Author: Janae Morris

Dessert Coatings for Fall

One thing about cooler temperatures is certain, additional layering is necessary. This applies to the delicacies in your display case and catering menu. Think about it, when something always looks the same, the visual can become boring and essentially unappealing. So it’s important to catch (and keep) the attention of your customers for the sake of continued business. One way to do that this season is with amazing “coat” selections for your menu items.

Learn more about PreGel Glazes

Let’s begin with “glossy” dessert coatings—the kind that offers an elegant, crystal-like finish, and easily offers menu items such as gelato monoportions and semifreddi immediate high-end appeal. These coatings lend a sense of elegance and sophistication to finished desserts, and creates a catering buffet that is lovely to view.

Learn more about PreGel Five Star Chef Pâte à Glacer

In direct contrast to gloss, matte coating is characteristically void of shine, but are excellent for adding dimension to baked goods like eclairs and donuts. Depending on the product, matte finishes can double as a ganache as well. Ultimately, they make an excellent canvas for décor innovation—an important factor to consider when planning your seasonal or catering menu.

Learn more about PreGel Coriandolina® Coating

Finally, there are “ornate” coatings featuring inclusions such as nuts, wafers, cookies, rice puffs, etc. These add-ins upgrade the look, texture, and flavor of your desired menu items, making them stand-out selections. Additionally, ornate coatings make it easier to hide imperfections before final display.

Learn more about PreGel Five Star Chef Crunchy Coatings

With so many dessert “coats” to choose from, it’s easy to make your display case chic for fall (or any season)!

 

The Growth of Vegan Desserts

Question: Can dessert be creamy, buttery, or indulgent without including the likes of milk, butter, cream, or other animal byproducts in its composition? A few short years ago, my conjecture would likely have been “ummm…no!” But today, having consumed more education about veganism and having experienced the sheer pleasure of tasting vegan desserts, I am resolute in my stance that vegan desserts do in fact deliver the taste, quality, and visual appeal that whet our voracious appetites for the traditional desserts we love.

 

So, what do you think? For dessert artisans and dessertpreneurs, does the steady uptick in consumer demand for vegan cuisine (figuratively) mean that money truly does grow on trees? Let’s examine some examples of why the answer continually proves to be yes!

Get the recipe: Raspberry Beet Soft Serve

 

But first, some statistics:

 

What is veganism?
As defined by www.vegansociety.com, veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

 

What is the vegan population in the States?
According to www.mercyforanimals.org, 25 percent of Americans 25 to 34 years old identify as vegan or vegetarian as of December 2018.

 

Do all chefs who make vegan/plant-based desserts need to be lifetime vegans?
Not necessarily! A great example of this is Chef Fran Costigan, internationally renowned as the authority on vegan desserts.

Costigan was raised eating the standard American diet, which included dairy. However, the worsening digestive upsets that had plagued her from the time she was very young, were collectively the springboard that propelled Costigan to transition to eating a completely plant-based diet. “My health improved very quickly, and I was actually quite delighted by the range of plant-based foods new to me. That is, all but the desserts,” recalled the partially dissatisfied pastry chef.

 

“If you don’t like something, change it.
If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

– Dr. Maya Angelou, American poet and Renaissance woman

 

Costigan wasn’t the only one looking for more enjoyable plant-based desserts. Because the vegan lifestyle was growing (and continues to do so), plant-based foods are in higher demand, and that includes desserts. Aware of this undeniable statistic, the classically trained pastry chef used traditional pastry techniques to create reliable recipes for “unapologetically” luscious vegan desserts. “I did R&D for a full year,” Costigan explains. “I cracked the code, so to speak, on my breakthrough cake, The Chocolate Cake to Live for, and to this day, that moist and deeply chocolate cake is my most requested recipe,” Costigan adds.

 

Sounds good, but is having vegan desserts on my menu that important?

Absolutely! As a matter of fact, Bake magazine recently published the article “Developing products that appeal to the vegan consumer.” In it, GlobalData reports that only 1% of US consumers claimed to be vegan in 2014, and three years later, that number soared to 6%.

Get the recipe: Pistachio Superfood Granola Bar

The article also establishes that plant-based foods are in huge demand, and the cake sector is joining into this important development by introducing new products that appeal to the growing number of vegan consumers in America.

As a vegan pastry chef, who has dubbed vegan desserts as a “mega trend,” Costigan advises that not offering a variety [of desserts] means “leaving money on the table.” She adds, “Those who are asking for vegan desserts do not want sorbet or fruit salad. That is insulting at this point in time.

Vegan desserts are inclusive, meaning they are suitable for a diverse population, and there is no question that people seeing vegan desserts will show up at the table.”

To add to the point of why having vegan desserts as menu options is important, Costigan pointed out these items are needed for people with and without dietary considerations such as:

  • lactose intolerance
  • allergies to eggs
  • avoiding or limiting cholesterol

Having a sense of being eco-conscious or just curious about vegan desserts also plays a part.  PreGel International Training Centers – FL Pastry Chef, Victoria Burghi, highlighted one of the main reasons why people transition to a vegan lifestyle, and their need for vegan dessert options, saying, “Vegan foods are attractive to people who are opposed to animal cruelty,” she started. “In the end, it gives them a sense that they are doing the right thing by giving up animal products.”

 

So, what’s the process? What would I need to know to make the transition from traditional to vegan desserts?

According to Costigan, the transition is much easier now than it was twenty-five years ago, seeing as the variety of plant milks, fats, and other quality ingredients that are widely available to the vegan pastry chef today were non-existent,” she explains.

Backing the case for more readily-available vegan ingredients are Kristen Battaglia, assistant pastry chef, PreGel International Training Centers – NC, and Chef Burghi.

When tasked with making several vegan desserts for a PreGel photo shoot, Battaglia had to alter her thought process when it came to preparing vegan oatmeal raisin cookies, a vegan granola bar, and vegan oatmeal raisin cookie gelato (which, according to “Healthy Dessert? Eating the gluten-free cake, too” published by www.smartbrief.com, is a trend-forward nostalgic flavor).

Get the recipe: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Gelato

“Knowing that I had to stay away from dairy, I thought it would be best to choose some of our [PreGel] nut-based Traditional Pastes and fruit-based Fortefrutto® flavoring pastes,” Battaglia explained. “I tried to think about more of the healthier trends and create something that customers are looking for,” she continued.

Consequently, all three chefs seem to agree that looking for “healthier” ingredient options is a must when preparing vegan desserts, as echoed by Burghi. “Because most people are aware of the effects of white sugar on our bodies, using alternative sugars along with vegan ingredients seems to be the right move. Alternative sugars and other sweet ingredients like sweet potato do not raise the glycemic index in our bloodstream. For that reason, vegan desserts that use other sugars are considered healthy,” the vegetarian chef explains.

 

“Find something you’re passionate about
and keep tremendously interested in it.”
– Julia Child, chef

 

I’m definitely passionate about adding plant-based desserts to my menu, but the process sounds a bit intimidating. What are some examples of ingredients I can use to make vegan desserts?

Sourcing the right ingredients to make vegan desserts is not as intimidating or complicated as it may sound at times. And there are a lot of examples of which ingredients to use to keep your recipes 100% vegan. In regard to the previously mentioned Vegan Oatmeal Cookie Gelato created by Chef Battaglia, she says,” It was actually very easy to switch out the eggs with applesauce, and the butter with vegan butter.” She adds, “When it came to fats we were able to use coconut fat and cocoa butter, which gave the gelato a great texture.”

Adding to the ease of transitional ingredients, Burghi suggests the following to start:

  • Vegan butter also called Faba Butter, which can make a decent buttercream
  • Aquafaba (the water from canned chickpeas) can be a great substitution for egg whites
  • Tofu can be used to substitute eggs
  • Fat in coconut milk can be whipped into a whipped cream
  • Coconut sugar is one of many examples of ways to sweeten desserts without white granulated sugar

Burghi adds that ready-to-use ingredients, such as those provided by PreGel, can play a pivotal role in creating vegan desserts because “they take a lot of the guess work out of the equation, and contain emulsifiers and stabilizers that are essential to the final structure of the dessert,” Burghi elaborated, concluding with, “They are easy to use and they taste great.”

Download for the full list of PreGel vegan products

“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”
– Wolfgang Puck, chef

 

Are vegan ingredients really gaining that much traction?

Yes! Just recently, the Plant Based Foods Association and The Good Food Institute released new data showing U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11 percent in the past year, bringing the total plant-based market value to $4.5 billion. And much like Chef Burghi said, “We see plant-based ingredients more and more in the supermarkets, and that is always a good indication of how popular the movement has become.”

Click for more information

 

Here’s a bit more on that “growing movement”…

GrubHub, the nation’s leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, recently released a report including statistics about the vegan food industry in general. Results showcased that orders of vegan-friendly foods on the Grubhub platform increased by 25% so far in 2019 (as compared to Jan-May 2018).

Additionally,  the digital resource published a list of areas ordering the most vegan foods – locations they dubbed

Vegan Meccas:

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. Brooklyn, NY
  3. Portland, OR
  4. Las Vegas, NV
  5. Rochester, NY
  6. Philadelphia, PA
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. San Diego, CA

Seeing as plant-based desserts is a formidable trend, are there any myths about vegan desserts that I should ignore?

In terms of myth-busting, Chef Costigan offers inspiring advice: “It isn’t about what is not in the desserts. It is about serving delicious, appealing, attractive,  innovative desserts that are suitable for everyone, whether or not dietary considerations are an issue.” Battaglia adds that “If the chef is knowledgeable on flavor and able to balance a dessert well, then you can create something amazing where you would never be able to tell the difference.” She continues, “I think that currently we are able to access such great ingredients to make desserts vegan that I don’t see a huge difference when it comes to most vegan desserts.”

In reference to myth-busting, Chef Costigan recalls some of the most surprising responses she’s heard from skeptics about tasting vegan dessert for the first time.

“I am no longer surprised to hear, ‘vegan desserts are good,’ or ‘I can’t believe there is no dairy or eggs in the dessert,’ as a well-crafted dessert should be luscious, whether it’s vegan or conventional.  I am used to having to defend, and saying yes, this dessert is vegan,” she recollects, while subsequently retelling the funniest response she’s ever heard about one of her chocolate vegan cakes.

The funniest response, in fact, was taking a Brooklyn Blackout Cake (chocolate cake, filled and frosted with chocolate pudding and covered with chocolate crumbs, made famous by the now defunct Ebingers Bakery in Brooklyn) to an industry event in New York City. Several of my colleagues asked what made me leave the vegan world– they simply could not believe the cake was in fact a vegan version.”

 

I understand why vegan desserts are important to consumers, but does creating vegan desserts take the fun out of dessert-making?

Absolutely…NOT.

Culinary arts is indeed an art. Taking a blank canvas and filling it with something beautiful that tastes great, and incites all kinds of emotions from the consumer is an amazing accomplishment, even for amateur cooks like me. One of the best aspects of culinary arts is the creativity it demands, which is something that producing vegan desserts does not lack.

“The creativity was always my favorite part of creating desserts and that has not changed with creating vegan versions. What is important is to use traditional techniques and adapt them to vegan specific ingredients,” Costigan shares.

Chef Costigan’s Sacher Torte

To that point, Burghi mirrors Costigan’s sentiment, saying,” Other reasons why vegan desserts are having a moment right now, is the fact that pastry chefs like challenges,” she begins. “Making vegan desserts that taste fantastic is very difficult (but not impossible). Tweaking recipes and substituting ingredients is an interesting challenge for a pastry chef.”

 

Okay, I’m interested! Which vegan desserts should I start adding to/or transitioning my menu with?

There are plenty!

To begin, Chef Costigan suggests these familiar desserts:

  • Cupcakes, layer cakes, – Chocolate Ganache Glazed Torte, Chocolate Mousse, Puddings, Crème Brulee, ice cream; Baked Alaska, pies and tarts
  • Component desserts
  • Pavlova, Eton Mess, and other meringue-based desserts are possible with the correct use of aquafaba meringue. My technique calls for reducing the aquafaba so that it whips successfully every time.
  • Add a chocolate truffle or another confection to the plate.
  • Seasonal desserts: bread puddings, sticky date pudding, berry slumps, and grunts
  • Holiday desserts: Buche de Noel, why not?

And according to Chef Costigan, the following are the kinds of trending desserts consumers are looking for, because, as she states, “Consumers who seek vegan desserts are looking for the very same desserts that omnivores are eating.”

  • Ice cream, gelato, affogato.
  • Vegan Baked Alaska is very on trend today.
  • Commercial vegan ice creams are readily available and homemade ones are excellent. I have a whole chapter on frozen desserts in my cookbook, Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts
  • Cupcakes are always popular
  • Vegan French Macarons
  • French pastries: croissant, palmiers, truffles, mendients
  • Chocolate cakes, whether finished with a bittersweet ganache glaze, buttercream, or pudding
  • Lighter desserts and using less refined sweeteners
  • Component plates and deconstructed desserts are desirable
  • Ethnic flavors  trending like matcha, tahini, za’tar, for example

More inspiration for creating delicious vegan desserts as menu options can be found here.

And, of course, guidance with creating any artisanal desserts with plant-based ingredients  is always available here via private demo.

 

Indeed, Americans value traditionally-made sweets, and everything in moderation is key no matter how it is prepared. Therefore, especially in today’s consumer climate, it seems as though money does grow on trees with the blossoming of the plant-based movement that offer the kinds of treats carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores can appreciate.

 

About Fran Costigan
Fran Costigan the “Queen of Vegan Desserts,” is director of Vegan Baking and Pastry at Rouxbe Culinary School.
The recipes in her bestselling cookbooks, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally and
Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, from retro desserts to elegant vegan versions of classics, produce excellent results every time.

Fall Flavor Pairings

It’s fall! And the new season officially begins today, September 23, in the United States. This means temperatures are about to start transitioning from blazing summer heat toward freezing winter chills, and just like the changing view outdoors is becoming more robust with varying colorful hues, menus across the country will begin modeling their new fashions, via fall menu selections.

Get the recipe: Spiced Apple Cider Gelato

 

Random fact: I have exactly 109 reasons why fall is my favorite season of the year, BUT one of the top three is: food! Not only the warm, cozy comfort foods that mercilessly tantalize our senses, but the rich, wholesome desserts that boast seasonal flavors, colors, aromas, and creativity are nearly impossible to ignore. Thanks to the insatiable food porn flooding social media platforms, and warm memories of the fall cuisine of yesteryear, we desperately long for a bite (or several) of the indulgent deliciousness that makes three whole seasons too long of a wait to savor again!

But, of course, this is being written from the perspective of a consumer – a foodie who is enthusiastic about visiting establishments like yours to exercise the kind of food fanfare I’m writing about. And to keep people like me excited about making their first fall visits (and many repeats thereafter) to your establishment, seasonal menu planning is essential.

To get a better idea of the importance of seasonal menu planning for the fall season, I reached out to  PreGel International Training Centers  sponsor, The Chef’s Garden,  a company that delivers the highest quality, most nutritionally dense and flavorful fresh vegetables, microgreens, herbs, edible flowers, and more, direct from Earth-to-Table® to the world’s most discriminating chefs.

In our conversation, Chef Jamie Simpson shed light on why seasonal menu planning is imperative for business; how chefs are putting themselves at a disadvantage if they don’t plan menus seasonally; trends in edible florals and herbs, as well as some suggested flavor pairings to create a phenomenal fall menu.

Get the recipe: Toasted Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole

 

Janae Morris (JM):Why is seasonal menu planning important?

Chef Jamie Simpson (JS): Seasonal menu planning is important because if you really want to serve the best at its best, you must work with the seasons. That doesn’t necessarily mean things have to be fresh, just picked and served. Sometimes through preservation or through fermentation, a good ingredient turns great.

For us at the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden, seasonal menu planning is everything. Living and working within the seasons is not a catch phrase for our marketing department’s take on sustainability. It’s truly our way of life. Our mission is to connect people with where our food comes from and teach chefs in restaurants globally what they can do with it. It wasn’t until I tapped the trees that I realized maple syrup is not a fall product, maple syrup is made in the spring. It wasn’t until I became a beekeeper that I also realized spring honey really isn’t a thing. For beekeepers, honey happens in the fall.

Get the recipe: Figgy Pudding

Farmer Lee Jones [founder of The Chef’s Garden] says our bodies have a natural rhythm: young greens in the spring, sweet fruits in the summer, hearty vegetables in the fall, starchy complex sugars in the winter. This is a theory in evolutionary development and I think there’s some truth to that.

 

JM: Are dessert chefs putting themselves at a disadvantage if they don’t plan?

JS: Dessert chefs are putting themselves at a disadvantage if they don’t plan menus seasonally but more importantly, the guests in the dining room are at a disadvantage. We have the ability to leave guests in better shape than when they arrive. We have a responsibility to serve quality ingredients with integrity.

It’s been proven time and time again that chefs can “get by” in their career by not purchasing or planning seasonally.

 

Get the recipe: Chocolate Lavender Gelato Sandwiches

 

We often write menus (about 160 a year.) We write them as vague as possible. A course might be titled “A Walk Through The Garden.” This allows for us to embrace the season and what the farmers are in abundance of, which is often most affordable, and often the most delicious products on the plate.

 

JM: With fall here, what are some of your most highly recommended traditional herb and floral pairings?

The infographic below demonstrates the flavor suggestions made by Chef Simpson:  

 

JM: Are there any new trends in herbs or edible florals that you are looking forward to this season?

JS: At the Culinary Vegetable Institute, for almost five years, we have fallen in love with citrus lace, over and over and over again. It’s an herb with an aroma of unripe orange peel, orange soda, and marigold. Truly a spectacular “swavery,” [sweet and savory] ambidextrous ingredient, both masculine and feminine.

This season, we are growing Licorice Lace. It’s not available yet, but very soon it will be. It’s the truest, most honest black licorice flavor I’ve ever encountered and not a bit offensive. I’m particularly excited to walk the line with it between sweet and savory applications. I’m thinking cauliflower, scallop, white chocolate, licorice lace.

In terms of trends, I’m seeing an explosion of sour ingredients in the pastry world. Sour flowers, sour herbs, sour vegetables, sour fruits, sour everything. It’s a good move and often comes at a point in the dinner when a slap in the face is welcome.

Get the recipe: Violet Donuts

 

JM: For novices looking to use herbs, edible florals, or both this season, what are some tips you would offer them for making the best selections?

JS: There is no such thing as “just for color.” Every decision you make has a consequence. The sum of good decisions equals great. Considering herbs and flowers and vegetables and fruits is no less important than the consideration that goes into the rest of a dish. These are ingredients that make a difference. The farm grows over 60 varieties of flowers and hundreds of types of herbs.

We’ve been honored with the opportunity to work with chefs since the beginning. In the last decade, the pastry world has come so far. Now, mixologists are exploring beyond pre-prohibition and prohibition era cocktails and bringing this industry forward as a collective movement for all of us.

Get the recipe: Warm Forest Berries Infusion

JM: Is there any other herb/floral information you think would be useful to share for seasonal menu planning?

Chef’s Garden Vegetable Farm | Chef’s Garden Sustainable Farm | The Chef’s Garden

Find menu planners for seasonal vegetables and more | The Chef’s Garden

Edible flowers: flavor components and beauty on the plate | The Chef’s Garden

Fresh herbs: adds enticing flavors and fragrances to dishes | The Chef’s Garden

Georgia chef brings fresh awareness to menu development | The Chef’s Garden

Eating with the seasons: rhythm of The Chef and Farmer Concept | The Chef’s Garden

Edible flowers: 7 reasons to incorporate them into menus | The Chef’s Garden

Talented Chefs Share Holiday Menu Insights | The Chef’s Garden

Seasonal transitions and winter crops: Mother Nature knows best | The Chef’s Garden

Celebrating a bumper crop of bountiful gifts & relationships | The Chef’s Garden

Eating with the seasons: chef and farmer get down to earth | The Chef’s Garden

 

About Chef Jamie Simpson:
Chef Jamie Simpson is the Executive Chef Liaison at The Culinary Vegetable Institute. He began his culinary career in a serendipitous fashion after leaving the music industry and his job at a recording studio. Chef Jamie is passionate about exploring different cultures, the connection between art and food, and the relationship between unconscious process and creativity.

Survey Says!

They say “ask and you shall receive,” and that’s exactly what we (PreGel America) did last year. As a business professional, you know that establishments of similar types look for ways to stand out from one another, but the common denominator between the fiercest competitors is the shared desire to truly know their audiences. To help us achieve the goal of fully understanding the ever-evolving needs, desires, and expectations of our audience better, and how they perceive us as a company overall, we thought to simply ask. So we sent out two surveys: PreGel Product Satisfaction and PreGel Customer Service Satisfaction, via Survey Monkey, a free (and very efficient) online survey development platform.

“We all need people who will give us feedback.
That’s how we improve.”
– Bill Gates

The decision to ask our audience for their insight was beneficial for a multitude of reasons, seeing as we work in a Feedback Economy, as explained by Albert Chang, director of product marketing at SurveyMonkey.

‘’Whether we like it or not, we’re all working in a Feedback Economy,” says Chang. “Public feedback in the market—whether about a product, service, or employer—is more powerful than ever: positive reviews can catapult a business to greater success and negative perceptions can be devastating,” Chang continues.

Public feedback in the market—whether about a product, service, or employer—is more powerful than ever. Click To Tweet

 

In terms of the two previously mentioned surveys PreGel conducted, Amy Andrade, Special Service Team manager at PreGel America, was glad that our business partners sacrificed their time to take the survey (perhaps with a little encouragement from the offer of a 15% discount off their next order).

Andrade personally read through every response to review the positive feedback and analyze any negative commentary (which is common on surveys). She found that, “with the results of these surveys, you cannot just take them at face value. You really need to do some homework to get the entire picture.”

Understanding the “full picture”, as Andrade says, is of major importance and her opinion seconds the notion prescribed by Chang, who states that “Taking proactive steps to collect private feedback via surveys gives companies a major competitive advantage: Not only can they address problems early, they can also isolate and promote the parts of their business that customers, employees, and other stakeholders really love.”

“What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that feedback is one of the essential elements of good communication.”
– Anonymous

In the following example, Andrade showcases how PreGel simultaneously addresses problems and promotes parts of the business that are beneficial to our business partners.

When any comment – whether good or bad – came through, Andrade assigned a task for the Special Service Team (inside sales) members or the outside sales team members to follow-up with the respondent and address the perceived issue. “For instance, if someone responded that we didn’t sell any vegan ingredients, I would ask the sales person to supply the respondent with a list of vegan products we have to offer,” Andrade explained, showcasing problem-solving that educates the customers as well as satisfies their expectations of us as a business partner.

This action step, resulting from customer feedback, is a direct reflection of an important statistic that Chang shared with us: “91% of people believe that companies should fuel innovation by listening to buyers and customers. This practice is so valuable that survey-driven feedback has actually become a new form of currency.”

And, in my opinion, honest insight that can benefit your business is priceless. But just be ready to receive whatever your audience may dish out.

“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
– Elbert Hubbard

My aunt once advised me to never ask a question I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer to, meaning I’d better be able to handle whatever the truth was that I was asking for. It was great advice, and I think the same goes for business-rooted surveys. Asking the questions you need answered, despite the chance of negative feedback is the only way to identify the problem(s) and resolve it for the benefit your business and the satisfaction (and therefore loyalty) of your customer base.

As Chang concluded, “This Feedback Economy has changed the requirements for success in marketing, HR, product development, and customer success. Companies that adapt are coming out ahead.’’

So, if you have ever considered conducting a survey to see how you can better serve your audience, go for it! The more information you have about the public’s perception of you, the better you can tailor your business. And if you’re ever on the receiving end of a survey from a business partner like us, the idea to complete it may be less than exciting, but the end goal is to please you.

So, how do you feel about surveys? Tell us what you think.

 

*Albert Chang is a director of product marketing at SurveyMonkey. His team is focused on driving awareness, adoption, and usage of the SurveyMonkey platform and solutions, empowering millions of curious people around the world to get the answers they need.  Albert holds a BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto.

Start a Dessert Business

What’s the first thing we do when there’s a professional interest we want to pursue—such as entrepreneurship for example—or a skill we want to elevate? We look for the best route to help us achieve that goal. For professional dessert artisans, the perfect route to “dessertpreneurship“—dessert-based entrepreneurship—lie in five different locations: Charlotte, North Carolina; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles, California; Chicago, Illinois; and Dallas, Texas – major food hub cities that house PreGel International Training Centers (ITC) — learning environments of skill, knowledge, and competency blended with dessert recipe innovation and fun.

 

So, what would make you the perfect candidate for training at a PreGel ITC? Having feelings of insecurity due to a lack of experience, or concluding that a training class is not necessary because you’ve been a professional dessert artisan for so long.

PreGel Training Center

PreGel International Training Centers – Charlotte

How so?

PreGel’s in-depth classes are designed to fit all skill levels from beginner to advanced, and provide a broad understanding of how to create artisanal desserts and build a successful business based on quality. The signature approach is to provide students with both a solid classroom learning experience and hands-on instruction.

 

“We are extremely excited about the classes at the PreGel International Training Centers,” says Mike Downing, corporate pastry chef, PreGel America. “Our team of chef instructors put a lot of work into creating a diverse curricula that will accommodate enthusiastic chefs and decision-makers, as well as newcomers to the world of pastry and frozen desserts. The courses we offer were developed with the long-term success of our students in mind, as well as the idea that PreGel is an overall resource in all things related to pastry, frozen desserts, and beverages,” Chef Downing concludes.

 

PreGel ITC

The overall goal of the PreGel ITC is to make sure that no student leaves its classes disappointed or ill-equipped to succeed in business. Therefore, all five establishments stateside (there are 29 locations worldwide) teach the latest techniques in a fundamental range of traditional and trending dessert topics, made to capture the attention of current and aspiring dessertrepreneurs looking to offer difference.

 

I’m listening, tell me more!

PreGel ITC class listings are divided into three categories that provide the opportunity for dessertpreneurs to work with the finest  ingredients, top-tier equipment, and obtain instruction from some of the industry’s most knowledgeable chef artisans. Business owners, decision-makers, and chefs are invited to take one or all class offerings at their convenience for the most thorough educational experience in the science, creation, and presentation of artisanal desserts.

 

Here’s the run down:

Gelato: Are you thinking about going into the business of artisanal Italian gelato? Perhaps you’re looking to expand your current menu with a trending frozen dessert? Either way, the PreGel International Training Centers have a variety of gelato-focused curricula that meet the needs of all skill levels.

 

The Fundamentals of Gelato & Sorbetto Production

Advanced Gelato and Sorbetto Production

Holiday Gelato Class

 

 

Specialty: Learn how to create and emphasize the “wow” factor of your display case with some of the hottest industry trends taught by some of the industry’s most talented and knowledgeable chef artisans.

Frozen Pops and Paletas

Ice Cream 101

 

 

Pastry: “Rise” to the occasion of heightened excellence and understanding with a choice of classes that best serve your niche specialty.

Bakery 101

Modern Pastry Shop

Pastry Basics

 

Wait, there’s more!

Additionally, PreGel hosts the 5-Star Chef Pastry Series®, exclusive to the PreGel ITC – Charlotte location. The 3-day custom seminars lectured by world-renowned pastry chefs are specifically crafted for advanced artisan chefs looking to sharpen their skills in niche categories such as plated desserts, pastry buffets, and chocolate, and each year (this year is PreGel’s 10th 5-Star anniversary), the line-up aims to please. For instance, the Charlotte ITC has already hosted an amazing seminar with Chef Amaury Guichon, and the remainder of the 2019 Series will feature:

 

 

The PreGel ITC isn’t “just another classroom.” Aside from the superior educational element, the additional perks are pretty awesome, too. For the price of one class, you will receive a class recipe book, daily lunch provided by PreGel, a PreGel certificate of completion in your course, and up to 18 Continuing Education Hours certified by the American Culinary Federation depending on class choice.

On top of that, all classes are taught throughout the year, with class sizes up to twelve students to promote an intimate environment ensuring all students receive individual attention. The PreGel ITC – Ft. Lauderdale also teaches its curricula in Spanish.

 

Are you ready to begin your journey to dessertpreneurship? Here are the routes!

The PreGel International Training Centers – Charlotte is located at 4450 Fortune Ave. NW, Concord, NC 28027, just northeast of Charlotte center city. It takes approximately 30-40 minutes (25 miles) to drive from Charlotte Douglas Airport to our facility. The local airport code for Charlotte Douglas Airport is CLT.

The PreGel Professional Training Centers – Los Angeles is located at 116 S. Brent Circle, Walnut, CA 91789, just east of Los Angeles center city. It takes approximately 30-45 minutes (28 miles) to drive from Los Angeles International Airport to our facility. The local airport code for Los Angeles International Airport is LAX.

The PreGel International Training Centers – Fort Lauderdale is located at 1475 W Cypress Creek Rd., Suite 205, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33309, just north of Fort Lauderdale center city. It takes approximately 20-25 minutes (15 miles) to drive from the Fort Lauderdale airport to our facility. The local airport code for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is FLL.

The PreGel International Training Centers – Chicago is located at 915 Busse Road, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007, just northwest of Chicago center city. It takes approximately 15-20 minutes (9 miles) to drive from the Chicago airport to our facility. The local airport code for Chicago O’Hare International Airport is ORD.

The PreGel International Training Centers – Dallas is located at 612 E Dallas Road, Suite 300, Grapevine, TX 76051, just northwest of Dallas center city. It takes approximately 10-15 minutes (6 miles) to drive from the Dallas Fort Worth airport to our facility. The local airport code for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport is DFW.

Whichever route you take to dessertpreneurship, it’s well worth the trip.

What Makes a Flavor Fail?

I recently read an article by Elisabeth Sherman of www.thekitchn.com about “Food Sins,” inspired by a Reddit thread. The focus was on  strange food combinations that some people swear by, one being peanut butter on top of cold pizza. I was immediately intrigued and amused by some of the examples she listed. And the article sparked a childhood memory of a weird food sin that made me laugh out loud (in the middle of a quiet office), while simultaneously establishing why PreGel’s reMix collection is such a treasure for flavor innovation in the industry.

 

Download to flavor your summer menu

 

The memory plays out this way: My parents were having some friends over on a lovely summer afternoon, where mixed drinks were being served. I, as a young, curious, and somewhat adventurous little girl quietly peeked into the living room from the kitchen door at all the activity happening. Aside from the frequent laughter and occasional use of “adult language,” I was mostly captivated by why they were drinking what looked like flat cola and water from fancy glass bottles. And seemed to be enjoying it!

 

Mudslide

 

I was immediately inspired to make a better tasting “happy drink” (that’s what we’ll call them here) for my sister and myself.

 

I jumped into immediate action, darting to the refrigerator with urgency and scanning the liquid contents inside the small cold box while my sister quietly looked on until I found the two components sure to be a “happy drink” hit!

 

Orange juice. And. Milk! (I know. I was eight.)

Download to add your favorite drinks to your display case!

 

Almost immediately,  two clear plastic cups were nearly spilling over with a golden-like mixture of half orange juice/half milk (no ice). I imagined the results were going to be amazing…like a liquid form of the creamy, orange-y frozen pops we would get from the ice cream truck, but in a cup!

 

I watched as my sister sniffed the citrus-y contents of the cup with noticeable apprehension.

 

“Go ahead!” I demanded, feeling overly enthused for us to taste the awesomeness that our very own “happy drinks” would be.

 

So, together, we sipped….

 

Together, we gagged!

 

And, together, we abandoned both cups on the kitchen table, immediately running outside to play away the memory of the horrible “happy drink” that instead brought us (our taste buds, especially) momentary despair.

 

Download for cakes and pie flavors that taste better cold!

 

You don’t have to admit it out loud if you don’t want to, but blink twice if you’ve ever created a recipe where the flavors didn’t quite blend as well as you thought (quietly!). Now you understand why I say PreGel’s reMix flavor collection is a treasure that offers many flavor suggestions for you so that poor flavor combination “sins” never happen again. And with the weather warming up, now is time to start planning your flavor menu, sans the “food sins.”

 

Which of the PreGel reMix collections do you find most inspiring? Tell us in the comments box below!

 

Business Tips for Mother’s Day

There are three ways to spell it: Mother’s, Mothers’, or Mothers Day. Which do you prefer?

 

Frosé Sorbetto

 

Currently, there’s an ongoing debate about the validity of each spelling, and, to me, they all make sense:

  • When an apostrophe is used before the s, that makes the day possessive to one singular mother.
  • When the apostrophe is after the s, this means the day belongs to the collective of all mothers.
  • When no apostrophe is used, this means the day belongs to no one at all but is a recognition of motherhood.

Nevertheless, despite the placement of the apostrophe (or not), I’m assuming that you probably wouldn’t agree with the overall viewpoint about the celebration proclaimed by the reported “mother” of Mother’s Day.

 

 

Copywriter and activist Anna Jarvis, is credited with starting the movement that led to the May 9, 1914 proclamation, signed by President Woodrow Wilson, which officially declared the second Sunday of May the annual holiday we know as Mother’s Day. But, according to several accounts, Jarvis is said to have fought against the commercialization of the annual holiday. Hence my previously mentioned assumption, seeing as commercialization is of added benefit to retail businesses of all kinds, including desserts.

 

Cherry Rose Verrine

 

Did you know?:

 

  • The estimated spending amount on Mother’s Day is over $20 billion.

 

  • Shoppers not only buy for their mothers, but also their stepmothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, and daughters.

 

  • The average person will spend approximately $186 on mom.

 

  • Gift cards and brunch, lunch, or dinner are two of the most popular  Mother’s Day gifts and the kind you can implement.

 

Now, keeping those stats in mind, let’s examine what you can do to get ready for the Moms Day rush?

Forest Berries Holiday Punch

 

The U.S. Small Business Association offers some pretty good ideas that I think businesses of all kinds can apply:

Sell gift cards – this is one of the most popular and expected gifts on Mother’s Day.

Sell greeting cards – Consider that almost 80% of consumers give cards on Mother’s Day. It is suggested that greeting cards be prominently displayed at checkout.

Offer a BOGO special – A buy-one-get-one deal is perfect for pairs, or create a group special for three or more.

Celebrate on social media – Attract attention to any Mother’s Day special menu items, deals, store hours, events, etc. You can even host a Mother’s Day-related contest for added appeal.

Partner with businesses that generate Mother’s Day sales – Florists, massage parlors, electronic stores, other restaurants (or maybe even a brewery), and beauty salons are all great local establishments to co-market each other in the most beneficial ways for you both.

Give away free gifts (or sundaes!) – Everyone likes something for free especially a free cookie, a free scoop, or maybe even a flower.

Milk Chocolate Raspberry Macarons

And, if your mom or mother-figure is a gelato or pastry chef, consider this or this as gift ideas.

 

So, whether you prefer Mother’s, Mothers’, Mothers, Moms, or Mama’s Day, have a happy and successful one.

Pistachio Differences

What’s the first thing you do when you want to know something? You ask! Whether it’s another person (or in many cases, Google), you seek the information necessary to quench your “curiosity thirst.” This includes information about pistachios … more specifically, PreGel Pistachio Traditional Pastes.

 

So, artisan chefs who enjoy creating pistachio-flavored specialty frozen desserts and pastry, this is for you!

 

As inquired about on our FAQ page:

What is the difference between PreGel’s pistachio pastes?

The answer:

PreGel Crema Pistachio Traditional Paste (Pistachio & Almond) has a vibrant green color with a hint of hazelnuts and almonds.

Amadeus Soft Gelato made with PreGel Crema Pistachio Traditional Paste

 

PreGel Pistachio Primavera Traditional Paste boasts the same bright color and is the most economical of the four.

Pistachio Ice Cream made with PreGel Pistachio Primavera Traditional Paste

 

PreGel Pistachio Green Pure Traditional Paste (Slightly Roasted Pure Pistachio) contains notes of nuttiness and saltiness.

Strawberry White Chocolate Monoportion made with PreGel Pistachio Green Pure Traditional Paste

 

PreGel Pistachio Pure Anatolia Traditional Paste presents a full, rich, nutty, and buttery taste.

Pistachio Truffle made with PreGel Pure Anatolia Traditional Paste

 

All four  pistachio pastes are high-quality and authentic, coming from a variety of regions throughout Italy and the Mediterranean.

 

Now, after reading all of that, you may have a hankering to make some really good pistachio-flavored gelato. Hey, we’ve got you covered!

 

 

 

Dessert Trends of 2019

We ended 2018 highlighting the flavor trends that were set to take over dessert and drink menus in 2019. And though we’re only two months into the New Year, more trends keep showing up! From frozen dessert to beverages to pastry, below is a collection of the newest round of trending innovation and ingredients that are in high demand. We’ve also featured some cool links to literature and recipe development created by PreGel America.

 

Frozen Dessert Industry

In terms of frozen dessert innovation, there are numerous sources showcasing the latest and greatest in taste, texture, and design. Discover some of the latest and most intriguing frozen dessert options out there to add to your menu expansion (that also happen to be great to social media exposure).

 

Insta-Innovation!

https://www.rachaelraymag.com/whats-new/ice-cream-instagram-trends

More Beans and Veggies, Please!

https://soyummy.com/frozen-dessert-2019-food-trend/

  • Avocado, hummus, and tahini as bases for ice cream flavors

 

Ice, Ice, Baby!

https://www.hospitalitymagazine.com.au/top-5-dessert-trends-you-need-to-know-about/

https://www.foodservice-snacks-desserts.com/productsandbrands/industrynews/snackinganddesserttrends2019theemergenceofnewflavors

 

New and appetizing flavors remain an ongoing topic in the foodservice industry. Currently enhancing dessert and drink recipes across the board, below are some examples of flavor innovation that are demanding some culinary attention right now.

So Fresh and So Clean…

https://www.foodservice-snacks-desserts.com/productsandbrands/industrynews/snackinganddesserttrends2019theemergenceofnewflavors

 

Patisserie Industry

Baked goods in any food locale is always a standard go-to for consumers. Whether sweet or savory, to be enjoyed onsite or on the go, pastry is definitely a form of culinary magic that keeps mouths watering, and in 2019, the basic staples we’ve come to love are being elevated.

 

Out with the Old, In with the Choux…

https://www.foodnewsfeed.com/sponsored/what-flavor-trends-are-and-out-2019-0

https://www.thecaterer.com/articles/541859/food-to-go-pastry-trends-for-2019

https://www.lantmannen-unibake.com/en-US/Schulstad-Bakery-Solutions/Inspiration/Bakery-Trends/

  • Eclairs
  • Choux
  • Bakeries inside full service restaurants
  • World flavors
  • Cross promotional baked goods
  • Savory snacks
  • Mini pastry
  • Lavishly decorated pastry

 

Beverage Industry

Consumers remain thirsty for change, and the beverage industry is no exception. From monster shakes to new roasts of coffee, see how the beverage sector is evolving and the ways your business can benefit.

To Quench or to Whet? That is the Question…

https://www.foodnewsfeed.com/sponsored/what-flavor-trends-are-and-out-2019-0

https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2018/12/05/Top-five-predictions-for-2019-beverage-trends

https://www.foodnewsfeed.com/fsr/spirits/create-stunning-libations-floral-scents-flavors

 

If you want to know more about how to implement some of these trends into your menu, or source the perfect ingredients specifically for you, we have the resources necessary to keep you on trend.

Business Advice from Business Owners

They say that storytelling is the best form of teaching because the lessons resonate better with the listener. Some could argue that making the decision to go into business (or invest in one) is an instance that requires learning by way of gathering A LOT of knowledge. However, I would imagine that the more stories you hear about why entrepreneurship, especially in the frozen dessert industry, is a good idea, the easier the apprehension might fade.

In my opinion, one of the best forms of inspiration is hearing the success story of someone else. Introducing dessertpreneur, Sierra Georgia, founder of  GELAT’OH! Brick & Motor, specializing in wholesale gelato manufacturing, retail, and private catering services across the upper northeast.

As the first feature in our “Each One, Teach One” series, an abundance of lessons and encouragement can be found in my most intriguing conversation with Sierra below for those making the transition into dessertpreneurship. Her story also offers sources of inspiration for those who have experienced the trials and triumphs of owning a business.

 

Chef Sierra Georgia, founder of Gelat’OH! Brick & Motor

 

What was the scariest part about leaving your former job  as an executive staff assistant at the Federal Aviation Administration to become a dessertpreneur?

The scariest part was knowing I was leaving a field I was an expert in to dedicate myself to becoming an expert in something totally new. I was mostly nervous because I knew I would be 100% responsible for myself with no excuses.  When you’re in the government, if you have a bad day and are not as productive, at the end of the week, you’re still being paid and it’s a financially comfortable atmosphere.

Being honest with myself on how I would deal with the worst case scenario of being an entrepreneur was scary.  I allowed myself to make the plunge because I made a promise to myself that no matter how hard building my business got, I would never give up.  I didn’t decide to resign and be a full time entrepreneur until I mentally got to that point.

 

What advice would you give those considering a transition from employee to employer?

My best advice is before you hire anyone into your business, break down what job functions your employees need to perform.  Make sure every employee understands the vision of your business, the goals, and overall mission.

Additionally, you don’t want to hire people just to hire them.  If you bring a new team member on, that new person’s functions should give your business an increase.  If it’s a salesperson, your sales should increase; if it’s a production person, you should be able to improve your capabilities to serve more customers/accounts.  Make sure people understand the expectations of their positions and you’ll minimize the stress in your operation.

 

 

 

 

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting you in person while conducting a student interview for one of PreGel’s 5-Star Pastry Series courses. How do you maintain such a high level of energy in this industry and leadership position that demands so much of you?

I attended a business seminar once and the absolutely awesome speaker said, “In business, if you want to make people happy, sell ice cream.”  She didn’t say this because she actually was encouraging people to sell ice cream, it was more so a joke.  However, I seemed to take it differently than those around me, I thought the statement was incredibly accurate.

I truly love what I do because I know my product makes people happy.  I grew up in a small business family.  I am energized and highly motivated to create a national brand so that my family and anyone that wants to be a part of my organization can be proud.  I am energized because I know what I’m building will create opportunities for people in my community to work, start a business, or just dive into something new.

 

I also feel that people need my product. I have never found someone that didn’t have a family member or close friend with diabetes or some kind of health issue. As a dessert professional, America’s health crisis  always was in the back of my mind.  I wanted to make people happy with my dessert, but I didn’t want to hurt them.  So being able to change the narrative on how people can enjoy quality desserts and not sacrifice on taste truly motivates me.  This is also why PreGel’s Dietetic Fruit Base one of my most used and favorite products at this point in my business.

 

Seeing as gelato is an Italian-born dessert, what made you want to be a part of the movement of artisans bringing the culture of gelato to North America?

My experience has been amazing and is one of the driving factors that made me want to get into the gelato industry. If anything, my being American was more of a “thing” when I was learning gelato.  When I started my gelato journey in Italy I felt I had discovered a world I didn’t know existed.  I felt as if I stumbled upon something in Europe that just wasn’t happening in my community. The culture of gelato just wasn’t as widespread and respected as it was in Europe, and I wanted to change that.  I knew gelato was on the rise in the USA and I wanted to be on the front lines of that.  I wanted to share this industry with my community.

 

When you go to a country like Italy and learn the history of gelato, see how its so normalized into any meal of the day, and has cemented its spot in the Italian culture, I knew we could have the same dynamic in America, it just didn’t exist yet.  From very early on I knew gelato had the power to bring the world together.

 

You say you want to take your guests on a “flavor journey.” Explain a bit more what that is.

I love playing with infusions and creating flavor experiences.  This is when you basically curate a 5-7 second experience in someone’s mouth every time they get a spoonful.  For example, I recently created a No-Added Sugar sorbet I call “GET WELL SOON”.  It’s pineapple-ginger-tumeric-lime (great for hangovers). In the first taste you are getting the pineapple, then you’re getting the ginger spice, and it ends with the turmeric and lime.  I tell people to relax and pay attention to what’s happening in your mouth, and it’s always an interesting experience.

 

 

Where does your drive and inspiration come from?

I grew up in a small business, my family has been in the moving business since 1955.  When I graduated from high school, times were changing in that industry and by the time I graduated college, the family business closed its doors and everyone was transitioning to something else.

The younger generation of children in my family, mainly my younger brother and sister, didn’t get the same experience I got growing up being a part of a family business, and I felt like they were missing out on something that truly helped mold who I became as an adult.  Giving them the opportunity to be a part of a family business drives me to keep building and is enough inspiration not to quit. My goal was to re-create a family business that will last for generations to come.  That’s what drives me.

 

What is the standout lesson you learned about opening a business that you would have handled differently in retrospect?

The biggest lesson would be knowing when to go full time.  It’s totally possible to start and even operate a business on a part time basis.  It’s all about managing and maximizing your time.  If I could press rewind, I would have planned out my resignation from my previous career with better timing.  I ended up resigning after a three-month leave of absence for the summer, which was right on time for very cold and slow winter season.

 

It has been said that very little of what you “cook up” is normal. Is being different; creating the unexpected; making the unexpected work…is that your ultimate goal during recipe development?

Yes.  I never wanted to blend in with all the other gelato menus and flavors you see out there.  I’ve been to gelato shops literally all around the world and studied the industry extensively before I got going.  It was mind blowing how everyone seemed to rotate the same traditional flavors with a few splashes of creativity here and there.

I knew I wanted to be different.  My goal was always to create flavors that were reflective of the rainbow of cuisines and foods we love in America, while still paying homage to the artisan technique that produces top quality gelato.  Even with the healthy flavors that are vegan or no sugar added,  I wanted different, but still five star quality and taste.

Chefs are usually the ones who get the spotlight, but tell us about your team and how they help you meet/exceed and maintain your success?

I have an amazing team. There’s no way I could have made it to this point without my village.  Everyone on my team caught the vision of what I set out to create.  Everyone believes in where we are going and the products we produce.  When your team believes in you as a leader and the direction the business is going, when you hit the highs and lows of being a startup, they’re still with you.

They play a vital role in making sure we keep progressing and getting more efficient as we grow and identify opportunities and improvements that I may not have thought of, without even asking.  It was always important to me to create a company that people were proud to work for, that is one of the take-aways I learned from growing up in a small business.

 

What’s your favorite Gelat’OH! flavor?

Hands down the Blue Majik, which knocked the White Coffee out of first place in my life once I created it.  Both of these flavors won a bronze this year at Gelato Festival America in Chicago (White Coffee), and Washington, DC (Blue Majik).  I love the Blue Majik so much because it’s mind-blowingly delicious and good for your health at the same time.

Blue Majik is from my cold pressed juice collection of flavors.  I cold press pineapples, apples, and ginger, and spike it with Blue Majik, which is from the same plant family as spirulina, but it’s a blue algae.  It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and improves your body’s ability to heal itself.  Blue Majik is also my favorite because it’s no sugar added.  It was the first flavor I created when I decided that I wanted my gelato to help people.  We have so many health problems in America, and I wanted literally everyone to be able to enjoy my creations.

 

 

Tell us a bit about your experiences in the two 2018 Gelato Festival America competitions you participated in?

Gelato Festival America was such an awesome experience.  It was amazing to work alongside other gelato artisans that love making gelato as much as I do.  It was also amazing to actually work on the mobile gelato lab, it is quite the site to see!  My favorite part about the festival was the people.  I had virtually no following in Chicago when I went out there for the festival.  The people embraced the white coffee in a way I could not have imagined.  It was my personal favorite flavor and to be able to witness the love of the flavor and be awarded for something I created to a totally new audience among such solid competition was magical.

The Chicago festival was one of my first confirmations when I knew I could sell my gelato anywhere in the country.

The DC competition was also eye-opening.  I started in DC as DC’s first gelato truck, selling someone else’s gelato.  To go overseas to learn how to make my own gelato, come back and launch my own brand, and then compete literally in front of the chef’s store that I used to buy gelato from and actually win a bronze was surreal.

The other biggest highlight of DC was the weather.  It was literally cold, windy, and raining all day on the first day.  To see people waiting in line with and without umbrellas, ponchos, etc., soaking wet to get a small taste of my Blue Majik was unreal.  They were dedicated to a point beyond my comprehension.

Lastly, I was the only sorbet to compete in the festival, and it was also a healthy, no sugar added flavor. To beat out all of the bigger, local brands in the DC area and place third was a huge deal.  The final highlight of DC was also meeting the CEO of Carpigiani and getting such positive feedback and encouragement to keep breaking the mold and pushing the limits with my flavors.  It was an unreal experience for me.

 

Why do you love the concept of gelato and artisanal desserts so much?

I am a very positive person, and I love to make people smile.  Gelato is my vehicle to deliver happiness to people, one spoonful at a time.  It’s therapeutic for me personally to create things.  I’ve always like baking, cooking, sewing, and generally crafty activities.  When I decided to go into the dessert business, I, of course, didn’t want to be like everyone else.  I was catering cupcakes part time, however when I was ready to hit the road with my truck, the cupcake craze had died down quite a bit and cupcakes were everywhere!  It was the beginning of summer and I knew I had to add something to the mix to stand out.

 

 

It was so hot outside so I knew I wanted something cold, but there was plenty of ice cream on the streets.  I quickly recognized the opportunity with gelato because there was no one I could find that was doing what I wanted to do, so I knew I was on to something.

When something you create turns someone’s mood around or makes them smile, you know you did your job.  I got addicted to making people smile with my desserts.  It’s a unique feeling that is extremely satisfying.

 

Some people may wonder how a specialty dessert chef maintains their physical health and physique working around so much sugar and sweet temptation. What do you do to keep yourself healthy?

I get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in per day.  I bought an Apple watch so I could get more in touch with how many calories I burn and steps I take daily because most entrepreneurs, depending on the industry, move around physically so much.  As an entrepreneur its also very easy to get enthralled in your business and not make time for your own health.

I was a college athlete so exercising was always a priority and is built into my day.  An ideal physique is something you definitely have to intentionally work on in this industry.  Thank goodness for my no-sugar added collection of sorbets that don’t make me feel guilty.

 

Being a dessertpreneur takes a lot of serious work, I’m sure, but what is the most fun part about your career?

The most fun part for me is creating custom flavors.  When clients come to me with their vision and ask me to bring it to life, it’s my favorite kind of challenge.  I accept pretty much any challenge that comes my way.  The more complicated, the better.  The big reveal when they taste it for the first time is the best part for me.

 

Aside from amazing gelato, tell us about the other services Gelat’OH! offers.

In addition to the gelato and sorbets, we create artisan pastry!  I am super excited about our GELAT’OH Cookie Cup!  We offer it in sugar and chocolate chip.  It’s my alternative take on a gelato cookie sandwich, which, in my opinion, are always very messy to eat and  found in the majority of gelato shops that dabble in pastry.  Its compact, cute, and absolutely the perfect size.

We currently do corporate catering with all of our desserts, mobile espresso bar service catering, GELAT’OH smoothie bar pop-ups, and of course our awesome mobile GELAT’OH cookie cup chocolate bar service.  Our newest addition will be our in-house cold pressed juice from which we have created a whole line of sorbets.  We will be bottling and shipping our juices by early 2019 nationwide.

 

What is the last thing you think about at the start and close of business every day?

At the start of every business day, I always examine what the day looks like and relate how every action I have in front of me gets me closer to accomplishing the short and long term goals for the business.  At the end of every day, I re-prioritize any outstanding actions, then create a new to-do list for the following day. I am always evaluating how I spend my time because whatever I focus on grows.  It’s my job to keep myself focused and minimize the distractions.

 

What are you most grateful for so far?

I am so thankful for the support of my family.  When I started out on this journey, pretty much everyone thought I was crazy for completely changing careers to go into the unknown, when I had accomplished so much and was very well compensated.  Nonetheless, my family always believed in my dream and still, to this day, are there for me.  Whether it was volunteering their time and hopping on the gelato truck with me in the early days to work the window at a crazy festival, or dog-sitting my beloved American Bulldog, Truck, while I spent weeks in Europe studying gelato and absorbing the knowledge I needed, everyone has been rooting for me since day one.

 

What’s next for Sierra Georgia and Gelat’OH!?

What’s next right now is growing our wholesale customer base down the east coast. Our first brick and mortar shop will be opening in Philadelphia this spring, so this will start a new chapter that the GELAT’OH team is excited and ready to take on.

 

Where do you want to see Gelat’OH! in five-ten years?

In five years, GELAT’OH! will be available in grocery stores nationwide, selling in major sports arenas, on the menu at your favorite hotels across the country, and supplying your favorite restaurants around the country with our products.  We should be looking to go international at that point.

Is there anything that I have not mentioned that you would like to add?

These were awesome questions!  I’m very thankful for the awesome products in the PreGel catalog and trainings that are available for artisans like myself.  Because of PreGel, I have been able to bring some of my most creative flavors and desserts to life. Thank you so much!

Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

Woot! Woot! Party over here (and there)!

 

In America, we tend to celebrate lots of different things. Among them are sports, music, cinema, food (there’s a different food holiday almost every day), and patron saints like Valentine and Patrick!

 

It was only a few weeks ago when we paid homage to St. Valentine, patron of love, on Valentine’s (Palentine’s/Galentine’s) Day, and St. Patrick is next on our list. By now, you’ve most likely put one of the golden rules of holiday prep into action and replaced your pink and red heart décor with green shamrocks, leprechaun images, and pots of gold (not real, of course!). But that’s not where it ends.

 

 

Now, because St. Patrick’s is not just about beer, whisky, corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and other traditional Irish foods, your menu will need to expand a bit. St. Patrick’s is a day full of celebrations and desserterias can easily fit into the mold of all the excitement St. Patrick’s Day is known to bring. And why not?  The story of Maewyn Succat–St. Patrick’s birth name– is equally as exciting…

 

Some might call it lucky!

Much like the fourth leaf on a four leaf clover is said to represent luck, Maewyn would come to experience a stroke of it after several years of hardship.

It is reported that at just 16 years old, Maewyn was captured by Irish pirates form his native home of what is modern day Dumbarton, Scotland, formerly Roman Britannia. Maewyn was forced into slave labor in Dalriada, Northern Ireland as a shepherd and farm laborer for six years until…

 

Four Leaf Clover Macaron

 

What the FUDGE?!

That’s what Maewyn’s captors must have been feeling when they realized he had escaped. The story suggests that Maewyn had a vision that instructed him to  escape Dalriada via a ship that would be waiting for him on the coast. It is said that Maewyn convinced the sailors to allow him to board the ship, which they agreed, and off to freedom Maewyn sailed.

 

Grasshopper Fudge

 

Now it’s time to mix it up!

During his captivity, Maewyn had become more devout and reliant on his Christian faith, which is said to have helped him get through the turbulent times. After escaping,  Maewyn studied and entered the priesthood, during which time he took on the name Patrick, which means “father figure,” in place of Maewyn. Patrick was eventually ordained as a bishop.

 

Mint Irish Cream Swirl Gelato

 

And ’round again…

Though initially not confident in his ability to fulfill the task, Patrick answered an undeniable call to return to Ireland nearly 30 years following his escape. There, Patrick embarked on missionary work that has since gone down in history, consequently earning him sainthood despite not being formerly canonized (it is said that during the first millennium, there wasn’t a formal canonization process at all, therefore, most saints from that period were given the title if they were either martyrs or seen as extraordinarily holy).

 

White Chocolate Pistachio Cookie

 

There you have it, a bit of insight into why March 17th, the said anniversary of St. Patrick’s death, is why we should get ready to see a lot of green (and eat some too!)

Fulfillment Through Service

Service—not to be confused with ServIce®—is said to be the biggest act of kindness there is. Just last week I was watching a video of an internal company presentation featuring our Managing Director, Marco Casol. There in Italy, he was addressing an audience of more than 300 PreGel team members from around the world, and, to me, the main topic seemed to be rooted in the notion of  fulfillment through service.

 

At the very beginning of the hour + presentation, Marco shared a bit of his history, driving the point of fulfillment with these words:

 

“I am a gelato maker. I am a son of gelato makers. I’m a grandson of gelato makers, and I’m a great grandson of gelato makers. You could say that I was born in a gelato pan. I spent most of my early life in gelato labs or behind gelato counters. While my friends were having fun at the pool, I was decorating gelato. I hated it.

So, two things happened in my life. The first: my mom came to me and said, ‘If you want to be happy, you need to do what you love. You need to follow your passion.’

 

So I Ieft. I went for my studies. And now I was learning interesting things. I was having fun with cool people, but I still wasn’t happy.

 

Second thing that happened in my life 18 years ago: A friend of mine introduced me to Dr. Rabboni. It took him five minutes to pull me back to the gelato world that I had rejected for such a long time…five minutes. It took him two minutes to hire me (thank you). It took him one minute to tell me ‘You’re going to the United States.’

 

So I went to the United States. I was in a new city with a new culture, surrounded by new people. I was alone with endless challenges, you can imagine. But, for the first time in my life, I was happy.

 

 

Why did I find this speech particularly inspiring? Because the message that came through to me was this: even when circumstances are challenging, through purpose and service, therein lies true fulfillment.

 

Even when circumstances are challenging, through purpose and service, therein lies true fulfillment. Click To Tweet

 

We are in the business of service. Each day we ask people, “How are you?” How may I help you?” “What can I get for you?” And with those questions, we are helping people. It’s not always easy, but it is a responsibility. And  the feeling of happiness and fulfillment that comes from living your purpose and doing something you love is amplified when other people can benefit from it.

 

In this industry, service is not only our bread and butter (or gelato and toppings?, pastry and filling?, beverages and flavor?), but it’s also a form of gratitude to those we serve for essentially helping us to live our dream, making being kind and offering quality service a win-win situation. And what is more fulfilling than that?

 

Bravo to you for the service you provide.

 

Tips from Pastry Chefs

You are an artisan, so you care about your artisanal frozen desserts, right?! Of course you do! And because of that passion, you have the ongoing burning desire to present the best showcase of authentic Italian specialty dessert majesty as possible (I know that was a bit dramatic, but I really wanted to drive the point!).

And isn’t it human nature for us to want to make what we do well, even more amazing? And if it’s already amazing, we definitely want to keep it that way! Well, the chefs at the PreGel International Training Centers understand this ideal. Hey, they’re artisans who are passionate about artisanal desserts, too!

With that being said, take a look at six of the top tips we’ve featured on our social media pages to help do one of two things: 1) take well to amazing, or 2) maintain your amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Order Information

Business Prep for Valentine’s Day

Picture it: staggered military recruitment, banned marriages and engagements, secret nuptial ceremonies, imprisonment, and finally execution, all in the name of love and war. Sounds like components of a fantastic story line for a crowd-drawing cinematic showcase, or a series of events that legends are made of…would you agree?

 

Well, in regard to this article, the latter is the correct answer, seeing as all of those elements make up the reported story of St. Valentine—a Roman priest who performed secret wedding ceremonies against the decree of Emperor Claudius II, who had banned all marriages and engagements in Rome in his effort to increase the chances of Roman military recruitment and decrease the opportunity for men to marry and stay home with their wives and families.

Because of his defiance, Valentine was arrested, beaten, and executed, per Claudius’s orders, on February 14th around the year 270, though his great service earned him sainthood after his death.

 

My hypothesis: it’s because of Valentine’s apparent devotion to the concept of love (compounded by the farewell note that he’s assumed to have left to his jailer’s daughter signed, “From Your Valentine”) that the alleged anniversary of his death has become the annual celebration of romantic love.

 

This is where you come in!

Each year, balloons, flowers, chocolates, candies, jewelry, dinner, and other surprises are given in abundance in the name of love (or like). Americans definitely splurge on the objects of their affection (or themselves and even their colleagues) on Valentine’s Day. As a matter of fact, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reports that in 2018 55 % of Americans celebrated the holiday, totaling 19.6 billion dollars in consumer spending (this number doesn’t count Palentine’s/Galentine’s Day, typically celebrated on February 13th, when non-romantic connections, i.e., friends, family, etc. celebrate their warm feelings for one another).

 

With this being said, make sure you show your customers some love on Pal/Gal/or Valentine’s Day, and they will love you back. And to ensure the most popular of date nights goes well in your establishment, here are five ways you can prepare for a successful every ‘Tine’s Day:

 

Decorate
According to Ambius, a company dedicated to designing commercial spaces to create a competitive advantage, studies have shown that stores and businesses decorated for the holiday create a positive feeling in customers, making them feel more at home, and increasing their happiness which is  likely to result in purchases. Additionally, holiday decor motivates employees, producing happier feelings in your team, and thereby heightening their customer service to make for a more pleasant experience. They also advise considering a holiday-appropriate playlist for your store.  This can help bolster the mood of the day.

 

Remember
Consider what you did last year for the ‘Tine’s. What worked, what didn’t, and what could you do differently this time to increase profits? How effective were your marketing efforts (social campaigns, newsletters, promotions, etc.), and how creative were they? Also, reviewing your financial reports in order to make spending projections and making sure your lines of credit are in place and are sufficient is a bit of advice offered by www.forbes.com for holiday preparation.

Go the extra mile with customer service
Valentine’s Day may be marketed for lovers, but remember your audience-s. As I mentioned before, February 13th is typically the “Valentine’s” for non-romantic love.  For this reason, small business financing company, bfs capital, recommends positioning your business to celebrate love in general. For instance, consider those who aren’t currently caught up in the rapture of Cupid’s arrow, and the couples who don’t particularly celebrate the tradition of Valentine’s Day. The company advises that leveraging is a great way to attract all customer types, and I think that’s a smart point. Per usual, be creative with your holiday menu choices, considering all relationship statuses.

Inventory! Inventory! Inventory!
So, in light of the holiday menu choices we just spoke about, be traditional, get creative, or do a mixture of both. But whatever you may want to prepare for your customers on Valentine’s Day, ensure you have a sufficient inventory of necessary ingredients to execute your goals. Be mindful to place your orders and sample requests early. When it comes to perfecting your new recipes and having the tools on hand to create standard ones. in my opinion, it’s better to be prepared early than to be scrambling later.

 

Same Book, Same Page!
Now that you know how you want to decorate, what marketing initiatives you will need to do for effectiveness, what your menu will be for both customer bases, and your inventory checklist checked, it’s time to get everyone on the same page. Be sure to train your serving staff on each flavor and specialty item for your holiday menu. As you know,  paying customers appreciate a knowledgeable staff to help them along their culinary adventure, especially when there’s an abundance of great menu options like the kinds you offer! And employees like to know what they’re talking about! Also, if you are planning to have special holiday hours that clearly differ from your normal schedule, be sure to post them so that customers and staff are well aware.

 

Now, we’ve talked about what you can do for those celebrating the ‘Tine’s Days, but have you considered the perfect gift for the artisan in your life…or maybe  for yourself?

I have two fantastic ideas: one involves meeting immensely famous chefs, and the other is one of the hottest trends of 2019… you choose!

 

Happy ‘Tine’s Day!

 

Getting Motivated at Work

 “There are no limits to what you can accomplish…
except the limits you put on your own thinking.”
– Brian Tracy, motivational speaker

It’s a new year, and I firmly believe in open, honest, and complete communication from the very start of anything. In my personal opinion, communication and compromise is the cure for almost any situation. With that being said, allow me to start off our 2019 relationship with this truth: I had next to no motivation to do my job and write this post for you.

 

Yes, it is a simple admission, and yes, it’s more than likely something you can relate to. Why? Because at some point we’ve all suffered from a lack of motivation, which is why getting started is the hardest part of different projects and objectives.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the creative freedom of my job, so I feel terrible about this truth, which is why I’m confessing: 1) to get it off my chest. 2) because facing the challenge instead of avoiding it usually helps to uncover a solution, would you agree? 

facing the challenge instead of avoiding it usually helps to uncover a solution, would you agree? Click To Tweet

So, aside from telling on myself today, what made me get up and write this post despite my initial lack of motivation? You.

 

My answer may sound like one of those “Awww….that’s so sweet,” moments (and one you don’t typically find on a B2B-based blog), but my intention for 2019 is not only to publish blog content that is educational and informative, but helpful to you, the person reading the articles…not just the business partner. So, for me, beating that paralyzing feeling of non-motivation was absolutely essential to achieving this goal.

 

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
– Confucious, Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher

 

So, what did I do to move forward? I had to take an introspective analysis to understand how I could be stronger than the hold that non-movement was having on me. I asked myself the questions: Why did I initially want to do this post? What is stopping me now? Is there something I am afraid of? What will the result be if I don’t move forward?

 

The answers:

  • Why did I initially want to do this post? To help our readers from a more personal space.

 

  • What is stopping me now? I’m not exactly sure what to say, or if these inspirational blogs will be effective.

 

  • Is there something I am afraid of? Possible failure.

 

  • What will the result be if I don’t move forward?  Definite failure resulting from the absence of encouraging words made available for anyone who may need them (which completely goes against my plan).

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about writing blog posts of this nature, that target human feelings instead of business-focused content on a business-based blog. But I was compelled to take a chance anyway. Why? Because I know that encouraging other people should outweigh my insecurities.

“Failure is nothing more than a chance to revise your strategy.”
-Unknown

So, as you move forward with your business plans, there will be times when you may not feel motivated to do your job, and it could be for a host of reasons related or not. But if you don’t move forward, what will the outcome be? And will you be satisfied with that?

 

It is true that starting a business, partnering with someone in a business venture, taking on a more demanding role in business, etc. will demand more of you, which could lead to feeling overwhelmed and possibly stifle motivation even for a short period. But with that being said, remind yourself of what your main objectives were in the beginning, reevaluate your plan if necessary, take a chance, and move forward.

 

In terms of business, find the right resources to assist you with achieving the professional goals you desire. Become educated in your field to meet and exceed the level of excellence you look to display, and partner  with other dependable, like-minded professionals to be an integral ally throughout your journey and overall success.

 

Is it better to do nothing and wonder “what if?” or take a chance and have a story to tell? We are all the authors of our stories, and we “write” them the way we need them to go. So when it comes to lack of motivation in terms of your story, fill in the blanks of what could be holding you back, then…move forward.

2019 Pantone Living Coral Desserts

I’ve been reading, and you know what I found out? There are colors that exist which aren’t noticeable to the human eye. Ultraviolet, which some birds and insects can see, is said to be one, and infrared—a color that we can only feel is another example. However, there is one color in particular that will be highly visible and abundant in 2019—and that’s Living Coral (16-1456), the Pantone color of the year.

 

Image result for pantone color of the year 2019

 

If you’re not familiar with Pantone, here’s a quick breakdown.

 

Not to be confused with the popular line of hair care products, Pantone is a corporation of color experts responsible for innovations such as the Pantone Matching System (PMS), which  is a system for identifying, matching, and communicating colors for consistency across the print and textile design industries.

Since 2000 (yes, 19 years ago, but who’s counting?), the folks at Pantone have been choosing the color of the year based on color trends in all facets of life such as the entertainment industry, travel, art, fashion, technology, and more, as reported by www.cnn.com.

 

 

Indeed, Living Coral is a magnificent color. To the untrained eye like mine, it is a beautiful, delicate fusion of tangerine and blush pink. However, the color experts at Pantone Color Institute—those responsible for choosing the winning color each year—have a much more captivating opinion. They describe Living Coral as “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.”

Nice! I think if I were a color, I would want to be Living Coral… (by the way, the graphics you see throughout the article are other complementary terms Pantone used to describe the shade of 2019).

 

 

Additionally, choosing Living Coral as the color of the year for 2019 is understood to be an ode of sorts to the coral reefs around the world that are continuously being killed, as seen in this statement by Pantone via the official website: “PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent color mesmerizes the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, PANTONE Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color.”

 

 

Realistically, the color of 2019 is a strong choice for many reasons including beauty and purpose, but visually, Living Coral doesn’t only have to play to the benefit of  those in fashion, home furnishings,  industrial design, and product, packaging, and graphic design. The company’s study of how color influences human thought processes, emotions, and physical reactions parallels with the effect food options have on people. So, with this being said, why not apply Living Coral (or a close cousin) to culinary arts as well!

Just to ensure accuracy, I asked our International Training Center chefs which of our products would result in a hue much like Living Coral, and I got a whole list:

 

 

We also have a silicone mold with a coral design

 

click to see full video

 

From Our Family to Yours

Happy New Year!

It’s hard for me to believe, and I’m not sure how many of you are still in denial, but, yes folks, it is officially 2019!

Now is typically when we start putting things into perspective and clearly defining what they mean to us.  With that being said, we have something we would like to put into perspective and clearly define what it means to us: the term “family.”

If you haven’t noticed, at PreGel we utilize the expression “From Our Family to Yours” quite often. It’s on much of our collateral, in our e-signatures, in our advertisements, and of course on our website.  To us, family is an ideal that is extremely important, and for many of you, family is possibly one of the driving forces behind your desire to go into business.

In any case, it’s true that varying definitions of what family means exist today. And as we look to refine our existing business relationships and forge new ones with you this year, allow us to share a deeper understanding of what we mean when we at PreGel say “From Our Family to Yours,” explained in the detailed words of our Directing Manager, Marco Casol:

 

 

There is a general adage which states, “I have yet to meet a stranger.” This statement is meant to be understood as a proclamation of unconditional acceptance as friend or family despite a lack of familiarity. And when examined a bit deeper, this viewpoint also reveals that the action of introduction immediately cancels out the notion of either party being a stranger to the other, which allows for the development of a friendly relationship or one like that of family.

It seems like only yesterday that we began our journey, but in almost seventeen years in America, PreGel has chosen to accept everyone we connect with as family, albeit our internal colleagues, distributors, future and current business partners, sponsors, and end customers. This is why the meaning behind our message—From Our Family to Yours—is so important. In essence, it is our invitation to those who reside in the world of specialty artisanal desserts to join us in sharing, talking, working, and nurturing this unique industry together.

I’m excited to say that PreGel is a worldwide family of business professionals who work tirelessly, through a variety of services, to ensure your dreams flourish. You see, PreGel was built on a dream to help gelato chefs enhance and maintain their desires to forge successful businesses. Through constant initiatives such as the redesign of our company website, the development of our sponsored educational website, www.whygelato.com; and the institution of www.pregelfamily.com, which offers a more intimate view of PreGel from behind the veil of business, we look to maintain the legacy of developing dreams, which began with Dr. & Mrs. Luciano Rabboni more than 50 years ago.

Elena

Dr. & Mrs. Luciano Rabboni

 

Today, PreGel S.p.A. is still privately owned and operated by the Rabboni family. Ideally speaking, this family is the root of 20 PreGel subsidiaries and 25 International Training Centers around the world. At PreGel, part of our job as the root of this family tree mirrors the role of an actual tree root: to function as a means of anchorage and support, and that responsibility is one we take great pride in.

Much like one may view a mentor as a parental figure; or members of a military unit, sports team, organization, etc. may refer to one another as brother or sister, it is understood that family is not just a result of biological connection, but a bond rooted in the struggles and triumphs of uplifting a shared purpose or belief, and in our case it is the passion to work in tandem with one another to spread the culture of authentic Italian gelato and other fine artisanal desserts.

Therefore, we hope to continue growing with you and ultimately expanding this family of innovators who are truly passionate about the art, science, and development of specialty dessert innovation. As a family, let’s continue to share useful information, implement dessert trends and innovation, and encourage ongoing cultivation in an industry where we don’t meet strangers, but recognize family.

 

What’s Next: What Will 2019 Taste Like?

It almost feels unreal to be asking this question, but “wow,” can you believe it’s already the end of the year? Time seems to fly so fast, doesn’t it? And if there’s one thing in life that is consistent, it’s the movement of time, and change.

So, as we prepare to transition into a new year, get ready for the inevitable. But wait! What if things are going great for your business, or just beginning to take off and you don’t want change? Don’t worry, because with change comes the opportunity for further success, but that requires knowledge, and in this case we want to know: what are consumers looking for? How is the foodservice industry changing? What are the next round of trends going to be?

In essence, what 2019 will taste like?!

Well, the food trends of 2019 have undoubtedly been a hot topic for the last several weeks, and here are some of the topics that have been heavily … trending (I couldn’t help it!).

That’s interesting!
According to www.ctvnews.ca, a tasty northern Chinese street food known as bings is becoming more well known. Described as crepe-esque with egg filling and sweet or savory sauces. This could be the next big breakfast option (and internationally inspired breakfast cuisine is also going to be big in 2019) or anytime snack option on your next-level menu.

Bring the flavor!
American supermarket chain, Whole Foods Market, made some delicious flavor predictions to add some “yum” to 2019. The chain’s trend-spotters suggest that vibrant Pacific Rim flavors such as guava, dragon fruit, and passion fruit will enhance colorful smoothie bowls and cocktails.

Beet smoothie bowl

Frozen is cool!
Frozen dessert artisans and consumers will be excited about the next Whole Foods prediction: trailblazing frozen treats. The company reports predictions of new consumer ice cream products made of everything from avocado to hummus to coconut water; airy Taiwanese snow ice and Mexican nieves de garrafa (artisan hand-churned ice cream), and stretchy, chewy, Turkish ice cream.

But not to be ignored, the chain also reports that frozen pops and gelato will maintain a stronghold in the industry with some “boozier” infusions coming to market.

Yes, please!
Judging by our resources on the other side of the pond, Big Hospitality, a hospitality newsletter based in the United Kingdom, forecasts sweet delights for the dessert lover in you (and the ones you serve)!

The digital publication suggests that cakes and tarts will have a strong presence in 2019 due to their competitive levels of showmanship and innovation. Also trending will be entremets, ice cream sandwiches with macaron shells, boozy ice cream makes yet another appearance even outside of the States.

According to Big Hospitality, 2019 will also taste like vegan desserts that are much more sophisticated than simply fruit salad such as coconut and chocolate ripple gelato, coconut rice pudding, banana bread, and peanut butter pudding. More innovative 2019 trends, as reported by Big Hospitality is fried milk (firm custard that is battered and fried), Asian flavors – mango, durian, black sesame seed, toasted coconut, passion fruit, lychee, and yuzu, and French patisserie classic, choux pastry.

Bake it what you want!
Exciting food news continued with business finance company Quikstone Capital Solutions for the bakery sector. The finance expert foretells of exotic doughnuts with sweet and savory fillings extending its stronghold on the dessert industry throughout the New Year. Bite-sized desserts will satisfy consumer desire for portion control, and they suggest that adding high end spirits to traditional desserts is a great way to increase sales and drive revenue. Catering to consumers looking to achieve or maintain a healthy lifestyle with good-for-you dessert options never goes out of style. And speaking of style, artistic creations such as the unicorn everything of 2018 is also on the company’s forecast.

Produce with purpose!
With fruits and veggies making such a major impact on the food industry for their range of beautiful hues, health benefits, and versatility, www.foodnewsfee.com foresees ugly produce adding to the taste of 2019. They may be ugly on the outside, but it’s what’s inside that counts with this group. Adding to the culinary fanfare will be fermented foods such as kombucha, and colorful creations with massive appeal—treats for the eyes AND mouth!

Kombucha frozen dessert recipes

Keeping it moving…
2018 was full of unforgettable movements including those in the foodservice industry the will continue into 2019: Sustainability – avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance; preventing food waste; and probiotics and digestive health.

Oat, Really?!

Yes, Oat milk is the new “it” milk making waves in food trend headlines, like that of delish.com.  According to the digital publication, Non-dairy milk sales in the U.S. have grown 61 percent since 2012, making a lot more than just nut milks available at the supermarket. Currently, oat milk is the latest craze.

In terms of social media-based food porn, market research giant, Technomic, suggests photographic food porn has been mostly replaced by video. Because of this, some restaurants are serving dishes that make sounds, move, or change color, in effort to impress on social media. Something to think about?

Is that so?
The popularity of Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is growing like weeds in the foodservice industry. North Carolina-based media outlet, www.charlotteagenda.com explains the potent extract from the cannabis plant is popping up in everything from cookies to cocktails. Though CBD is an instantly provacative topic, due to the relation to its cousin THC–tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects, as described by www.livescience.com. But CBD is non-psychoactive and legal in all 50 states.

That’s the short list of what 2019 will taste like for your customer. But what will 2019 bring for you. Forecasts show that fitness, mindfulness, and wellness, are all great focuses for your enhanced well-being. And why not?  You’ll want (and need) to be around to see all your efforts flourish whether it’s of mind, body, and soul, or business!

Cheers to upcoming food trends and all the delicious tastes that 2019 has in store (pun intended)!

Ingredients for Sweet and Savory Recipes

Attention please! There are three words I’d like to share with you as we near the end of the year and the beginning of the festive period when consumers across the board are seeking menu diversification.

 

Salt, pepper, and sugar.

 

You may be wondering why those three words. Well, out of all the spices and herbs in the world, those three seasonings are guaranteed to be found in almost every kitchen. Why? Because they are staple ingredients that can be used across the menu, and ingredients with characteristics like that are valuable to the overall efficiency and bottom line of a restaurant when it comes to running the kitchen. And in regard to this notion, PreGel presented a concept that falls in line with this chef-friendly ideal back in May of 2018 during the National Restaurant Association Show – one which is likely unexpected of a specialty dessert ingredient company.

 

At the biggest foodservice trade show in America, PreGel introduced how its ingredients can be utilized in all dayparts, from breakfast to an after-dinner cocktail and everything in between. Certainly, this was an exciting venture for an international powerhouse with half a century of experience dedicated to producing high quality ingredients specifically for artisanal desserts.

 

 

But, due to some research and the creativity of PreGel International Training Centers chefs such as Jason Sturdivant, lead chef on the exploration of PreGel ingredients in savory recipes, recipe innovators in all areas of foodservice can experience quality, consistency, and unique recipe development with artisanal “go-to” ingredients that showcase the culinary ambidexterity of salt, pepper, and sugar regarding sweet and savory menu options.

Brownie-Bowl-with-Pistachio-Gelato-and-Amarena-Kirsch-with-Frollis-spoon

From Sweet: Pistachio gelato made with Pistachio Pure Anatolia Traditional Paste in a brownie cup

 

Pizza-with-Pesto-Pure-Green-Pistachio-Paste-Sauce

To Savory: Pistachio Pesto made with PreGel Pistachio Pure Anatolia Traditional Paste

Why is this important to decision-makers like you? Because in our line of business, it’s not just about culinary creativity but problem solving as well. And when you are able to rely on ingredients that produce exceptional results, save on shelf space and shipping costs, you have the best of all worlds.

 

Consider, for instance: the same chocolate paste utilized to create an endless selection of artisanal frozen desserts and pastries also lends a flavorful hand to savory trends like mole sauce; or a shortcrust dough base specifically created to produce baked delicacies including delightful crust for pies, tarts, cookies, etc., can be transformed into a batter for elegant dishes such as crab beignets, and traditional American favorites like fish and chips.

Crab beignets with mango chutney

At this point, this nagging thought may be developing in your mind: how is it possible to use the same dessert ingredient to go from one extreme menu item to another?

 

Additionally, the idea of having a small selection of ingredients to utilize throughout an entire day’s menu may seem extremely challenging, or perhaps unrealistic to some. However, according to Sturdivant, there is a solution to end any possible doubt.

Gluten free fish and chips

When I was first presented with this project, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of creating a full menu incorporating the ingredients we use for dessert innovation,” Sturdivant begins.

 

“But as the ideas began to flow, it was exciting to experience the reality that you can use an ingredient that was originally designed for a dessert application in a savory recipe. It was great,” Sturdivant enthusiastically adds.

 

Pineapple glazed bacon

 

Regarding working with a short list of ingredients, Sturdivant shares a positive outlook on the culinary challenge, stating “Just think of the main flavor you want to present in your dish and find where the ingredient may fit. Sometimes, you will need to adjust for the sweetness [if using dessert ingredients] but not always.”

 

Ultimately, the International Training Centers chef suggests that utilizing ambidextrous ingredients that work for sweet and savory jolts a heightened sense of creativity in that “it makes you think harder” about your recipe development, and explore the possibilities of using something else in place of a standard ingredient.

Raspberry Radicchio Salad with Savory Shortbread

Though the culinary advantages of utilizing a lean list of multifaceted ingredients are abundant (pun intended), there are additional gains to this seemingly unconventional idea as well as we briefly mentioned earlier. But allow me to use three phrases this time to emphasize the recurring point:

 

Money-saving. Space-saving. Time-saving.

 

For further clarification, the added benefits of compacting your list of ingredients for those that can be used across the board will reduce overall shipping costs due to lighter freight; your counter space will open up because you have less in your pantry; and you will save valuable time resourcing ingredients from different vendors. As Chef Sturdivant advises, “If you can utilize the same ingredient for multiple avenues then you will be able to buy from less sources.”

Sous Vide Pork Loin with Hispanic Mole Sauce

Perhaps following a recipe of resourcing multi-efficient ingredients will allow the vocabulary of dependable staples in your kitchen to expand and include not only salt, pepper, and sugar, but base, compound, and flavor pastes as well!

Six “Bites” of Insight with Chef Lauren V. Haas

5star 2018 Lauren V Haas

Okay, I’ll admit it. There’s always a tinge of anxiety when preparing to go interview a 5-Star Chef like Lauren V. Haas. As I prepared for the third segment of the “Six Bites Series,” I quickly read over my six questions a final time, and then headed down to the North Carolina International Training Centers so that I could escort Chef Haas to the interview studio.

As I walked into the ITC, I observed Chef Haas meticulously putting the finishing touches on one of several desserts she had created during class, and she showcased a look of extreme focus–someone who takes great care in creation, demonstrates patience in execution, and is veracious about presentation.  I knew then that our interview would be very interesting…and I was right! But if I may fangirl for a moment, I’d like to note that speaking with Chef Haas was a stress-free experience, which helps to prove that fear exists only in the mind. Join me to venture into Pt. 3 of the “Six Bites Series” with Chef Lauren V. Haas.

 

 

Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one in PreGel who was impressed by Chef Haas.

See what her students had to say:

“I loved this class. Chef Haas is very organized, neat, and talented. I loved that we didn’t waste our time measuring recipes. We used that time to actually learn and pay attention to the demo. The final products looked very delicate and elegant. Thanks for another amazing experience at PreGel classes.” – Fernanda Dutra, executive pastry chef, BYU

“Chef Haas was warm and friendly. Here teaching style was thorough, articulate, and interactive. I really loved how she took the time to walk through each recipe and possible diversions of them. She was wonderfully inspiring.” – Gianina Serrano, chef/owner, Sixth Course

“Coming from a non-traditional pastry background, this class definitely put me on the fast track to implementing 5-Star quality pastry to my menu. Chef Haas was unbelievably creative, patient, descriptive, and everything you’d want from an instructor. I’ll be coming back for more classes for sure. I. LOVE. PREGEL.” – Sierra Georgia, founder, Gelat’OH! Brick & Motor

“Thoroughly enjoyed the class; learned a lot of techniques and the basis of why and what is used. Enjoyed the bits of chemistry and physics behind the reason for the ingredients and methods.” – Ray Jang

“Excellent class, fun and educational. Chef Lauren is amazing and answered our questions. The PreGel staff was really helpful and friendly. Kristen & Casey were awesome! Thanks to Holly for lunch! Thanks Alicia for welcoming us and hosting for the best class ever!” Megan Kehoe, pastry chef, JackTar Restaurant

“Awesome! Chef Lauren’s techniques and recipes are perfect and practical for my shop. Very inspiring and excited to apply what I learned!” – Bridget Labus, co owner/chef, Sixth Course

“This was an excellent class. There were many great techniques and wealth of information. It was very well organized. This class exceeded my expectations. Lauren Haas was superb!” – Anthony Rizzo, executive chef, Two Rivers Country Club, Williamsburg, VA

“The price paid versus what we get is extremely nice. The first night dinner with everyone was a great way to break the ice with everyone. The lunch was fantastic as well as the hotel you chose. The class was really great! Kristen & Casey were great helpers to Chef Haas. Chef Haas was really amazing. She really was interested in what we were doing; EXTREMELY patient. Her desserts were amazing and she tried to get us involved and moving. Really happy I got into her class (and it’s awesome that she is a female chef).” – Caroline Ballam, pastry chef, Ritz Carlton, Pentagon City

“If you feel a little stagnant in your kitchen and are looking for some inspiration, the PreGel 5-Star classes will get you going again. It is always an adventure and I can’t wait to go home and try out all the new things I’ve learned.” – Keefe Fillerup, executive pastry chef, University of Wyoming

Adding Texture to Desserts

Arabeschi Rheology

There’s vanilla gelato, and there’s vanilla gelato with crunchy chocolate cookie pieces. There’s green mint ice cream, and there’s “melt-in-your-mouth” mint chocolate chip ice cream. There’s cheesecake, and there’s turtle cheesecake with gooey caramel sauce, crunchy chocolate morsels, pecan bits, and grainy graham cracker crust. Magic!

 

Visit our recipe database for flavor and texture innovation

 

By now you’ve got the point: the texture of our food (smooth, creamy, crunchy, grainy, chewy, rubbery, slimy, etc.) makes a big difference in what we choose to eat, how much we will enjoy it, and why we make those choices to begin with. This new discovery leads to the term of the day: rheology, or food texture. I was personally surprised that there was scientific terminology for this and quite captivated by the intricacies surrounding food rheology.

 

 

A little bit of this, a little bit of that…

If you’re a fan of the movie Fiddler on the Roof like me, you may have picked up on the title of this segment. And though the particular song these lyrics reference have nothing to do with recipe development, they lend themselves well to the topic of food texture. Adding a little bit of this, and a little bit of that to a recipe can excite psychorheology. Yes, it’s a thing!

 

Well, what is psychorheology?
According to www.popsci.com, the digital publication of Popular Science, psychorheology is the perception of food’s rheology, which focuses on the consistency and flow of food. And the best way to perceive our food is through our chewing preferences, of which there are four categories according to a group of food sensory researchers from The Understanding & Insight Group.

 

So, if you’re curious about the types of chewing preferences your consumers (or you) favor, check out this list:

 

  • Smoosher: those who prefer soft, creamy foods that move around the mouth with little to no actual chewing like pudding, applesauce, yogurt, smoothies, and hummus.

  • Chewers: those who prefer foods that can be chewed for a long period of time such as dates, gummy candies, dried fruit, and fruit leather.

 

 

  • Crunchers: eaters who prefer foods that…crunch, much like chips, pretzels, popcorn, granola, graham crackers, apples, carrots, and pumpkin seeds.

  • Suckers: this group prefers foods that slowly dissolve over time, much like hard candy, frozen pops, and cotton candy.

Why is this important to know?

Because, contrary to popular understanding, the overall appeal of food does not wholly depend on taste (the senses inside our mouths including the tongue), flavor (when taste and aroma merge), and smell. But how a food feels can affect our enjoyment of what we’re eating.  Mouthfeel, how food or drink feels inside our mouths, is just as important as flavor, taste, and smell to the entire dining experience.

 

So, how can I enhance the rheology of my menu choices?

Inclusions are the not-so-secret enhancer of delicacies across the board. Think fresh fruit, nuts, pieces of chocolate, etc., or variegates, toppings, and fillings capable of combining all of these components in one.  Consumers are naturally attracted to “pretty” or interesting things, which is why we normally eat first with our eyes, right? So, the use of sauces with inclusions easily elevate the average recipe’s visual appeal…and more. Sure, consumers know what core flavors they crave, but it’s that extra bit of “umph” provided by methods like using sauces with textural elements that seal the deal.

 

You’re right. Showing examples always helps!  

Today, adding food texture is not only good practice to ensure you satisfy any of the four segments of chewing preferences, but adhering to dietary restrictions, and beautifying your creations are all current trends surrounding rheology (food texture), and psychorheology (the perception of food texture).

 

Discover why creating beautiful desserts can be a free marketing bonus for your business!

 

According to a report published by Mintel, a global provider of market research, some of today’s hottest food trends showcase the addition of variegates, toppings, and fillings as the stars of some irresistible-to-look-at treats. If I argued the fact that the inclusions are the reason why these trends are so popular, would you agree?

 

Take the following examples of upgraded food rheology for instance:

 

Freakshakes/Monstershakes – In this instance, Mintel notes that loading works with appetizers such as loaded French fries, chips, nachos, and the infamous loaded potato. But now freakshakes/montershakes are following suit, except with a jambalaya of dessert sauces that dazzle all the senses at first sight!

 

These “beverages” could easily be described as a family-style dessert in a single glass, boasting outrageous loading and layering of varying sauces with different textures, including crunchy, gooey, smooth, or more, no doubt adding limitless appeal.

See more in-depth information on this trend, here.

 

Dietary restrictions – In terms of gluten-free menu items, Mintel has reported a 30% increase between 2015 and 2017; regarding vegan/vegetarian items: +45%. Whether kosher, halal, vegan, gluten-free, etc., dietary restrictions are ingrained in our culinary culture. However, this does not prohibit the inclusion of textural upgrades, so long as the ingredient you choose has the dietary certification you need. It’s important to keep in mind that adding texture is only a delicacy if it can be enjoyed. That means keep your recipes 100% of what your intended outcome is for the consumer you are serving.


Seasonal
– Consumers are consistently drawn by labels like locally-sourced, limited time only, and seasonal. In terms of seasonal, Mintel states that it is the seventh leading menu item claim and continues its popularity in the ongoing climate favoring seasonal cuisine. They add that the term doesn’t just apply to fruit. When used in a general dessert title, it implies that the ingredients call on the time of year—implying freshness and perhaps local. Mintel suggests that seasonal cobblers and sorbets fit well in this category.

Bonus point: Recipe inclusions, such as variegates, toppings, and fillings add the taste of ripe, sweet, seasonal ingredients any time of the year.

Other examples of trending foods are donuts, which are steamrolling through the foodservice industry, showcasing an endless variety of flavors and textures to choose from. This silo has shown an enormous amount of growth and imaginative recipe innovation since the days of the simple cake donut.

 

All kinds of fruity, crunchy, gooey, creamy, enjoyably grainy textures have helped the American donut (or doughnut, whichever you prefer) to achieve the coveted place of esteem it as achieved in the dessert world.

They have successfully transitioned from a basic breakfast item to an anytime-of-the-day treat.

Nowadays, donuts are still mobile and can easily be dunked into a cup of coffee, milk, or latte, but with all the heightened food texture, or rheology taking place, one just may need a knife and fork to finish off these increasingly evolving goodies.

 

With that said…

Author Malcolm Bourne of Cornell University wrote that people have a “deeply ingrained need to chew.” He also noted that crispy, creamy, and chewy are the three most relished texture notes.

 

Inclusions like dessert sauces with textural elements can satisfy a consumers need to chew (whatever their chewing preference), and offer more variety than only the “most relished” texture notes.

 

Adding more texture to your recipe development has proven to bring increased enjoyment to the overall dining experience for your consumers. Of course having the right partner to supply quality ingredients with textural elements that deliver color, taste, flavor, aroma, and décor is equally as important to your establishment as crafting unforgettable recipes.

 

Learn more about the one partner with all the right ingredients!

 

Did you enjoy the exploration of rheology and psychorheology? If so, you should check out the brochure of variegates, toppings, and fillings below. Remember: a little bit of this, a little bit of that (or a lot of this and that when you’re making monster shakes) makes for a remarkable culinary experience that regular and new consumers will appreciate.

 

Six “Bites” of Insight with Chef Amaury Guichon

5star 2018 Amaury Guichon

Can I confess something to you? Although I’m not a pastry chef, I really enjoy the air of excitement that takes over the PreGel International Training Centers – NC when there is a 5-Star Pastry seminar taking place. And so far this year, the enthusiasm among the student chefs has been consistent.

From July 16-18, we hosted Chef Amaury Guichon, an extremely talented pastry chef and chocolate artist. His seminar in Cutting Edge Petit Gateaux left student chefs amazed and encouraged, which lead to some very flattering online posts about Chef Guichon (and PreGel ITC staff), like this one.

Chef Guichon (center) with ITC chefs, clockwise: Michael Downing, Jason Sturdivant, Kristen Battaglia, Alicia Stevens, and Casey Shea

But what I found about Chef Guichon is not only is he an amazing chef, but also a wonderful conversationalist with an extremely humble demeanor. I invite you to join me for Part 2 of the Six “Bites” Series, as I partake in six “bites” of insight with Chef Guichon!

 

Did you enjoy those “bites” of insight? If so, I have good news.

Remember when I said Chef Guichon was a great conversationalist? Well, there’s more to this interview posted here on our Youtube channel (and see more behind-the-scenes footage on Instagram).

Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Six “Bites” series, featuring Chef Lauren V. Haas!

See what Chef Guichon’s students had to say about their 5-Star experience:

“Chef Guichon covered an impressive amount of material! His demonstration of recipes and techniques are worth their weight in gold. I would highly recommend this class, and the training facility was beautiful.”
Bridget Labus, co-chef/owner, Sixth Course Artisan Confections

“As always, the value of the PreGel classes are excellent. Hotel, lunch, coffee, and a three full days with the world leaders in pastry for less than many other institutions charge for the class alone. Love the gelato and pictures at the end.”
– Maura Metheny, pastry arts instructor, Johnson & Wales University

“Class was great, filled with great techniques and creativity.
– Rene Olmeda, pastry chef instructor, Johnson & Wales University

“The class was amazing. It was my first class at PreGel and I loved it! I’d like to come back to another PreGel class.”
– Ismael Castillo, pastry cook 1, Ritz Carlton – Orlando.

“Great class.”
Gianina Serrano, owner/chef, Sixth Course

“This class was amazing. Chef Guichon covered several different techniques and skills. Learning new ways to implement old skills will be invaluable. Additionally, the PreGel team made the experience smooth and effortless. I will be returning for another class at PreGel.”
– Kelsey Vogt

Chef Amaury Guichon was spectacular. He is a very down to earth guy with tremendous talent that really shows through in everything he makes. I very much enjoyed his class and I learned so much! I look forward to taking another class of his in the future. Thank you for the wonderful experience, chef!”
– Jennifer Heide, pastry cook, The Everglades Club/The Goodland

“Thank you so much. I enjoyed the class; SO much to learn. I definitely will recommend to others.”
– Alla Kruzhkova, owner, Dessert Elegance LLC

“It was a great experience overall. Having to see Amaury Guichon has been one of my dreams and PreGel made it happen. Thank you for being very accommodating, helpful, affordable, convenient, providing a great facility and support. Would definitely recommend anyone coming here for classes.”
– Valeria Koulikova, pastry chef/owner, From V with Love Cakes LLC

Overall the experience was amazing! I’m so happy that I chose this class and facility. The staff is super friendly and I felt a nice, warm welcome.”
– Christian Madrid Sintora, pastry cook, Ritz Carlton Grand Lakes

“The class was tremendous. I learned many new techniques. Chef Amaury is a great, humble person and a good teacher.
– Jael Ramos, pastry cook 1, Ritz Carlton

Amaury Guichon was amazing. Very informative and humble. I learned so much during this class. PreGel is a great facility to learn in. Overall, awesome staff, very friendly. Amazing products. I would recommend this place, and I’m definitely coming back to one of PreGel America’s classes in NC. Thank you so much for this.”
– Jaimil Rivera, cook II pastry, The Ritz Carlton – Naples, FL

“I loved the class. The selection of chefs you have for this year was amazing. I really appreciate the hotel being included in the cost of the class.
– Jessica Buscher, pastry chef

 

Six “Bites” of Insight with Chef Michael Laiskonis

5star 2018 Michael Laiskonis

Just a few short weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Michael Laiskonis, creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, and one of today’s most celebrated chefs.  His three-day seminar in All Things Chocolate: From Bean to Dessert was the debut class of this year’s PreGel 5-Star Pastry Series®.  Despite adhering to a syllabus that not only included lecturing but also offering hands-on instruction to the student attendees of the PreGel International Training Centers – Charlotte, Chef Laiskonis showcased a cool and easy demeanor as he shared six “bites” of insight with me, including:

 Click here if you want to learn from a world-renowned chef

Did you enjoy experiencing all of the interesting information Chef Laiskonis shared with us? We have tons of information like this on our YouTube channel. You should consider subscribing if you’d like to:

  • See more interviews with amazing 5-Star Chefs
  • Learn how to use a wide array of PreGel ingredients via our online tutorials
  • Get a sneak peek inside general ITC training classes
  • See testimonials from students who’ve taken  our ITC training classes

 

It was truly a pleasure speaking with the enormously talented Chef Laiskonis. Stay tuned for more “five star” insight from Chef Amaury Guichon following his sold out seminar, set to begin next week!

 

In my opinion, if Chef Laiskonis’s class was any indication of what’s to come, it looks as if the 2018 season of the 5-Star Pastry Series® is going to be an exciting one. And if you don’t mind, may I suggest you think about being part of it!

 

Check out what his students had to say:

“Excellent class. Chef Michael Laiskonis was informative, answered all of our questions, and gave us alternatives to problems. He made it real for real world situations.”
– Carlton Harrison, pastry chef, Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay

“This facility always exceeds all expectations. I am truly impressed and thankful that a space like this exists for the pastry community. Chef Laiskonis is an excellent teacher with an in-depth knowledge of the interaction of ingredients. Superior instruction bolstered by a state-of-the-art facility made for a tremendous class. Thank you.”
– Raymond Blanchard, pastry sous chef, The Everglades Club

“I really enjoyed the class this week. Chef Laiskonis has a wealth of knowledge that he shared with us, it is evident that his skills are very refined. This is my third class at PreGel and this is by far the ‘best one yet.’ Thank you PreGel Team and Chef for sharing your Passion with us!” – Todd Richter, executive pastry chef, Prestonwood Country Club

“Thank you so much, very nice class. I’m glad I took the class. Chef Michael Laiskonis is a great teacher and nice chef. Loved to see the many PreGel products used in this class.”
– Carlos Sierra

“This was my first experience with PreGel classes (and with any kind of professional development classes for that matter!), and I am floored by how much I have learned! I really enjoyed all the lecture information and the demos were very cool to get to see first-hand. Being able to learn from such a talented and experienced chef is so inspiring. Thank you for this opportunity and I can’t wait to come back.
– Melissa Attanas, baking instructor, Wake Tech Community

Inside PreGel’s Scoop

I could be wrong, but I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone has a favorite day of the week. Around PreGel, Thursday is in the top two choices for many of us (of course Friday is always in the running). That’s an ambitious statement, you may say but there’s a good reason why I made it. We touched on the reason a bit in this blog post, but the highlight of every Thursday (excluding holidays and trade shows) is The Scoop. Now, in case you don’t remember what this highly anticipated event is, The Scoop is a weekly gelato, ice cream, or pastry social, where employees gather to decompress, socialize, and have a midday treat.

“When I’m able to go I enjoy spending time outside the four walls of my office; socializing and seeing co-workers from other departments I usually do not see,” Jeannette Pantani, subsidiaries manager, PreGel America, regarding her outlook about The Scoop.

Much like Daniela Milano, marketing & social media specialist, PreGel America, who looks forward to indulging in gelato flavors including pistachio, hazelnut, and Krocco Milk, Pantani agrees that having the ability to taste our “wonderful product” once a week and having informal meetings in another setting are added bonuses to the weekly Scoop. Milano adds, “It gives me an excuse to get up from my desk, stretch my legs, and not stare at a computer screen!”

Aside from The Scoop acting as a social meeting place and excuse to move away from the computer, Hannah Williams, graphic designer, PreGel America, also finds the marketing value in attending The Scoop. “I like trying the new reMixes and Arabeschi®. It inspires ideas to help me market the flavors I’ve tried,” Williams explains, who also appreciates the aspect that the employees take turns serving each other, via a rotating schedule throughout the year.  “I think it’s a humbling act and puts it into perspective that our services are b2b that lead to b2c,” she adds.

Though The Scoop offers all of the previously mentioned benefits, it is also utilized for more than the usual hour of general socializing for the employees. On different occasions, PreGel has used The Scoop as the gathering space for a variety of different celebrations such as birthdays, American citizenships, going away parties, or simply as a fun themed location complete with costumes, music, selfie stations, trivia, games, and giveaways.

The Scoop is a wonderful parallel in terms of the use of PreGel ingredients: you can utilize the same ingredient to make a menu of different options and successfully give people something new to look forward to every time.

Green Mint Milkshakes? Yes, Please!

If every month had an assigned frozen dessert flavor to market, I would vote green mint for March. Why? My first reason is solely superficial – because it’s green, which correlates beautifully with St. Patrick’s Day. Second, because March is the month of the spring equinox, and the color green represents the season of spring in Western cultures. Third, because for eateries, March is when there is an uptick in food trends and new food concepts are launched for the coming warmer season.

 

In my professional opinion, these are great reasons to market green mint for frozen dessert applications in March, but personally, the following story is telling of why I believe the flavor of green mint should be promoted in general.

 

I remember going out for milkshakes one spring evening a couple of years ago with some family members. It wasn’t long after I had received my chosen dessert drink that I quickly began to second guess my choice due to an immediate case of “shake envy,” (yes, I made that up; it’s not a real term).

 

You see, one of my family members had ordered a mint chocolate cookie shake. And not to say that my milkshake didn’t taste fantastic, but the hypnotizing aroma of sweet mint filled the air like a spritz of magic. It was almost as if I could taste the mint flavor with every sip I took of my own milkshake. Pretty soon, excuses of why my relative and I should trade shakes began to overwhelm my thought pattern as I watched him sip away the minty essence, slightly fearful that I would miss out on the opportunity to get a taste before it was all gone.

 

As I began to accept the idea that the great mint treat would pass me by, I vowed that the next time we went out for milkshakes, the words “GREEN MINT, PLEASE!” would ring out of my mouth before the waiter could ask me which flavor I would like. But lucky for me, I was in generous company and was kindly asked if I wanted a taste of the mint-based shake my relative was noticeably enjoying. So, as if I had not been secretly plotting on his shake the entire time, I calmly replied, “Oh,” with a bit of purposeful surprise in my tone. “Okay, thank you,” I continued with a gracious smile, while trying my best not to blatantly snatch the large plastic cup out of his giving hand.

 

As I began to “sip”, my eagle-eye view from above the partially opened lid of the cup saw the pale green hue of the frosty concoction shrinking away from me faster than I would have liked, while the chunks of soft chocolate cookie reminded me of why mint and chocolate is one of the dessert world’s greatest flavor combinations. All the while, beads of condensation from the plastic cup began to gather and come to rest on the tight grip of my locked fingers, as my family’s facial expression slowly transitioned from that of “I’m happy to share with you” to a look that silently informed me to hand the shake back over…stat!

 

In jest, I was teased about the much lighter weight of the cup I had returned, where only a slightly transparent layer of green mint, gingerly dotted with miniscule chocolate speckles, marked the area where a portion of the thick, sweet, minty milkshake once existed (before my hurried consumption).

 

Like that, I was cured of “shake envy” and returned to my shake…which, surprisingly, I was able to enjoy even more, seeing as mint is a palate cleanser, so the flavor was much more apparent.

 

I share this experience to say, from a consumer standpoint, green mint is an attractive menu choice because of its appealing green hue and instantaneously captivating scent.

 

In my opinion, for a business owner, green mint is always a great menu option because of the fore mentioned reasons, and because mint is an impressive flavor mate for chocolate, and some fruit selections. Also, green mint has been voted into the top ten favorite frozen dessert flavors on numerous surveys about the topic. But finally, read my story again. Green mint has a lot of influence over the senses, which could be good for your bottom line.

 

Therefore, this March, prepare for summer with an irresistible menu of innovative offerings and classic flavors, including green mint. However, you might want to consider a BOGO promotion to help prevent future cases of “shake (or any other kind of dessert) envy.”

The Importance of Employee Decompression

I’m almost certain that you’re familiar with it – one of those days…the kind where time seems to stand still. For every hour that you think has passed, your desk phone makes the painful reveal that it’s only five minutes later since the last time you checked. You’re either sleepy, anxious, low-energy, or a bit irritated because for every task you cross off your list another fifteen somehow make it onto your growing roster of priorities. Moreover, deadlines seem to creep about like an ominous gathering storm, and you don’t have an umbrella! Though time has seemingly stopped, there’s still never enough and you develop an insatiable need to do what many have come to know as “woosah”—calm down; take a break; chill out; get it together.

Contrary to popular (yet inaccurate) understanding, that’s exactly what companies want their employees to do.

In recent years, employers have put action into plans to help employees “chill out” in order to increase productivity and prevent employee burnout. It may sound counterproductive, but many studies have shown that allowing time for employees to “reset” actually increases workflow and reduces the chances for employee turnaround and presenteeism—being physically present but mentally checked out for a variety of reasons, both of which can ultimately cost employers a substantial amount of  money.

Luckily, to counter the slow burnout plaguing many workers (whether the employer or employee), measures have been put into place that help keep the “fire” going. According to the article “Can a Little Relaxation Increase Your Employees Productivity?” as published on www.workology.com, suggestions for employee reset include encouraging team members to:

 

  • Take a nap: preferably in nap rooms provided by the company, seeing as a lack of sleep leads to poor performance, which can result in a net loss of $63.2 billion in dropped productivity per year.

 

  • Take longer vacations: workers tend to feel better and more productive after a break from the daily grind.

 

  • Step away from the desk: consider scheduling weekly outings as well, as to step away in order to see things more clearly.

 

Other suggestions, as reported on www.getwindfall.com, advises employers to:

 

  • Provide a space for employees to relax: giving employees a place to unwind when things get overwhelming is a great way to reduce stress around the office.

 

  • Change the function of your break room: provide a space that is conducive to relaxation with amenities such as beanbag chairs, TVs, and anything else employees would value.

 

  • Encourage daydreaming: whether in a break room or game room, allow them space to be creative.

 

  • Create a social space: giving staff a space to hang out with their coworkers is a great way to increase collaboration among employees. Encouraging interaction with other colleagues can increase creativity and create a stronger bond within the workplace.

 

In light of these suggestions, PreGel incorporates many of the suggested elements listed above, and goes a sweeter step further with The Scoop—a weekly gelato, ice cream, or pastry social, where employees gather to decompress, socialize, and have a midday treat.

As explained by Lynne Lee, human resources, PreGel America, The Scoop is a way to “Showcase our products so that, (1) we can familiarize ourselves with our wonderful ingredients (what better way than to sample them!); (2) to spend time with our colleagues and socialize a bit; and (3) allow each department an opportunity to serve the items during The Scoop and help our chefs in return.” Lee also emphasizes that The Scoop is a great morale booster as well.

It’s almost hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t feel a bit more energized when returning to work after enjoying a cup (or cone) of fresh-made authentic Italian gelato and other specialty desserts!

Indeed, employee decompression is a necessary thing in today’s busy workplace. So it’s important to take into account the mental, emotional, and in some cases, physical well-being of your team, because a well-oiled machine works best when all of its parts are performing at optimum level.

Brownie Brittle? Yes, Please!

It’s February and National Chocolate Lovers Month; so for this occasion, I felt inclined to reflect on my lifetime love for chocolatebrownies in particular.

 

I don’t quite recall how old I was when I first experienced the splendor that is chocolate, but brownies…oh yeah, I remember the day. So many questions ran through my young mind. “Can I have some more?” being the first one! What was this warm, moist baked treat that rivaled all of my mouthwatering chocolate-flavored favorites? It gave hot chocolate, chocolate cake, ice cream cones, and chocolate chip cookies all a run for their money.

 

The milk chocolate square of baked deliciousness before me was utterly captivating. The soft crunch of walnuts riddled throughout the bit of pastry heaven made my dining experience that much better! “How could this be so good?” I questioned myself, using my miniature (at the time) fingertips to ensure I got every crumb off my plate, determined not to leave behind one chocolate speck. This voracious behavior, of course, caused gingerly laughter from the elders in my family who were present to experience my young…well, greediness is the best way to describe it.

 

Hey, I’m not ashamed. We are talking about chocolate brownies, here!

 

Unlike regular chocolate cake, this magnificent square of milk chocolate goodness had a fudge-like consistency that seemed to intensify the cocoa-based flavor in every bite, while delightfully contrasting the soft crunch of walnuts throughout.  And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better…

 

My brownie just so happened to be cut from the edge of the brownie pan, which meant I had the pleasure of enjoying the crust…the magnificent, and delicious crust. It was just a bit more firm than the rest of the brownie, and the very tip offered a slight crunch, where each morsel was like biting into a crunchy capsule of extreme chocolate flavor. Yes please!

 

Fast forward to my adult years, and the taste of a delicious brownie littered with the supple crunch of walnut still tickles my palate’s fancy. It only helps that now brownie is a delectable companion to so many other flavors like walnut, vanilla, peanut butter; they can be made into bowls; paired with s’mores; used as the “bread” in a dessert sandwich, or even as a glaze, etc., etc., etc. There’s even such a thing as a brownie on a stick, a.k.a. brownie pop!

 

In a perfect world, would it be possible to enjoy brownie and its crunchy pieces with everything? Absolutely! Perfection is all a matter of perception, and “PreGel Utopia” makes infusing the taste of brownie with its delicious, crunchy brittle bits into anything a tangible possibility, depending on how far your culinary imagination takes you.

 

Here’s to more food stories!

The Sweet Truth: Chocolate

It’s National Chocolate Lovers Month, and rightfully so. Chocolate is indeed worthy of a month’s (or more) worth of culinary praise. The decadence of its variant tastes from dark to white is unprecedented in many opinions. And the astronomical number of uses this bliss-inducing ingredient is capable of  creating automatically makes it a reliable ally for chefs across the globe. Chocolate is the universal confection for love and well-wishes, and one of America’s favorite just because treats.

Below, enjoy some other fun facts about this captivating treat, a food that was once reserved only for royal consumption.

And for enthusiastic chefs eager to explore chocolate recipe inspiration, PreGel has a wide variety to share, here.

 

Fudge Too Cool to be Hot

In December of 2017, PreGel relaunched a product that may have been familiar to some of you, but there was still some mystery behind exactly what the product is.

Find all Pino recipes here

Allow me to clarify…PreGel’s Pino Pinguino® was first presented to the U.S. market in 2009, though to some confusion. Though we at PreGel find it to be an amazing product (no bias here … seriously), and despite it being a best-selling ingredient all over Europe, Pino Pinguino® and its fun-loving penguin logo needed a bit more clarity stateside. So, here it is…

 

Simply put, Pino Pinguino® is fudge that’s too cool to be hot! In other words, Pino Pinguino® is a cold fudge product, and it’s pretty remarkable. Allow me to reintroduce the reasons why.

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First of all, it keeps good company as part of PreGel’s Variegates, Toppings, & Coatings line. It’s cool in the sense that it offers a feeling of nostalgia, seeing as it is a fudge, and many Americans grew up eating hot fudge sundaes as a delicious part of childhood. The variety of flavors is also fantastic, and the product is impressively versatile. Here’s one notable characteristic, for example:

 

It stays soft in freezing temperatures!

Pino Pinguino® Frozen Pop: Get the recipe here

To me, that alone is awesome, to say the very least. Imagine a layer of cold fudge in your favorite menu offerings that maintains a fresh, rich, thick, yet soft consistency.  It does not melt the frozen treat like hot fudge has been said to do, turning a frozen dessert sundae into a sweet soup of sorts, and with Pino Pinguino®, it’s easy to ensure the fudge is evenly layered.

 

Did I mention it can be utilized to layer gelato pans, marbleize gelato, glaze gelato dome cakes, and be enjoyed as a standalone treat straight from the display case?

Select your Pino here!

I don’t know about you, but with all these capabilities AND the fact that Pino Pinguino® is available in four different flavors, I would be eager to learn more about it. But don’t take my word for it. A very wise person once said—to loosely quote—believe nothing unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense … in this case, your business reason and common sense.

In my opinion, Pino Pinguino® cold fudge sauce (in any application) is the kind of specialty dessert ingredient that can easily produce an abundance of smiles.

It Take Guts to Pursue Education

PreGel Training Center

“It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line.” – Erma Bombeck, writer.

 

Guts. The word is used quite often in the English language; many times in the informal sense, otherwise known as slang. And according to the online publication of the American dictionary, Merriam-Webster, the word gut(s) has several meanings, some of which are:

  • the inner essential parts
  • fortitude and stamina
  • the basic visceral or emotional part of a person

 

By now you may be wondering why a blog post on a website based around specialty dessert ingredient solutions is highlighting anything relating to guts. It’s simple. The big white building on the corner we last spoke about has guts, and it takes guts to explore those guts.

 

Confusing? Maybe a bit, so allow me to explain what I’m saying.

 

PreGel is made up of many departments (which we’ll explore together). They are the inner essential parts of the company—the guts. One of the main components of those “guts” is the International Training Centers. PreGel America has five state-of-the-art learning facilities in total, all of which allow students to experience creativity with incomparable PreGel products, top-of-the-line equipment, and a highly skilled and trained culinary staff (okay, so the content marketer in me just came out, I know…).

 

Let’s get back to guts (the core/foundation) of this post …

 

I think it takes guts (fortitude/stamina a.k.a. courage) to vigorously pursue a vocation, whatever it may be. And having taken several classes in the PreGel International Training Centers, I gained a whole new respect for the chefs I studied amongst, and the lot of dessert chefs in general. Until then, I didn’t understand the precise science that goes into creating the artistic and mouthwatering desserts that most of us consume without thought. We briefly appreciate the look and quickly commence to gorge.

Gelato Making ClassLittle did I know about the intricacies of balancing a recipe; correctly tempering chocolate; understanding why an ingredient as seemingly simple as dextrose can be tremendously beneficial; and how too much sugar can destroy a pan of gelato, among other insightful information.

 

The students I’ve encountered in the kitchens of PreGel’s International Training Centers were enthusiastic and eager to eviscerate (gut) our chefs for all the knowledge they could obtain in any one of the classes from our varied curriculum that they chose to evolve in. The passion I speak of is very evident in some of the student testimonials offered directly following a 5-Star Pastry Series® seminar.

Talk about guts! Many people get star struck when they’re in the same vicinity as a celebrity they greatly admire. Imagine being a student chef studying under internationally known and highly respected chefs with a rock star-like following?  I guess that’s one of the perks of following one’s gut (the basic visceral or emotional part of a person) to turn a passion into reality.

PreGel Training Students

It’s the gut issues (topics having strong impact or immediate relevance) surrounding gelato and other artisanal specialty desserts that you should look for when seeking further education. And within the guts of PreGel America, that’s exactly what I found during my experiences as a student in the International Training  Centers.

 

So hopefully you now understand what I meant when I said ‘the big white building on the corner we last spoke about has guts, and it takes guts to explore those guts,’ especially now that we have so many different examples of the word gut(s). So if you plan to follow your gut and pursue your culinary education, the best time to start planning is now.

 

Here’s to exploring all the variations of guts in relation to PreGel and realizing why greater understanding takes stamina!

The Big White Building on the Corner

PreGel America

“What’s gelato?”

I’m not ashamed to admit (and on a website dedicated to the culture of gelato, which makes it a bit more embarrassing) that there was actually a time in my life when I asked that question. I had never heard of this internationally beloved treat (and, no, my home was not located under a rock). Based on its name alone, I thought gelato was a type of mousse or had some kind of relation to gelatin dessert. Now that I’m fully educated on the artisanal Italian treat, I can look back on the days of my dessert ignorance and smile at my young, unaware self. However, I’m sure there are many others out there just like I was—completely oblivious to the bliss that is gelato—and I owe my consistently increasing knowledge on the delicious subject to PreGel.

 

What’s PreGel?

Well, just slightly under a decade ago, a vacant, wooded area in Concord, North Carolina was developed into the corner of Fortune Ave NW and International Drive to become home of the majestic, pristine, white edifice that would broadcast the name PreGel … and consequently confuse most people that drove by. With such a unique name and eye-catching appearance, the futuristic structure would inevitably cause wonderment of passerby. Therefore, as marketing communications, otherwise known as “the voice” of PreGel, allow me to explain a few things about the company.

  • PreGel is actually pronounced pre gel (some people have pronounced it as pree-gull or pray-gull).

 

  • We don’t produce gels of any kind. The company’s attention-grabbing name is pretty clever. It stands for Pre-Gelateria or Pre-Gelato. Why? Because if you’re going into business or already have a business in the sweets industry, PreGel has all the ingredients and supplies you need … for everything!

 

  • No, the company doesn’t make finished product. It’s a business-to-business company, famous in the foodservice industry for producing shelf-stable, semi-finished dessert ingredient solutions.

 

  • Yes, you read that right. I said “solutions.” PreGel coined its ingredients as “solutions” because they’re versatile, easy to use, and customizable, meaning a chef can make all kinds of unique frozen dessert flavors and other culinary creations with them.

 

  • What kinds of frozen desserts and culinary creations can a chef create, you ask? Well, there’s gelato, ice cream, soft serve, frozen yogurt, pastry and confections, and specialty beverages. And that’s just the short list.

 

It’s a pretty amazing company, with pretty amazing products, and pretty amazing people. So it’s fitting of an equally amazing facility. Even rock star chefs from all over the world have made appearances in PreGel’s International Training Centers (there are five in the U.S.!) to lead seminars!

So, I’ll admit it. I may be a bit biased about PreGel because the North Carolina headquarters is a fantastic work home, where I’ve learned so much about the dessert world … and gelato. So now I can answer the question “what is gelato?”

The answer: Gelato is the Italian version of ice cream with an artisanal aesthetic. Made with authentic ingredients, gelato is known for its intense flavor, soft, smooth texture, and clean taste. As a matter of fact, gelato means “frozen” in Italian.

…thanks PreGel America – the big, white building on the corner.

Butter Pecan? Yes, Please!

Butter Pecan Gelato

“Hello!” I greeted in an almost overly-cheerful tone. Excitement radiated from my bright young eyes as I hurriedly approached the counter of my family’s favorite ice cream chain with a very important task to execute. I, at the time, a proud seven-year-old, was gifted the opportunity to place the ice cream order that evening (something only the adults in my family typically had the pleasure of doing).

“Yes, young lady. How can I help you?” the very kind attendant inquired with gentle, curious eyes, as she awaited my answer.

I immediately took a deep breath to ensure I would project loud enough for the attendant to clearly hear me, and with the amped up tone of my juvenile soprano voice, I proceeded to begin the order with my mother’s favorite treat. “May I have a pineapple sundae with butter pecan ice cream, please?”

Learn more about Pineapple Arabeschi here!

Fast forward several years later. I’m in the backyard of my grandmother’s quaint North Carolina home with my best friend on a chilly October evening. After a long day of yard work, we found ourselves having a surprisingly enjoyable experience picking ripe pecans that had fallen from the branches of the yard’s enormous pecan tree, scientifically known as Carya illinoinensis of the Hickory species, Juglandaceae. Seeing as it was mid-October and the height of pecan harvesting season, it was hard not to notice that my comrade and I weren’t the only ones foraging for pecans.

Perhaps it was a slight case of paranoia, but I could almost feel the beady black eyes of territorial squirrels stalking us with our carefree attitudes while we gathered a source of their winter nourishment — the hard, oblong pecan husks littering the yard.

Butter Pecan Soft Serve: Get the recipe here

However, with obvious eagerness (and a slight, though unwarranted fear of squirrel retaliation), we proceeded to seek out mature brown husks, specifically those that were split into four segments, since split husks indicate that the pecan is ripe and ready to be extracted from the husk. This meant all we had to do was peel back the sectioned husks to obtain the thin-shelled pecan — a drupe fruit, which, many times is mistakenly referred to as a nut.

Having gathered two large bags of fresh, ripe pecans, I was ready to create a multitude of amazing desserts that would be as memorable as the butter pecan ice cream sundae I had ordered for my mother many years earlier.

Learn more about Butter Pecan Sprint here!

So far, I had been experiencing a lucky streak when it came to pecans. First, I was in North Carolina, one of the pecan-producing states in the U.S., along with Georgia (the top U.S. producer), Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alabama, California, Florida, Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Hawaii. Secondly, it was peak season, during which time the U.S. produces an annual crop of 150-200 thousand tons of pecans from more than 10 million trees (so the squirrels had no reason to be jealous, there were plenty of pecans to go around). Finally, the abundant fruit is full of nutritional benefits. According to www.nutrition-and-you.com, they are rich sources of the minerals manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium; pecans are a main source of energy, carrying 690 calories/100g; the popular shelled treat also helps to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (good cholesterol) in the blood; they’re a good source of vitamin E, and offer a long list of other healthful contributions.

Butter Pecan S’mores Pop: Get the recipe here

With the healthy and extremely versatile fruit, I was able to enjoy the pure taste of freshly cracked buttery pecans direct from the shell. My grandfather was delighted to partake in freshly roasted cinnamon-sugar coated pecans.  My best friend and I experienced our first taste of a sweet potato-pecan pie (which was phenomenal). I even utilized the adaptable fruit as part of a coating in a savory oven-fried poultry dish.  Indeed, these culinary examples are only a miniscule percentage of what the universal pecan is capable of. Imagine creating bars, tarts, breads, pancakes, pecan pie, praline candies, traditional ice cream, and even today’s hot dessert trend, artisanal gelato.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream: Get the easy recipe here!

The pecan embodies a friendly flavor as well, meaning it’s easily paired with an infinite number of tastes including bourbon, caramel, chocolate, honey, cranberry, fig, pumpkin, cheesecake … you name it. Despite the reality that the pecan fruit is undoubtedly a standalone powerhouse or essential ingredient in many mouthwatering concoctions, the expansive realm of innovative pecan-based delights is fun to explore, but I always find myself seeking out the comfort of that nostalgic classic treat, butter pecan ice cream.