Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

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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abroad. While it's often marketed as a gift item, the Pirouline is also sold as an every- day cookie at stores like Whole Foods. "We've also created a smaller package for the dollar stores, so we can hit many markets with the same cookie," says Herwig DeBeukelaer, the company's plant manager. The smaller packaging mimics the typical packaging found in Belgium, where they're often sold in a 2-pack with coffee. "Here, it's sold more as a dessert item, but we push retailers to market them close to the coffee section." The chocolate Pirouline line is marketed in the vicinity of ice creams for further inspiration. For the Love of Ginger. The gingersnap just about defines Swedish cookies. Chicago Importing Company's Lars' Own line, which has become a banner brand for some of Sweden's most popular foods, has its own version of the gingersnap, richly spiced and a little thicker than is typical. "It's a huge fourth-quarter seller," says owner Lars Berntson, as its attractive packaging bears the Stockholm skyline and, he adds, "the flavor profile is a nice balance of spice and sweet." Even though the cookies could be made in the States, Berntson chooses to have them baked in Sweden, where they're called pepparkakor. "For certain products, like gingersnaps, they can do it much better and more efficiently in Sweden than we can here." Swedes typically eat them around the holidays, but Berntson sells them year- round domestically. "It's a different market," he says. Before introducing its own brand in 2007, Chicago Importing focused on food items from Scandinavian and other Northern European countries. Today, in addition to the Lars' Own brand, the company imports Bahlsen, Anna's Ginger Thins, and Dutch stroopwafels and specu- loos. "These are very good sellers for us," Berntson says, as are Göteborgs Ballerina cookies (nougat-filled biscuits), which he calls "the Oreo of Sweden." JULY/AUGUST 2012 97 Tastes from Africa, Argentina and Beyond Less-familiar cookies of South Africa, Argentina, the Netherlands and Germany are beginning to make a serious imprint on the market. While the Argentinean alfajores, Dutch speculoos, South African rusks and German pfeffernusse may not yet be house- hold names, these delicacies may be next in line to become American favorites. South African Dunking Snacks. Jeremy Dreyer, owner of The South African Food Shop in Matthews, N.C., carries Ouma Rusks, a name that translates to "grand- mother's rusks." These traditional South African snacks are often called "dunkers" as they're generally dipped in coffee or tea before being eaten. They have been made since 1939 in the small Eastern Cape town of Molteno. "The closest comparison to a South African rusk is the Italian biscotti," says Dreyer. The recipe comes from an old bread- preservation method: slicing and drying it in the oven. He notes that those new to rusks "might think they're stale already," but dryness is one of their attributes. "They're convenient as they won't go stale for a long time so you can open the box and enjoy them slowly," he says. Dreyer's shop car- ries rusks in a variety of flavors, including Muesli (with raisins) and Buttermilk, which is the most popular by far, he notes. One of the challenges of selling rusks in the U.S. is their lack of sweetness. But in a climate where Americans are eager to cut back on sugar while not depriving them- selves, South African rusks fill a void nicely. (Dreyer notes that Original Rusks have only 5 grams of sugar per serving, whereas a serv- ing of biscotti can have as much as 15 grams.) German Crunchy Treats. Some cookies evoke childhood memories in an instant. Pfefferneusse is the one for DeeDee Silva. Co-owner with her husband, Phil, of Peppernuts (the English translation of the Generally unfamiliar to the American consumer, South African Rusk cookies (pictured below), similar to Italian biscotti, have been made since 1939 in the Eastern Cape town of Molteno.

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