It’s a lovely, rambling train ride to Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition place from the city core.
It’s a lovely, rambling train ride to Paris-Nord Villepinte exhibition place from the city core. Along the way you will discover that not all of Paris looks of centuries past; quasi-modern skyscrapers and suburban sprawl dot the grasslands, intercepted by graffiti and washing strung up on a line. This is the time to reflect on your other-than-food thoughts, because once you step off the train and through the Paris-Nord doors that serve as Europain’s portal to culinary passion, it’s going to be a sensory explosion of sweet and savoury delights.
| Photos: THOMAS GRAY
Before we dive into the land of Rum Baba and perfect crumb, let’s take a quick data digress to paint the show to scale. From March 8-12, 804 exhibitors representing 29 different countries welcomed 76,950 professionals, 30 per cent of which were from one of 138 countries other than France.
There were nine competitions involving 170 candidates at Europain and SuccessFood, the contemporary food show that runs concurrently. Visitors could take in 2,480 product demonstrations during the five-day exhibition.
Bakers Journal was one of 313 journalists trying to figure out where to begin covering a show this size. And now, for Bakers Journal, just one writer is going to attempt to sum it all up for you with a few sights from the heart of Paris on the side.
Trends and ideas
Small portions and snacks have been on the lips of trend watchers in Canada for some time, and the bite-size movement seemed to be in full swing at the booths of Europain. There was an abundance of sweet and savoury items showcased in wee mason jars or lined up like miniature ornaments behind gleaming glass. This was in somewhat of a contrast to what one may find in the actual bakeries of Paris. Stop by a random shop and you will find ample-sized éclairs, beignets, tarts, and the like. Even upscale chocolate shops like Pierre Hermé display and sell individual desserts that last more than two bites. Petit fours will always be petit, and perhaps that is just what suits the showcase best on a trade show floor. Things always seem a little bit more fanciful when they are tiny and ornate.
|Some of the appetizing bread made by Bakery Masters winner Yuki Nagata of Japan. Left: Cake bars offer a new twist on cake pops in the portable cake category.
Exhibitors packed their wee delights with some interesting flavour combinations. On the savoury side, pink foi gras and fig; apples and vodka; smoked fish and goat cheese; and endive, orange, St. Jacques and bacon whet the appetite as verrines and tartlets.
For sweets, an almond and apricot tartlet punctuated with rhubarb was an interesting twist. There was no shortage of Chantilly cream and its tranquil vanilla notes, or indulgently thick mascarpone. Coffee flavours were also being highlighted. In general, the majority of flavours were classically based in pistachio, orange, raspberry, caramel, chocolate or other fruits.
Zeelandia, an ingredient supplier, was promoting the concept of cake bars, which look like ice cream bars but are full of cake instead. It’s an interesting take on cake pops or other forms of portable cake noshing. Bakers Journal had one cupcake sighting at the show, leading this writer to believe the craze has yet to cross these particular international waters.
In breads, packaged items trimmed up in size and health attributes with multigrain items, mini bagels and slim buns on display at Coghlan’s. A multigrain croissant caught the eye at CSM; this is not a croissant flavour this writer would characterize as common in the Parisian marketplace.
Of course, there was no shortage of baguettes and breads of all types under the sun. The vast majority were traditional wheat-based breads. Gluten-free was near non-existent at the show, and likewise in Bakers Journal’s sampling of Parisian bakeries. Eric Kayser was one bakery found to be offering gluten-free bread and some packaged gluten-free products.
Merchandising ideas were aplenty in the city. Chocolate shops seem particularly adept at packaging items for gifts and filling their display windows artfully with them. Meticulous attention is paid to varying the levels in a display and to using bright colours to attract attention. In Jean Paul Hervin, you could find beautiful three-dimensional chocolate hearts made as lattice rather than a solid. Pretty as a Christmas ornament. The shop also sells tubes of store-branded caramel and chocolate sauce, and it has written tasting notes displayed by each bar it sells. Chocolate of origin is a popular concept.
Many bakeries in Paris are equipped to serve snacks and lunch for people on the go. At Christian Vabret’s bakery, Au Petit Versailles du Marais (a four-time winner of prix de la baguette de tradition Paris), one can purchase sandwich combos that include a drink and dessert. Two can dine for under 20 euros – make of that what you will with the current Canadian dollar, but it seems a reasonable price in Paris. They also offer an espresso and petit fours combo, loaves of bread or single items. There was a different price for diners who stayed or took items to go. And when one says bakery sandwich in Paris, it’s safe to assume that it’s on a baguette, has fresh cheese on it (which is quite possibly raw milk or may not be), some kind of meat (prosciutto, salami and chicken are popular finds), and potentially pickles. They are simple yet hearty sandwiches, filling and found in abundance as you navigate the seemingly illogical layout of Paris’ many streets (no standard grid structure to cling to here).
There is one store that is not a bakery, but a retailer well known for its merchandising savvy, and that is Colette. Here, amongst everything from designer duds to eclectic magazines and iPod cases, one can opt to purchase a “surprise bag”. What a fun idea harkening straight back to a childhood of Kinder Surprise and birthday loot bags that may work well for a bakery.
Several competitions lent spectator buzz and high stakes energy to the show. The Bakery Masters featured 24 international bakers, the best of which competed in the 2009 and 2011 Louise Lessaffre Cups or the 2012 Bakery World Cup. While Canada was not competing this year, Canada’s Mario Fortin was on the prestigious judging panel.
|This year’s Bakery Masters winners celebrate their win in golden style. From left to right: Yuki Nagata of Japan won the bread category; Antoine Robillard of France won for artistic piece; and Hakan Johansson of Sweden took Viennese pastry.
Three individuals were awarded category 2014 Master Baker titles. Yuki Nagata of Japan won the bread category; Hakan Johansson of Sweden took Viennese pastry and Antoine Robillard of France won for artistic piece on his home turf. The winners were crowned amidst a burst of gold sparkles, drum rolls and trumpeting music capped by Pharell Williams’ song “Happy”.
There was only one female competitor in this year’s Bakery Masters – Phung Kim Nguyen Truong of Vietnam.
The International Confectionary Art Competition featured mixed gender teams. Canada’s own Marie-Claude Drouin and Sébastien Camus were one of 16 teams from around the world who took on the enormous challenge of preparing 13 creations over 20 hours in two days. The teams had to make three showpieces (pastillage, sugar and chocolate), three fresh petit fours (tartlet, choux pastry and free choice), three small cakes (chocolate, praline and fruit), three chocolate bonbons (fruit ganache, praline and free choice), and two plated desserts (hot and cold). Canadians were represented on the jury by Eric Lessard and Olivier Tribut.
France claimed the winner’s perch on the podium, followed by Japan and Singapore.
In addition to the Bakery Masters and International Confectionary Art competition, Europain, in combination with SuccessFood, hosted the French Schools Cup, the Bocuse d’Or France, World Barista Championship, World Cup Taster Championship, World Latte Art Championship, World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship and the World Brewers Cup.
Needless to say, there were plenty of world champions at Europain.
The show’s new Senses & Chocolate Festival, a chocolate-specific celebration within Europain, also handed out two awards. Jacques Bellanger, MOF chocolatier from Le Mans, won the Best Sweet Design & Chocolate Taste Award. Pierre Marcolini from Brussels won the International Award for Single-Origin Chocolate Bars.
A shopper’s paradise
Yes, Paris is a fashionable city and those with a retail weakness will find no problem spending money here. But Europain served up its own shopper’s paradise with a multitude of innovative and new products to improve the lot in life for both artisanal and industrial bakers.
Conveniently, the show organized its candidates for the 2014 innovation trophies in one section. Here’s a good sampling of what was inside with winners noted:
- Frédéric Itey (winner): Invented a quick-close tulip box with fast-locking system on the handle that is intended to save time with one motion while protecting the product.
- Actitouch (winner): A click-and-collect solution for retail bakeries that acts as a multi-channel all-in-one digital answer with an interactive window, kiosks, and web tablet apps. The retailer gets an industrial touch tablet in-store for managing orders, with the overall goal of the system being to maximize client points of contact and boost sales.
- Weiss (winner): Introduced a praline powder as a technical innovation to overcome the limits of praline paste.
- Valhrona (winner): The Praline Sample Box is a new tool to select flavours within their range for restaurant and craft industry clients. The tool guides on three points: flavour (caramelized or nutty), fruit (almond, hazelnut or combo), and intensity (of the caramel or roasted notes).
- Apidis (winner): Created honey breadcrumbs that are intended to supplement the texture and taste of honey bread in a recipe.
- Robot Coupe: Rolled out Robot Cook, a multitasking cooking, cutter, blender that will emulsify, pulverize, mix, chop or mold with a flexible heating power to 140 C.
- Les Anis de Flavigny (winner): Pocket-sized packaging for its small crunchy sweets with an aniseed heart coated in lemon, rose, violet, or licorice flavours.
- Perten Instruments: C-Cell colour food structure and imaging system that acts as one instrument for product evaluation and features multiple analysis tools, such as full RGB colour, crust characteristics, and analysis of all inclusions in crumb structure for assessing the internal quality of baked goods.
- Le Lu: A clipping wooden punnet without foreign materials like staples that is also natural and biodegradable. Can be used for cooking, microwave, deep freezing, and reports good performance in the oven.
- Tayso France: Wimter Biomasse annular tubes deck oven with refractory boards is a steam tube deck oven with a dosing hopper for biomass. Designed to be economic and energy efficient.
- Ebbo Food Consultant: Recognized for its MINO table dosing machine for pastry/ice cream/confection/biscuits. The company reports the MINO is the only table dosing machine that can be equipped with wire-cut rotary dosing nozzles, and has a head for liquid dough and brushless motor for high accuracy.
- Dawn: New Scoop & Bake frozen, flavoured batters.
- Confida: A preparation for Financier Ancel, an Alaska-Express Bavarian Coconut Ancel, and a liquid Arabica coffee extract called PUR ARABICA, for pastry creams, mousse, ganache, and as an ice cream base.
- Fomma: An Alveoleur Aeromix kneading mixer that uses a rotating counter tool that stretches the dough, creating an oxygenation favourable for fermentation.
- Revent (winner): Slim, round chamber oven that scores high on baking quality, footprint, energy use, visibility, ergonomics, reliability and profitability. The round chamber features triple-layered glass, fewer heat bridges and modern insulation, which leads to less energy waste and less water and energy required for baking.
- OCF (winner): The Igloo is a refrigerated display case that produces cold without MRS (Magnetic Refrigeration System) compression, and is suitable for confectionery, chocolate and ice cream. Without compression, the Igloo is quieter and boasts up to 50 per cent in energy savings.
- Bonbec Show/Tonton Pierrot: Unique bouquets made of candy.
- Bridor de France: Coux Paris B., a reduced-fat version of the famous French Dessert Paris-Brest (yes, you read that correctly, reduced fat in France).
- Rondo: Extended the ASTEC range (Advanced Sanitary Technology) with new dough band former MIDOS (Multiple Industrial Dough System), which may be used for all types of dough, works without process flour and process oil and features the latest hygienic design.
- AlveoPizza V2: Hygienic storage for dough rolls, dough blocking control and cooling management of pizza and bread dough during storage and transport in positive or negative cold case with a double wall hole space for eutectic liquid.
- Chopin Technologies (winner): The Rheo F4 analyzes in one test the dough proofing time to determine best time for products go in the oven.
|Unique candy bouquets by Bonbec Show/Tonton Pierrot were a winner.|
On the show floor, there were many more products to sample with eyes or taste buds. Of note, Philibert Savours is laying claim to the first organic CME hyperactive liquid leavening for making bread naturally without yeast. Bakers Journal taste test reports that it resulted in crusty bread with nice flavour and crumb.
Smet had an interesting assortment of its new 3D/4D chocolate inclusions on display. Intended for bakery, confectionery, dairy or ice cream, the 3D/4D inclusions may be made based on a customer’s idea, logo or own original designs. Smet uses Belgian chocolate and makes decorations with diameters of 10 to 18 millimeters and heights of four to five millimeters.
Fritsch Multifiller S is a new machine for medium-sized to industrial bakers. It has six individually controllable rows for spot and strip filling or continuous operation. There is an optional connection for automatic hopper filling, and it’s designed to be wash-down suitable for a friendly hygienic design.
Spiromatic displayed its new bag-dumping station with hygienic design and integrated sifter. The machine, which is 100 per cent sealable, claims dust-free operation, ergonomic bag tipping, and features an ultra-hygienic surface treatment.
Ideas, eye candy, scrumptious samples and products galore: Europain 2014 was an all-consuming sensory delight for anyone passionate about food and about growing a bakery business. It doesn’t hurt that the show is located in Paris, a mecca of baking arts. This writer advises that, although the show is near the airport, you plant your bags at a hotel in the city and use public transit, which is easy to access and navigate. There isn’t much to see or do by the airport, and you may find you want to spend your evenings roaming the skyline of the Seine River, macaron in hand of course.
The Europain & Intersuc – SuccessFood exhibition will return to Paris in 2016.
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