As FrieslandCampina Foodservice prepares to launch revolutionary products in the Middle East market, Bruno Van Vaerenbergh, senior culinary specialist Friesland Campina Foodservice, creative pastry chef Debic, explains the science behind the perfect cream
As every chef knows, there is a science to what happens in the kitchen. Perfect temperatures, precision measurements and the highest quality ingredients are just some of the factors that can make or ruin a dish.
As in science, where every material has properties, in cooking every ingredient can be adapted to behave in a new and different way. However, the most versatile ingredients usually prove to be the most problematic to manipulate.
One of these is cream. Luxurious and versatile, it is a key ingredient of every kitchen and is used in hundreds of recipes every day. As a result, the dairy industry has been quick to develop new cream products to meet the demands of any creation, but perfect results have been difficult to achieve without great compromise.
Now, FrieslandCampina is about to launch two new revolutionary professional cream products to the Middle East market, one for cooking and one for whipping.
Mentor, classically trained baker and culinary expert, Bruno Van Vaerenbergh – who officially goes by the title of Senior Culinary Specialist Friesland Campina Foodservice, Creative Pastry Chef Debic – explains: “The products were developed together with chefs and we know exactly what they need. We’re not just another dairy company making cream or milk, it’s something more.”
The principle for both products is superior performance from 25% fat. The versatility this allows for, means chefs and bakers can prepare deserts earlier or create sauces that won’t split when the cream meets ingredients such as lemon.
Vaerenbergh continues: “Let me give you two examples. Chef makes a sauce with cream, and herbs, spices, lemon and all kinds of flavours that go into that. A lot of classical creams when you use them with juices or herbs, there is too much fat and it splits.
“You have to reduce and reduce and reduce and at that moment you have so much fat you can’t reduce it any more. Therfore, we have developed a cooking cream with less fat, specifically for these chefs. In Western Europe, certainly the Netherlands and Belgium, 75% of the chefs are using the cream because we were the first in Europe to develop it. Now it is becoming the standard.
“If we talk about bakers. What are bakers doing with cream? They whip and decorate. Now, cream and temperature are not friends! Cream has to be chilled but during whipping you are putting the air in it and if the air is hot or warm you can change from white to yellow cream. So we developed specialist creams that are less yellow, more white, for specific recipes. We are really proud to introduce these here because we are sure those two creams are going to perform in this climate.”
The third innovation delivers real cream through a spray can. More convenient than a machine delivery system, and with a long shelf life, the overrun of the cream allows for triple volume.
Vaerenbergh says: “A lot of people think it isn’t real cream, but it’s the same and this is the perfect solution for all kinds of chefs or anybody who needs cream for decoration. It uses two kinds of gas – one pushes the cream out of the can and the other is to make it fluffy and give the bounce. It won’t last for hours, but when you compare this to competitor creams, it holds for twice the time of other spray creams.”
By chefs for chefs
FrieslandCampina is the result of a 2008 merger between two major Dutch dairy firms Friesland Foods and Campina. However, the story started in 1871, when a lack of refrigeration inspired innovative dairy farmers to work together to deliver milk faster – as more farmers joined, greater efficiencies in the transportation of milk could be achieved.
Today, FrieslandCampina is owned by the Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A., one of the largest cooperatives of dairy farmers in the world, with more than 18,000 members.
Farmers in the cooperative supply milk to FrieslandCampina factories to be processed into dairy products, ranging from yoghurt, custard, dairy-based beverages, cheese, butter and infant nutrition, to ingredients for the food industry.
The company works to develop products that maximise the nutritional value of milk, while engaging in education and awareness campaigns to highlight the importance of a balanced diet and enhance sustainability across operations.
For the new product launches, FrieslandCampina has partnered with Middle East distributor, MH Enterprises, to deliver the products to the region’s chefs and bakers and also provide training to local chefs in how to achieve the best results while using them.
In line with the strong company ethic of collaborative working, the creation of the new products was a true by chefs for chefs moment – an approach that underpins everything that happens in the FrieslandCampina development department.
Here, culinary experts create, train and develop, but they cannot do it in isolation.
After 23 years working for FrieslandCampina across almost every department, Vaerenbergh fully understands the advantage this rounded approach can bring.
He says: “You have to find people with the perfect skills who can help us out. In Dubai, we do not need a full-time culinary specialist, but we are looking for chefs who have some time to share their skills during the demonstrations. The chefs become ambassadors for us. That’s the future of what we are doing.”
The developments come at a crucial time for the food industry. After more than two decades of highly processed “alternative” products, demand now falls in favour of real ingredients. That means a departure from the low fat and free from trends, and a new-found appreciation of how staple ingredients, like cream, are better before being diluted with vegetable oil and water.
It’s a trend that is evident across food groups, not just dairy, and at its current peak is responsible for an entire subsector of cookbooks, gadgets, diets and home-grown vegetable boxes, sans GMO.
As Vaerenbergh observes: “We feel that everybody is going back to basics and the consumer wants that too. If you’re talking about cream it will be cream – not a mixture to make it stand. Cream is cream and to maximise the performance of cream, work on the cream, don’t add to it. People are coming back to purity of taste. They use less, but they want nice cream.”
To keep ahead of such trends, Vaerenbergh and his team regularly recruit interns and headhunt chefs to act as ambassadors, as Vaerenbergh puts it, to “keep in touch with the real world.”
The fast-paced innovations are set to continue, with Vaerenbergh disclosing the future possibility of introducing a butter to the region as well as a line of deserts, such as crème brûlée, tiramisu and parfait. He says: “We can see what’s happening first in Dubai and with introductions in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. At the moment those markets are open and we can enlarge our portfolio in them.”