Monthly Archives: December 2014

Christmas market foods

12 December, 2014

Food festivals and markets have grown in popularity over the past few years, especially Christmas Markets matching enticing European flavours with traditional British classics. They’re noted for the quality of their produce, from cheeses to confectionery and meats. By shopping at these markets customers can access quality, fresh, homemade produce whilst supporting local traders, bakers and chefs alike.

BAKO believe now is the prime opportunity to visit or even exhibit at a local Christmas market and find some inspiration for the new baking year whilst supporting your local producers. If you’re thinking of exhibiting, it can be the ideal time to receive some feedback from your customers and BAKO couldn’t think of a better opportunity to showcase your festive bakes and samples from your upcoming menu for 2015.

With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the classic foods that you can expect to be sampling over the festive period at your local Christmas markets.

German Stollen

The Stollen or German Christmas Cake, is probably one of the oldest and longest culinary traditions in German history. The basic ingredients of a Stollen are butter, raisins (sometimes soaked in rum), candied lemon and orange peel, flour, sugar and fresh yeast.

stollen and candles

Originally given as a gift, today there are many different varieties available at most German Christmas Markets. Some of the delicious flavours include poppy seeds and nuts, creamy Quark, champagne, marzipan and almond. If you’re lucky enough to stumble across it, there’s also a Red Wine Stollen, made in certain regions of Germany.

Traditionally, almost every German household will either buy or bake their own Christmas Stollen for the Christmas Season, so you’re sure to find it at your local market this year.

Crepes & Waffles

Typically a French treat, sweet or savoury crepes can be enjoyed as a quick lunch or a tasty snack to accompany your hot chocolate or mulled wine. These extra thin pancakes always prove a hit at the market, served with a variety of indulgent fillings. From sweet fillings like chocolate spread and banana to savoury fillings of cheese and ham, there really is an option for every palette. Why not try serving crepes on your menu this season? An eggnog sauce could prove a hit!

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Belgian Waffles are also popular at markets, with their characteristic pattern.  The thicker batter forms a more dough-like consistency and a more dense and indulgent treat. Again served sweet or savoury, these are ideal for those customers looking for something to snack on whilst on-the-go.  Why not introduce sweet and savoury with candied bacon and maple syrup?

Warming drinks

Traditionally made with milk or cream, sugar and eggs, eggnog is a unique classic at this time of year. Served warm, it’s typically topped with cinnamon or nutmeg, but why not create a more indulgent twist with some added cream? Spirits such as brandy or rum can also be added, and it can be used as a flavouring for other food and drinks. How about an eggnog latte? Or an eggnog custard or ice cream?

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Mulled wine is a festive tradition, served warm, the unique aromas of the mulling spices remind many of Christmas. It can also be served in a non-alcoholic version or alongside a crepe or slice of stollen, to create a real winter warmer.

Lebkuchen

Historically also known as a honey cake or pepper cake, Lebkuchen is a traditional German-baked Christmas treat, similar to gingerbread, which is generally served around Christmas time with a cup of tea or coffee.

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Traditionally rectangular or round in shape, they have a sweet, nutty taste, with a spicy aroma. Typically soft with a slight crunch, they are glazed or covered with dark chocolate and chopped nuts, although some are left uncoated.

They are sold in highly decorated tins or are shaped and decorated with personalised messages piped in icing, as an ideal Christmas gift. Also known for its links to Hansel and Gretel, customers can create highly decorated Lebkuchen houses – a great festive activity for all the family to enjoy.

There are so many fantastic markets on offer to visit at this time of year in the North West. If there are any markets that you would highly recommend, or a classic food that you are looking forward to baking this Christmas, we would love to hear from you on Twitter.

 

Christmas catering with BAKO

8 December, 2014

As December begins, it’s time to start preparing for one of the busiest times of the year and one of the most important menus.

Many bakers, chefs and caterers alike will be catering for large groups of people and whether it be at Christmas parties or family buffets, preparations must begin early. From traditional treats to twists on the classics, BAKO have come up with some delicious Christmas party food ideas for you to serve.

Christmas Canapés

Party sized pies and pastries always go down well, but why not try an alternative Christmas twist by creating miniature turkey and stuffing pies or mini beef wellingtons? Served on a cheese board platter with a seasonal cranberry chutney, these are the ideal savoury treat for sharing. For those who don’t have time to create the pastry themselves, BAKO stock a variety of ready-made pre-rolled pastry.

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Impressive selections of canapés are a traditional way to impress a large group of people, and as the portions are smaller, they can afford to be all the more indulgent with rich food pairings. Pigs in blankets are not only delicious served with a turkey dinner but also as a tasty canapé when served alongside a sticky cranberry dipping sauce. Or try creating devils on horseback by wrapping a cherry in smoky bacon and grilling. The contrast of sweet and smoky flavours is sure to be a hit.

Party Cocktail Sausages

Vol au vents are a classic canapé as their crisp buttery puff pastry case can hold a variety of fillings. Shredded turkey breast with fragrant sausage and sage stuffing would be a tempting filling for a Christmas option. Or warm melted camembert with a cranberry jam and topped with a crunchy walnut would make a truly delicious vol au vent that could be enjoyed by all customers including vegetarians.

Vol au vents

BAKO’s pre rolled puff pastry is perfect for those preparing vol au vents with less time on their hands and our sandwich fillings are ideal for the centre. How about coronation chicken or prawn in marie rose sauce?

Sandwiches and sliced meats

Sandwiches are a popular choice when serving groups as there tends to be a filling to suit everyone’s taste. Turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches are typical this time of year and a great way to use up left-over turkey.

sandwich

For those who have had enough of turkey to last them until next year, BAKO offer a variety of flavours from the classics, such as egg mayonnaise and chicken tikka, to more exciting flavours like red Thai chicken or chilli beef. Or if you wanted to serve something different, a platter of sliced meats can prove popular alongside some crusty rolls, so guests can help themselves.

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BAKO’s Buffet classics

As Christmas can be a chaotic time, BAKO have a range of ready-made options perfect for a classic buffet selection. Stocking everything from sausage rolls and pork pies to samosas and tomato and cheese swirls.

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If baking is proving too time consuming over the busy period, BAKO stock a range of ready-made sweet miniature bites too, from brownies and flapjacks to rocky road.

Bite sized treats

So that everyone can still enjoy the classics but not feel overpowered by their rich flavours, try serving some of your indulgent bakes in bite-size versions. Miniature Christmas puddings served hot or cold are a great idea; why not serving them with a brandy butter dip for a touch of luxury? Or for those that don’t like Christmas pudding flavours, what about pudding themed chocolate cupcakes?

Christmas cupcakes

Mince pies are a must at this time of year and can also be served full size or as miniatures. BAKO’s Own Label mincemeat has a sweet and fruity flavour made with raisins, currants, apple and mixed peel, great for your Christmas mince pies. Served with cream, warm custard or brandy butter, they’re hard to resist.

If you’ve got some Christmas catering ideas, we’d love to hear about them on Twitter.