5 Nov 2020
How are the worlds of bakery, patisserie and chocolate reacting to the current situation? Although many bakeries have been hit hard by the virus outbreak, others have modified their business models to get their baked goods out to their customers, or even created new treats. These five concepts show that in every challenge lies an opportunity.
The Covid-19 outbreak brought out the inner baker in many people. And no wonder, because baking is found to be mindful and therapeutic, according to the UK’s Real Bread Campaign. It gives you something tangible to create and enjoy when you see and taste the finished product. And kneading the dough, and getting your bread into the right shape, can also help relieve some tension. That’s why Real Bread Campaign launched #lockdownloafers to welcome people to the activity of breadmaking.
To make it easier to bake bread at home, Roberts Bakery launched the Get Baking Kit: a home baking kit available at Roberts’ new online shop and delivered to your front door. It contains everything a budding baker needs to get started on homemade artisan rolls, loaves and pizza bases. By doing this, Roberts is the first major bakery brand in the UK that sells directly to shoppers. The plan to do so had been in development for quite some time, but Roberts fast-tracked the rollout to respond to the new consumer requirements that were necessitated by the coronavirus outbreak.
Röckenwagner Bakery in Washington was mostly famous for its dine-in and catering services. As both services were highly impacted by Covid-19, Röckenwagner Bakery lost half of its business, but was determined to make adjustments to keep as many staff as possible. This drove them to build three new businesses in three days: an e-commerce business, a delivery service, and a takeout business. The two full-service restaurants were closed, and the café was converted into a marketplace.
The bakery started with pre-packaged foods, brought in pantry items, and diverted delivery staff – who previously worked in the wholesale side of the business – to an in-house delivery system, delivering to consumers directly to their homes. By launching RöckenwagnerMarket.com their customers can now order their products online. Due to this great success, Röckenwagner started partnering with other local suppliers to bring customers fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Genovese Pasticceria Mangini 1876 turns the coronavirus into something that is to be savoured rather than feared. This Italian pastry maker creates coronavirus-inspired pastry. His pastry is modelled on a computer rendering of the coronavirus. The bottom is made of typically Genovese short-crust pastry. On top is a chocolate dome that holds ‘the virus’ inside – the inside being a namelaka, a Japanese style cream based on chocolate, milk, cream and gelatine. They added orange peel to mimick the virus and added orange flowers as a symbol of hope for everything to be all right in the end. What started as a little joke – a playful way to cope with the panic – turned out to be a big success.
The Black Madonna, a restaurant in Prague, created a similar-looking dessert: a cake resembling the virus that is slightly smaller than a tennis ball, with a chocolate crust and dusted with cocoa butter spray. Inside is a pistachio filling with raspberry puree and raspberries in the centre. And the outside is covered with ‘virus spikes’ made of white chocolate and dried raspberries. The dessert has been a big success, and Olga Budnik, the dessert’s creator, is already considering a new covid-19 vaccination-themed product that will have lots of lime and a bit of alcohol.
Another creation that was primarily meant as a joke, comes from French pastry chef Jean-François Pré. He created Easter eggs modelled as coronaviruses as a way to release the tension from the situation. The Easter eggs consist of milk chocolate with a crunchy exterior, which has been painted black and topped with red-coloured almonds. Funny detail: the chocolates are sold from Pré’s shop on Rue Louis Pasteur, a street named after a famous French microbiologist.
Social distancing keeps guests away from cacao and chocolate experiences. That’s why The Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute, Uncommon Cacao and the Craft Chocolate Experience organised the #StayHomeWithChocolate Festival. This digital festival brought Instagram Live tours of chocolate factories, cacao farms, guided chocolate tastings, demos on cooking with chocolate, and much more to encourage consumers all over the world to purchase chocolate from small local chocolate businesses.