UAE gets its ‘just desserts’ as French cream imports increase by 10% year-on-year
- UAE to import over 2,000 tonnes of French cream in 2017
- Retail accounts for 25% of cream imports as more and more people in the UAE are looking for high quality cream to use in their recipes, not just for pastries, but in their general cooking
French cream exports to the UAE are expected to increase by 10% this year, according to the latest research by the French Dairy Board.
The UAE is seen as a key developing market for the industry and imported 2,000 tonnes of French cream in 2016, although this is behind China, which is top importer with 15,000 tonnes annually. Saudi Arabia stands at 5,000 tonnes imported annually.
It comes amid an increasing proliferation of French chefs operating in the country and a growing popularity of French cream in the service industry and retail outlets due to its undisputed taste and quality.
Laurent Damiens, Communication Director, Centre National Interprofessionel de l’Economie Laitière (CNIEL), said: “Most of the pastry chefs at the top hotels here in the UAE are from France and the French pastry style is becoming increasingly fashionable. That’s why we export more and more cream, because to do French pastry you need to have French cream.
“It’s a huge market in the UAE, not only in business to business, which takes up 75% of imports, but retail currently accounts for 25% and this is growing more and more as people are increasingly using cream in their recipes, not just for pastries, but in their general cooking.”
Damiens was speaking following a Cream of Europe event hosted by SOPEXA Middle East in the St Regis Hotel, Dubai, featuring renowned chefs, Nicolas Bacheyre, executive pastry chef, Un Dimanche à Paris, and Ludovic Audaux, the executive pastry chef of the St Regis, Habtoor City, as well as Nawal Al Nuaimi, owner and Chef of Paper Fig. Invited guests were given the opportunity to taste and create their very own pastries using the finest French ingredients and techniques.
Chef Bacheyre said: “Cream comes from the process of skimming milk and, like butter and flour, is an essential ingredient in desserts. We’ve seen an increasing number of vegetable creams on the market due to their lower price, however they may not be considered as substitute of French cream, which has no equivalent in term of taste and textures. In 17 years of working in the industry I have never used anything else.”
As part of the growing demand for experienced pastry chefs from all corners of the world, SOPEXA runs a series of French pastry training courses in the UAE and KSA, co-financed by the European Union, which are set to run through to 2018.
Edwina Salvatori, Account Director, SOPEXA Middle East, said: “France is famous the world over for its decadent desserts and delightful pastry concoctions and that is primarily because we use the finest, freshest ingredients. Our French cream is a prime example of this and it’s because of this outstanding quality that it is becoming more and more important to chefs in Dubai, the UAE and across the GCC.”
In all of its forms – as pastry cream, whipped, chantilly, stiffened, UHT, custard, reversed – cream has become an indispensable ingredient to the entire pastry world, today more than ever.
THE BENEFITS OF FRENCH DAIRY CREAM
The culinary success of cream is due to the multiple roles it plays in improving taste, texture, binding and even presentation. Its silky, creamy, smooth and shiny texture is why the term “creamy” is so widely used by tasters to describe the smoothness of a product.
Cream enhances aromas and reveals flavours without dominating, and respects the subtlety of food. By mixing hot or cold cream with another ingredient, it will either thicken or soften the consistency of that ingredient while giving off a tangy note. It also binds and stabilizes hot preparations: it will soften stuffing and egg dishes, making them more cohesive.
Other advantages of cream: it reduces the bitterness of cocoa, the acidity of lemon, and tempers the pungency of certain fruit and the astringency of others. It improves the fondant used on pastries and turns fruit into mousse. Finally, its willingness to be worked results in a voluptuous cloud when whipped.
Gourmet and delicious, rich and cream brings roundness and power that intensifies recipes. It coats the mouth and gives a lasting quality to pastries that no other raw material can. The taste of cream is not the only attribute to celebrate: It also provides a rich, smooth sensation.
In addition to these culinary and gastronomic qualities that have made cream an indispensable go-to ingredient for French pastry chefs, it also has obvious practical and dietary qualities. Because cream is rich in water, it is the least greasy type of fat. Soft, luxurious and light!
Because cream has its place in the finest kitchens around the world, its use has adapted to the needs, practices and new expectations of chefs: progress in the diversification of creams has allowed for greater control when cooking and the packaging has allowed it to be sold on store shelves (instead of refrigerators), providing greater freedom of use and storage. All of this combines to make cream an essential ingredient in any sophisticated pastry!
Photo caption: A selection of pastry dishes from Nicolas Bacheyre, executive pastry chef, Un Dimanche à Paris, Ludovic Audaux, the executive pastry chef of the St Regis, Habtoor City, and Nawal Al Nuaimi, owner and Chef of Paper Fig.
About SOPEXA GROUP: SOPEXA, the special partner of food and beverage companies and industries, has helped boost agribusiness products – both in France and abroad – for nearly 50 years, through a wide variety of promotional and awareness campaigns. A specialist in international food, wine, and lifestyle marketing, heavily involved in promoting food culture, SOPEXA Group offers effective, creative marketing solutions that make food brands and products stand out from the crowd worldwide.