Fudge Kitchen has triumphantly returned from four hectic days at Europe’s largest sweets and snack trade show, ISM in Cologne.
While this year was only our second ISM, it was the 45th year for this annual jamboree of trailblazing treats and was the biggest yet. A phenomenal 37,000 trade visitors from 141 countries attended. Most of them, it would seem, descending on the Fudge Kitchen stand at the same time.
What better place, then, to launch our new internationally flavoured selection, Twelve Flavours of the World. With but these twelve hand rolled balls of chocolate-coated fudge, we’ll whisk you round the world on a whistlestop tour of global flavours, from Thailand (Coconut and Lemongrass) to Italy (Café Amaretto) to Canada (Maple Pecan).
Each recipe has been inspired by genuine international customer requests, courtesy of our exponentially expanding exporting business, making them, as with all Fudge Kitchen products, truly authentic. Our heritage is, after all, an original 1830’s American fudge recipe.
Pecan and Peanut Pastures new …
That said, we also chose ISM as the launch pad for our first exciting foray beyond fudge and into sugar confectionery. Please give a warm welcome to the Delectables, a collection of classics developed to their absolute zenith, starting with Fruit Caramels, Pecan Turtles and Peanut Brittle; all of which attracted great interest in the New Product area of the show.
Each recipe has been exhaustively researched, deconstructed, perfected and reborn in the hands of our food technologist genius, Julie Crenn. In the case of the Pecan Turtles, this thoroughness involved trawling across the States and returning with suitcases full of Turtle samples. Bummer of a job.
You heard it here first …
From the uncomfortable position of having our ear to the ground at the show, Fudge Kitchen proved to be gratifyingly ahead of the game again.
The talk this year was all about brittle (smug tick) and liquorice (smugger tick). It was responding to Scandinavian requests for liquorice fudge at the 2014 ISM, in fact, that sent us scurrying into our gastro-lab with vials of the finest, artisan liquorice syrup.
“Liquorice was everywhere,” MD Sian Holt reported, “in all its guises: from the cheap and cheerful to the premium and beautiful. Historically popular with Scandinavians and the Dutch, UK buyers are now beginning to pay more attention to it. It was good to have our liquorice ready to hand – everyone LOVED it! “
“Closer to home,” she continues, “brittles and sauces were in high demand and there will be increasing activity in both areas as chocolate brands look to stretch their ranges into new realms.”
In this capacity of Sweet Super Sleuth, Sian also reported back that Sea Salted Caramel has far from had its day, embracing products of every description. “Every confectionery range now has something that ticks this box so it’s not quite as ‘special’ as it was originally, but whilst there are other flavour developments it’s clear that they are niche and transient.”
“Tea is increasingly being used for both subtle and strong flavours,” she reflected, “including matcha and chai and also herbs, basil, rosemary, often matched with a fruit of some kind. Raspberry remains a frequent choice with the tartness of the berry paired against either the sweet of sugar confectionery or the bitter of high percentage dark chocolate.” Another Smug Tick for FK’s Fruit Caramels. Damn, we’re good.
No wonder that one of the UK’s most authoritative organs of the artisan food and drink sector, Speciality Food Magazine, tapped Sian for her visionary insights and predictions for a piece in March. Keep ‘em peeled for that.