Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
The Easter period is arguably one of the most indulgent times of year; sales of chocolate increase significantly, family and friends take advantage of the long weekend, and out-of-home establishments are carefully chosen as the venue where people can spend time together enjoying great food and drink. To reap the benefits of the year’s first holiday weekend, operators need to plan, plan, plan and then ensure that all their hard work is experienced by as many people as possible by spreading the word widely through the gamut of channels now available.
For many customers, lamb is non-negotiable at Easter. Happily, this time of year is also when new season lamb starts to become available.
“There are so many tasty lamb cuts to choose from,” says Hugh Judd, EBLEX foodservice project manager. “For this reason EBLEX has produced a ‘Lamb Specials’ folder featuring plenty of Quality Standard Mark (QSM) lamb dish inspiration, which can be used to help caterers with Easter menu planning. Although the folder was originally created to highlight the abundance of good quality lamb in the autumn, the cuts and recipe suggestions featured can be used on menus throughout the year.
"Introducing a dedicated specials menu around occasions such as Easter gives caterers tremendous flexibility. This means they can showcase new and appealing dishes to customers without having to go through the lengthy and costly process of having to change menus.”
For further information about lamb and beef, visit eblextrade.
Go the whole hog
Before dismissing pork as a tasty Easter option, it is worth noting that pork shoulder roasting joints are becoming increasingly popular. Last year, porkshoulder experienced both volume and value increases, with volume up 7.3% to 27,705 tonnes and value growth of 2.5% to just over £98 million.
BPEX butchery and product development manager, Keith Fisher says: “Shoulder of pork is good value, and yet it firmly delivers on taste and customer satisfaction. An average shoulder joint, to be served as a traditional roast, can be cooked in approximately three hours or – for extra tenderness, succulence and taste – it can be slow roasted overnight.”
As an increasingly popular dish in the foodservice sector, adding ‘pulled pork’ as a tempting meal idea over the Easter period will appeal to diners looking for something new. Taken from slow-cooked joints, the pork is gently pulled apart and can be served hot or cold and with a variety of modern or traditional sauces – apple or BBQ for example – to stay true to the venue’s clientele and character.
“The benefit of adding pulled pork to the menu is that it can be served in a wide variety of different ways,” comments Keith. “It is fantastic on its own with sauces and sides, but also great as an ingredient for Moroccan dishes, for example, offering something unique and on trend this Easter.”
Premium advice from Premier
Premier Foods has launched a new Menu Solutions Guide to highlight the significant sales opportunity presented by Mothers’ Day and Easter within the foodservice channel. The guide delivers nine costed recipes inspired by the results of independent research commissioned by Premier Foods. To celebrate the two key events, the manufacturer is also running an online competition giving chefs the chance to win a spa break for two. To be in with a chance of winning the overnight trip to Ragdale Hall in Leicestershire, chefs must simply download the guide from the Premier Foodservice website.
Sarah Gray, Channel Marketing Manager says: “With consumers now dining out more frequently, the importance of special occasions can’t be underestimated.”
Designed specifically for Mothers’ Day and Easter, the guide features all new recipes categorised by course and developed by Mark Rigby, Executive Chef at Premier Foods. The guide also provides top tips on how to make the most of these events, drive sales and increase footfall among both new and existing customers.
The research investigated whether menu offerings around these occasions are currently reflecting the needs of consumers. Although 81% of caterers who completed the research cited Mothers’ Day and Easter as key opportunities to attract new customers, only 23% of consumers were found to be tempted to eat out of home over the Easter period.This signifies the need for improved communication from outlets in order to attract potential customers and benefit from these upcoming events.
To be in with a chance of winning a spa break for two to Ragdale Hall, chefs must download the Mothers’ Day and Easter Menu Solutions Guide from premierfoodservice by 10 April 2015.
Puddings courtesy of Kerrymaid
Along with Christmas, Easter is one of thevery few occasions when the entire country gives itself permission to indulge – mostnotably in chocolate and other sweetdelights. Easter is a time when a good dessert menu can come into its own.
“To encourage footfall during the Easter period, caterers can develop themed desserts including chocolate nest cakes, Simnel cake or even a traditional bread pudding,”suggests Grace Keenan, Brand Manager for Kerrymaid. “However, to secure bookings, foodservice outlets need to differentiate themselves from the competition – one way to do this is with a Kerrymaid Pudding Party.”
The Pudding Party is about trialling a selection of different desserts; all customers have to do is sit back and indulge, scoring the puddings as they go. Venues can sell tickets to Pudding Party events, which are a great way for groups of family and friends to spend time and have fun together while encouraging out-of-home spend.
David Thompson, landlord of the OldWine Vaults in Faversham, Kent, hosted his first Kerrymaid Pudding Party in June 2014; following its success he has hosted a Pudding Party every month since.
Thompson comments: “There’s no doubt that Pudding Parties increase footfall. Certainly from a profitability point of view, we have found that it has added significantly to our bottom line, with a 20% increase inturnover compared to an average night. We charge £15 per head, but on top of that you will find that people will buy two, three, four, and sometime more drinks. We’ve sold out every event to date and customer feedback on the quality of our puddings has been really positive – Kerrymaid custard has been a huge hit with our regulars.”
Visit the Kerrymaid website for materials, help and advice on hosting and marketing a Pudding Party.
Banana Bread Pudding
Recipe courtesy of Kerrymaid
500g white bread
350g dried fruits
6 very ripe bananas
3 tsp mixed spice
300ml Kerrymaid Single
2 large eggs, beaten
140g brown sugar, plus extra for topping later
155g Kerrymaid Buttery
75g of caster sugar
2-3 tbsp water
3 bananas peeled
and sliced Kerrymaid Custard
- Blitz the bread to a rough crumb, add the dried fruit, spices and mixed spice.
- Mash the bananas, add to bread mix, stir in milk and Kerrymaid Single.
- Mix in eggs and brown sugar. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
- Grease a 20cm non-stick baking tray or square cake tin with Kerrymaid Buttery.
- Once bread mix has started to swell, add remaining melted Kerrymaid Buttery, mix thoroughly and transfer into greased tin.
- Place in preheated oven (180 degrees) and cook for an hour. Sprinkle over 2-3tbsp of brown sugar for the remaining 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly while making your caramelised bananas.
- Heat the caster sugar and water together to form a caramel. Once the caramel starts to bubble and turn golden, add the sliced bananas and shake the pan to coat well.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, serve with a slice of your banana bread pudding and lashings of hot Kerrymaid Custard.
“With Easter just around the corner we’re urging chefs to grasp the opportunity by promoting more confectionery-inspired desserts on their menu,” says Andrew Ely, Managing Director of gluten-free brand Almondy.
In preparation for Easter, Almondy is supporting chefs with a recently launched chocolate indulgence: Cadbury Gluten-Free Chocolate & Almond Cake. “The only Cadbury-branded gluten-free dessert out of home, the cake combines layers of chocolate cream with an almond base, which is then smothered with Cadbury Dairy Milk and topped with Cadbury Dairy Milk buttons – a dessert that will appeal to real chocolate lovers this Easter,” predicts Ely.
While Almondy cakes are traditionally eaten as a standalone slice, chefs can easily add value – along with a higher mark-up – by serving them as a sundae alongside ice cream, which remains one of the UK’s favourite desserts, according to the latest Horizons Menurama report. The serving suggestions have been developed to capture the imagination of children and adults alike and are available to view on Almondy’s.
- Almondy Toblerone Cake
- Vanilla ice cream
- Salted caramel ice cream
- Whipped cream
- Glace cherry
- Caramel sauce
- Defrost a slice of Almondy Toblerone cake and cut into small chunks
- Place 2-3 small scoops of vanilla ice cream and 2-3 small scoops of salted caramel in a bowl, ramekin or sundae glass.
- Add the chunks of Almondy Toblerone Cake.
- Top with caramel sauce, whipped cream, a glace cherry and wafers.
Daim Kids Sundae
- Almondy Daim Cake
- Vanilla ice cream
- Mini marshmallows
- Strawberry sauce
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Chocolate wafers
- Defrost a slice of Almondy Daim Cake and cut into small chunks.
- Place 2-3 small scoops of vanilla ice cream in a bowl, ramekin or sundae glass.
- Add the chunks of Almondy Daim Cake.
- Top with mini marshmallows, strawberry sauce and chocolate sprinkles.
- Finish with chocolate wafer
Why not serve in a mini pot or ramekin making a smaller, child-friendly serving? Alternatively you could make the basic sundae and then give mini pots of the marshmallows and sprinkles for children to create their own sundae.