Relais Desserts is the association for distinguished patisseries and chocolatiers around the globe.
2019 International Meetings were best described as festive, grand, and spectacular.
In this blog, we touch on diverse topics about Japanese food cultures, practices together with the culinary secret, TREHA®, and its important role in the Japanese food industry. We hope our blog helps you obtain in-depth knowledge of the secrets and science behind Japanese cuisine, shared from our kitchen, to yours.
Relais Desserts is the France-based association for the world’s most distinguished patisseries and chocolatiers established in 1981. It is perhaps the most famous association among those involved in the confectionery business, aiming for the members to educate one another to create better and higher quality products. Approximately 90 chefs from 19 countries belong to the association. The members are known by name for their high level of expertise. Anyone who wishes to belong to the association must have nominations from two current members and pass a technical test to demonstrate superb skills under the watchful eye of all members.
Chef Vincent Guerlais has been the Chairperson of the Board since 2018. He operates six successful patisseries and chocolatiers in Nantes of Brittany in France, and his Japanese establishment launched in Nagoya in 2020. The famous Pierre Hermé, who has establishments worldwide, is the Vice-Chairperson.
Relais Desserts annually holds events for members to stay connected every spring and fall. The members take turns hosting the events and entertaining guests from abroad in the spring event. On the other hand, the members meet at a confectionery school to share new techniques and information through lectures and demonstrations organized by ingredient manufacturers in the fall events. Team TREHA® had the opportunity to introduce TREHA® to the members at the fall event in 2018. TREHA® gained recognition for its beneficial properties in French confectionery and made Hayashibara the first Japanese "premium supplier" of Relais Desserts in April 2019.
In 2019, Hayashibara participated in the International Meetings for the first time since becoming a premium supplier. The seminar started with a reception buffet prepared by chefs from around the world in the magnificent Lyon City Hall building. Participants had booths by country displaying colorful macarons and grandeur petit gâteaux created by master chefs. It was a glamorous social occasion attended by selected business partners and Lyon’s celebrities, including notable pastry chefs and politicians. The Mayor of Lyon also took the stage to greet the guests, manifesting the respect for Relais Desserts’ chefs and associates.
The following day, corporate sponsors exhibited their products at their designated booths. Having to travel from Japan set Team TREHA® a challenge of limiting the samples showcasing every valuable aspect of TREHA®.
Nevertheless, the softness of the marshmallows (guimauve) and the crispness and fresh taste of the fruit chips were sufficient application examples for the participating chefs to experience the benefits of TREHA®. Taste-testing of the commercial products containing TREHA® was also practical to introduce the functionality of TREHA®. The chefs listened to our explanation with great interest and asked many questions, especially about the transparency and the non-wilting, crisp fruit chips.
TREHA® plays an essential role in making perfect fruit chips, particularly from citrus fruits. A regular citrus fruit chip maintains its appearance when freshly made. However, the acid in the fruit reacts with the sugar, causing gradual browning and flavor loss. TREHA®, stable to acid and heat, maintains transparency, fresh colors, and taste. The high glass transition (vitrification) property also allows the fruit chips to retain their crispiness for an extended period. The chefs were convinced and impressed by the stories behind the samples representing the benefits of TREHA®. Some chefs took photos of our fruit chips with their smartphones.
After the exhibition, all participants moved to a comfortable log cabin for a BBQ lunch, which was indeed a dynamic lunch party featuring a whole roasted pig and a gelato truck. The guests were wholly entertained, and the chefs actively shared their discoveries in the seminar. The group then moved on to Séve, a chocolatier in Lyon. The roomy workshop studio on the city’s outskirts also serves as an elegant chocolate museum. Visitors could see the historically precious tools once used to make chocolate and learn about the history of chocolate.
The tour invited the guests for the fundraising activities for Cacao Forest, which Relais Desserts sponsor for a sustainable future of cacao production. The fundraising is supported by the members who donate their sales from “Macaroon Day," appointed by each participant at will. The Cacao Forest initiative aims to pay cacao growers a fair wage and improve the care and productivity of their trees. We are proud to be a premium supplier of Relais Desserts, which leads such a noble project. Afterward, the cocktail party brought the festive 2019 Relais Desserts International Meetings to a close.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 meetings were canceled. In 2021, participation from Japan was not allowed, unfortunately. However, we will finally be able to return to the 2022 International Meetings in Padua, Italy, from May 15 to 17. We are excited and looking forward to meeting the chefs in person again.
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