A mousse that “sizzles” on the palate, a fruit cream that's “screwed in”: Artistic flair is called for when it comes to devising new desserts.
You might think handling and dealing with sweet stuff all day long makes for a dream job, but you’d be wrong. Want an example? In their search for new ideas for sweet dishes, Emmi dessert expert Nicole Laager and developer René Kündig spent a whole day eating their way through English dessert bars and ice cream stands. “By the end, we felt as sick as dogs,” admits Nicole.
Ask the consumer
Even so, if you want new ideas, inspiration is vital. It's always all about the consumer. “Ideas are only as good as my knowledge of the consumer,” is how the dessert expert sums it up. What are consumers’ needs, how and where do they eat sweet stuff, what tastes do they prefer? She gets answers to these questions by sending out targeted questionnaires. The answers complement the impressions gained from observing what happens in shops.
Taste good, look good
Nicole Laager knows, then, that people would like a variety of tastes, but also that you can’t take it too far. Chocolate is secure in its position at the top of the favourites’ league. “New ideas are a good thing, but then again, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.”
The search is on for a new creation, with a combination of experience and inspiration, plus some help from a pastry chef. A Stracciatella mousse with lemon is one of the interesting combinations that emerge. More than 200 versions of the recipe are then tried out. They are tasted and savoured in a process that is increasingly involving consumers too. “The consistency of the mousse is a big issue; it's meant to be light enough to ‘sizzle’ on the palate,” says Nicole Laager. And it’s not just the blend of flavours that has to be right; a dessert has to look appealing too. One good effect is achieved by a chocolate mousse with a swirl of fruit purée “screwed” into it.
New technology brings new possibilities
The final question is whether a new creation can actually go into production. Emmi has just commissioned a new production machine that offers entirely new and varied possibilities. It’s about 50 metres in length, and the things it's capable of include producing decorations and multi-layered desserts, or inserting a core – of caramel, for example.
As for coming up with ideas and diligently testing the products, though – they’re tasks still reserved for human beings. Good desserts are a product of the interplay between expertise and the consumers’ critical taste buds.
Three new desserts
Emmi has used the new machine to produce and launch new desserts called Ooola-Secrets. Made of mousse combinations, they come in small portions of 60 or 90 grams.
- Chocolate and Raspberry with Chocolate chips
- Triple Chocolate with Caramel
- Stracchiatella with Lemon
The desserts are manufactured using fresh ingredients without any preservatives.