We had an exciting evening last Wednesday night as we co-hosted a launch event with celebrity chef, Raymond Blanc, for a range of fantastic premium frozen desserts. The French classics, Cherry Clafoutis, Chocolate Delice and a Pear & Hazelnut Dacquoise, launch mid-February in a selection of retailers.
It’s been an exciting journey for our Product Developers, working with Raymond Blanc and his chefs for 14 months, developing the range – all of which are inspired by Raymond’s childhood and Maman Blanc’s cooking – from initial concept to launch event.
As journalists and bloggers filed into the venue, they were met and greeted by Raymond himself. It was hosted at Gaggenau in the sleek demo kitchen with its state of the art units and appliances – the perfect venue for the French master to wow his audience with his effortless cooking panache and style. They sipped Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons champagne as he entertained whilst cooking and it felt a bit like sitting in a friends kitchen as they prepare supper whilst chatting to you. We all felt privileged as he passed on some of his kitchen secrets and a range of tips. We now know why he uses Griotte cherries (the sourness complements the flavour of the vanilla batter), how to rescue a lumpy Crème Anglaise (liquidise it), and the trick to perfectly cut a frozen dessert (use a hot knife). In an aside we also learnt why you rest roasted meat before serving (to allow the meat to finish cooking).
Raymond Blanc desserts – traditional french classics
He answered questions as he cooked, bantered with journalists and offered round his ginger crème Anglaise for approval, before serving it. By way of demonstrating that you lose nothing of the flavour, with a premium frozen dessert, Raymond prepared a chocolate delice on the spot. When comparing this and the pre-made frozen version, guests could only concede that the two tasted the same. Indeed we’ve had feedback that the desserts ‘exceeded expectation’ – high praise indeed.
Post-event he cordially chatted to journalists, team members and bloggers alike discussing everything from the desserts, to his cherished Le Manoir and how he was developing the gardens – a real passion of his. He posed for pictures with enthusiasts and signed books and was, all in all, a thoroughly lovely and charismatic man. For us, we loved Raymond Blanc all the more for popping open the champagne to toast the Winterbotham Darby team (especially Hannah) and congratulate us all on a great team effort.
Roll on the launch and look out for more information on the desserts in a couple of weeks.