Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 138 of 217

foods in focus From top: corn tortillas (Hot Bread Kitchen); arepas; ciudadela and conchas (La Victoria Bakery) "With today's emphasis on healthy, natural products, the bread category is growing daily with customers of all nationalities. Bread is an item that customers are willing to take a chance on to try something new," says Ron Sahadi of Sahadi's, a Middle Eastern foods store in Brooklyn, N.Y., which sells several atypical bread varieties. "It is a great way to introduce ethnic items to our entire customer base." With white bread losing its appeal, the international bread trend is poised to become a mainstay in the marketplace. Read on to learn what's arriving on store shelves. Bakeries Expand Their Reach Bakeries with ethnic specialties have existed in the States for virtually as long as immigration itself. What is new is that customers outside the specific ethnic group are seeking out these stores. That's definitely the case with La Victoria Bakery, in San Francisco's gentrifying Mission district. Luis Villavelazquez, consulting pastry chef, admits that the vast majority of customers are not Mexican but mostly local twentysomethings of a variety of ethnicities. To entice this group, Villavelazquez incorporates high-quality ingredients (raw goat's milk, lard from an organic local farm and seasonal produce) and constantly innovates 122 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE From top: panettone; somodi kalács (Zingerman's); challah (Hot Bread Kitchen); pan de muerto (La Victoria Bakery) his offerings. One example is his signature version of conchas (sweet Mexican shellshaped buns), which feature cacao nibs, freeze-dried strawberries, coffee, brown butter or seasonal fruit. While some ethnic bakeries are expanding their customer base, other traditional bakeries are expanding their ethnic selections. Zingerman's Bakehouse, Ann Arbor, Mich., started baking authentic Hungarian breads and pastries this year, which—although delicious—are unfamiliar to most Americans. Through tastings, classes and tours, the Bakehouse has been introducing customers to lángos (deep-fried bread discs) and barches (similar to challah) among other varieties. "We have seen an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests and a corresponding increase in sales," says Sara Richardson, marketing manager. "For a limited time, we offered somodi kalács, traditional Hungarian cinnamon bread for Easter that we learned to make in a village in Transylvania. It was popular and exceeded our expectations. Our customers were curious what it was and happy to taste it and buy a loaf. The same has been true for other breads we have introduced, like barches or German dinkelbrot." "Guests used to request that we make specialtyfood.com specific products," says Ari Weinzweig, coowner and founding partner of Zingerman's. "Now they are requesting that we explore entire baking traditions. 'Do Croatian food. Do Scandinavian.'" Customers can explore such traditions themselves through many classes at the Bakehouse: on Hungarian, British and Italian breads; international flatbreads; Bavarian (German) baguettes; challah and more. Since its inception in 2007, Queens, N.Y.–based Hot Bread Kitchen has been turning out breads from different ethnic traditions. A nonprofit bakery, its female immigrant recruits bake while undergoing culinary training, English language classes, and job-placement assistance. Their breads, available all over New York and beyond, include Armenian-style lavash, Palestinian spinach pies, gorditas, blue corn tortillas, and Sephardic challah (with anise, sesame and caraway seeds). Dorothy Lane Market, with three locations in Ohio, sells more than 5,000 loaves of Irish soda bread per year (plus lots of the German Christmas stollen and Italian Christmas panettone), says Scott Fox, director of bakery operations. This Halloween, for the first time, the store plans to bake pan de muerto for the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead. "Customers are asking," Fox says.

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