Month: December 2018

Festive Greetings

Wishing you all of the Hope, Wonder, and Joy that the Season can bring!

Warmest wishes of the Season from our family to yours.Let us cherish this time to have gratitude for our family and friends this Holiday Season. May you all have time for rest, make joyful memories and refresh ready for all the great things to come in the new year.

 

Much love to all,

The Crevin Family x

Christmas traditions at the cocoa farm

This year we wanted to invite you to explore an alternative to our normal Flemish festivities. 

Since the majority of our raw cocoa comes from Ghana we thought it would be fitting to write about Christmas in Ghana at a time of year when family values mean everything at Crevin. 

 

 

 

 

FACT:

  • Did you know that 66 different languages are spoken in Ghana? That means that Christmas tradition is varied immensely throughout the land.
  • Worldwide cocoa consumption per year equates to 3.5 million tonnes of cocoa each year
  • Almost all of that cocoa (90% of it) is grown by around 6 million farmers on small family-run farms.
  • Every stage of cocoa production is done by hand: planting, irrigating, harvesting, fermenting and drying.

 

Not only because of Christmas, December is an important time of year for the cocoa farms as it is when the cocoa harvest begins. Ghana is the worlds second biggest cocoa producer. Except on Christmas Eve when all business stops and the churches begin to fill with happy locals dressed in colourful traditional clothes are  all singing in choirs together. After church on Christmas morning it is tradition to go home and open gifts and then sit and have the main Christmas meal together. The main traditional meals eaten vary from okra stews, porridge, fufu (yam paste), meat and rice.  

 

Time off of the farms varies but usually by the first week of January all are back to routine again and ready to pick the crops for the new year before they are separated and the best quality cocoa beans make it to roasting.

 

We wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you and send our heartfelt love and appreciation for all that our Cocoa farmers and their families do for us. We could never make the high quality of Belgium chocolate at Cervin without them.

 

 

Whilst we are on the topic of family values we also needed to mention that the Crevin team also need some TLC and party time with loved ones. You can see our festive opening hours on our homepage. We look forward to welcoming you to Christmas at Crevin Brugge.

Cocoa Horizons- Creating A Sustainable Future

Making excellent chocolate is a fun career to have and a tasty one too! As Chocolatiers, what really matters to us and helps us sleep easy at night is knowing that our cocoa farmers are also being looked after. Creating sustainability, developing  communities with a safe education system, supporting the farming community and ensuring the ecosystem is safe for future generations.

What is Cocoa Horizons

Cocoa Horizons Foundation is an organisation built as a platform to support innovative ideas that will help to build change in the cocoa farming community. Most of the cocoa farmers supplying the world’s best cocoa to the western world is produced in Western Africa.  Cocoa Horizons is helping these farmers with the knowledge and understanding they will need to evolve good agricultural practices. Most of these farms are ageing and using depleted soil which in turn eventually ruins the crops prematurely and puts the farmers at risk of loosing their farms in the long run. Farmers are also being educated about the unpredictable effects of climate change and how to better protect themselves. In most of the Western African area there is a general lack of financing options to invest in productivity activities and thus the family businesses fail to circulate year after year or to even keep within the family for generations.

 

Why the Foundation is Needed 

One of the biggest reasons why the issues on the cocoa farms arise is the lack of access to education the children have. Some families have to send their children very far distances to get to a school and additionally gender equality has not allowed girls easy access to a classroom. The remote rural areas the farmers often live can lack access to clean and safe water, transport systems and a healthcare team. Vocational training is also required to ensure farming procedures remain safe for all workers and that ongoing training is an option for all to sustain the farming communities.

 

Educating the Cocoa Community

Giving the farmers additional knowledge and education has the power to change the livelihood of their families for generations. Growing yields sustainably means the crops can increase year after year allowing the businesses to grow. The foundation can make sure that farmers are paid a premium for their produce. In turn the farmers can then invest back into their farms and also into much needed areas of the community.

The Cocoa Horizon’s Foundation currently have programs in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Tanzania.

 

Find out more about what Crevin do to support sustainable farming and the stock of sustainable cocoa by sending us an enquiry.

Thank you for reading our blog, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Image taken from Cocoa Horizon’s Foundation website. Find out more about how you can get involved on the website.

The Perfect Ganache for a Special Stocking

Have a special someone in your life that would appreciate some quality chocolates in their Christmas stockings this year?

We have the perfect selections of artisan ganaches to impress.

 

How are they so special?

Because all of the chocolate at Crevin is handmade to perfection using traditional age old methods practised for over 30 years. Feeling silly and want know what’s different about a ganache? That’s ok we get asked this all the time at our flagship store in Bruges.

 

Gratifying of all treats

Chocolate ganache is a combination of chocolate and double cream that is simple to make, yet is one of the richest and most gratifying of treats to eat. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa-solids ratio gives the richest results. Here at Crevin we have developed the finest “melt in the mouth” ganache recipe used for our chocolate counter. The same recipe is used to create assortments available with alternative flavours such as corriander (using the fresh coriander leaf when heating the milk), raspberry, cherry and more.

 

Keep it fresh

Basically, make it and eat it.  The high fat content of both cream and chocolate means ganache, including truffles, will stay vibrant and fresh for a small period of time. That’s why our policy is always to make it using the traditional method in small batches and by hand. A quick turn around in our store means you get a fresh batch every time.

Thank you for reading and remember you can follow us on social media for events and offers on Facebook and Instagram.

Journey of the Marshmallow Through Time

The Holly Hock and Medicine

Marshmallow treats come in different forms, shapes, sizes, colours and flavours. Therefore they have many names but because we live in a society where the English  language is becoming increasingly more prominent, they are mostly known as marshmallows whenever we talk about this delicious candy.

 

 

 

The English ‘marsh mallow’ and the French ‘guimauve’ both refer to a holly hock with yellow flowers related to hibiscus and okra. The holly hock officially known as Althea officinalis was mainly used for pharmaceutical purposes in ancient times, such as cough syrup. Althea is derived from the Greek verb meaning ‘to cure’ or ‘to heal’. Nonetheless, it was also part of the origin story of what we now call marshmallow. The first of its kind was made in ancient Greece, 2000 BC. Later on by the Romans and Egyptians. A time when ancient Egypt was ruled by pharaohs and gods these treats were reserved for only the most holy among men. Root pieces from the mallow were boiled with honey which resulted in a thick slurry. This was then sieved and only when it had cooled was it consumed. Not because its taste, but because it was used in herbal medicine. It was known to heal a sore throat and colds.

Shape the Mallow

Today marshmallows are available in all sizes, shapes, colors and flavors. Marshmallows can even be cut into festive shapes such as Christmas trees or Easter bunnies. But just like cookies, meringues and pastries, it is now completely popular to make hand-made marshmallows. The simpler, the better. In Flanders you will find the most delicious marshmallows at Confiserie Crevin, ‘Artisan Sucre, in Meulebeke. (Marshmallow selection) They have an extensive assortment of marshmallows, such as the white-pink and the vanilla marshmallows with a crackling layer of chocolate. New marshmallows are created every other season. Their creamy cherry is a topper in the summer! For the autumn they have the fruity tastes such as apple covered in chocolate and for Christmas time the snowy cocos,  cinnamon and creme brulee.

 

Are You an Althaiophobian?

With marshmallows you can go in all directions. In Japan you can even get a pizza with marshmallows on it. They brought out a marshmallow pizza to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Morinaga MilkC°,amilk and dessert producer. The Morinaga Milk Caramel and Marshmallow pizza is finished with almond flakes and a thick crust of cheese. Yummy? Do you know that Ligonier, in Indiana, America, the marshmallow capital is of the world. Every year they organize a marshmallow parade and the Marshmallow Games. So real marshmallow fans over there. There are also people who are afraid of the foamy candy. The phobia for marshmallows is called Althaiophobia. Fear of marshmallows? Yes, it really exists!

 

From Medicine to a Bouncy Delight

The marshmallow we know today, however, only emerged thousands of years later, in the course of the nineteenth century. Around 1850, food journalist Harold McGee wrote in his book ‘About food and cooking’ that the French mixed the juice of the marshmallow plant with egg whites and sugar until they left a frothy substance. The spongy form was born! They poured that substance into an elongated form that had been dusted with maize starch. Then the marshmallows had to dry for 1 to 2 days. They lay next to each other in long strips, sometimes with a knot in them, and if you wanted a piece, it was simply cut off by the vendor or the pharmacist in question. In France you will still encounter them today: from those long strands of marshmallow, in flavors ranging from aniseed to violets and or orange blossom.

 

Mass Produced Alternatives 

About thirty years later, around 1880, the marshmallow was dumped and replaced by gelatine. This made the production a lot cheaper and therefore more suitable for mass production. From then on, the marshmallow has only become more famous and especially in the United States the candy is very popular. In the US they also know a variety under the name Mallomar, a marshmallow topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate (here you can click for our Artisan variety). Due to their melting sensitivity and poor transportability, however, this version is only available locally. A bit like the Ghent cuberdon, which was never actually exported for that reason.

 

A Child’s Favourite

In America, the roasting of marshmallows is a favorite activity and delicacy. It is a phenomenon that only occurred a few decades ago in our country. Especially because it is an activity that is fun for the children. But in the States itself it is real cultural heritage. The ‘Marshmallow roast’ is mentioned in the US in New York for the first time, as new summer entertainment, around 1891. In the meantime, marshmallows have become an important part of children’s traditions; no summer camp or campfire would be the same without roasting marshmallows. At Crevin you can find a chocolate fountain in which children and big children alike immerse our artisan marshmallows!