creativity. Consumers respond to this creativity because they want to have the elaborate desserts they see on the television.
Local and nostalgic is a huge trend right now, it can be categorized two ways. First, local to the area, peaches from the orchard around the corner, this implies fresh and special. Local can also be local branding, the acknowledgement of a specific region, this implies that the product is rare and special. An Italian dessert shipped from a small town in Italy is just as strong of a pull as a cobbler with peaches from the local orchard.
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Chef Walter Zuromski is president and culinary director of Chef Services Group, Inc. and the culinary advisor to the American Egg Board.