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From the Sigep Observatory all the sweet trends for the festivities


RIMINI, Italy – As every year, Italian Exhibition Group’s Sigep Observatory, while waiting for the world’s largest exhibition dedicated to artisan confectionery (at Rimini Expo Centre, from 18th to 22nd January 2020 www.sigep.it) carried out a census of the new desserts which will be served on 25th December.

New ideas that shed lustre on a trade that features 40,408 enterprises working in Italy on the production and commerce of bakery products, a sector that has a workforce of approximately 162,000 and an annual turnover that exceeds 8.3 billion euros*.

The tradition of passing Christmas with relatives and friends gets a new look from Sonia Balacchi, who pays tribute to a famous family card game with ”Briscola” (see attached photo), a cake with a crunchy short pastry base with a hazelnut cream filling. “The cake is topped by a cupola of 62% Brazilian macaé chocolate, which on the top has printed Christmas tree decorations in silky orange chocolate”, explains the well-known Rimini pastry chef, World Pastry Champion in 2012, the first lady in the world in this category and in 2015 the only Italian nominated Italian pastry ambassador to the UN.

“Inside, there is a rich mouth-watering “booty”: fragrant fruit marshmallows, double-flavour creams, candied almonds and peanuts and soft nougat.”

Alessandro Dalmasso, chairman of the Club Coupe Du Monde de la Pâtisserie, alternates some new features with sweet Piedmont traditions, presenting a panettone with two types of vanilla and pieces of marron glacé. “However, tradition still holds strong”, says Dalmasso “and Turin’s typical focaccia dell’Epifania (Epiphany bun) is a must.” According to tradition, two dried broad beans (a black one and a white one) are hidden inside it, and the cake must be eaten with friends or relatives: whoever finds the black bean must buy drinks for all the others.

For the “master of masters”, Brescia’s Iginio Massari: “Christmas is the family celebration par excellence and pastry chefs must take this into consideration. We create 7-8 types of panettone, mainly classic ones, or with some special feature, such as the one made with honey-flavoured candying. We focus in the evolution of tradition and continuous improvement.”

May’s survey by Nielsen** on Italians’ purchasing habits regarding panettone assigned an increasingly large share of the market to artisan production, which in Italy currently has a value of over 107 million euros. The artisan panettone world’s turnover shows an 8.4% increase on the previous year (according to Nielsen, production reached 5.3 tons in 2018).

Rimini maestro Roberto Rinaldini proposes a ”tailor-made” panettone. Personalized in various sizes and 9 types with unique chocolate decorations created with a jet of water that cuts them and makes them exclusive, these panettones are in great demand with important fashion and luxury hotel brands.

According to Bologna’s Gino Fabbri, President of the Academy of Italian Master Pastry Chefs, it is necessary to make the most possible use of domestic raw materials, from flour to butter and candied fruit, without using additives. “This year, there is a great comeback for a cream that is envied abroad and of which we should be proud: zabaglione.”

And there just had to be Pastry Chef of the Year Santi Palazzolo (whose pastry shop will celebrate its centenary at SIGEP), who for the festive season, as a good Sicilian, proposes a really special panettone. “It contains the ingredients of our area”, explains the maestro, “such as figs from the Monreale zone, which are dried in the August sun. We cut them into small pieces and toast them, to give them a caramel touch. Lastly, we immerse them in Marsala, until they absorb all the wine. To give a slightly lighter sweetness, we prepared an aromatic nucleus with orange, lemon and mandarin peel. On the outside, this is all finished with gianduja and Madonie hazelnut icing, as well as dried Sicilian fruit, such as Bronte pistachio.”

From the Amalfi coast, Salvatore De Riso proposes a dessert made with chocolate, melannura and tangerine: polvere di stelle (stardust), i.e. a hazelnut biscuit with dark chocolate mousse and chocolate and mandarin filling. The cake is given a chocolate icing finish and sprinkled with 24-carat gold dust, enriched with gold leaf flakes and decorated with a white chocolate reindeer and a bunch of redcurrants. The panettone tiramisù, a new addition this year, is also very appealing, with mascarpone and espresso coffee cream.

Work has been under way since March, but the new idea he has in store is really mouth-watering: it is the pistachio panettone, which will be proposed by Padua’s Luigi Biasetto, world champion at the 1997 Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie. “Since last year, we also make a panettone with roast chestnuts (see attached photo), which are cooked in their shells and toasted, then are lightly smoked and undergo a light candying in rum and vanilla, to maintain the chestnuts’ consistency.

On the other hand, the 2016 Pastry Queen, Turin’s Silvia Federica Boldetti, has in store a series of brightly coloured Christmas trees (see attached photo) made with five qualities of chocolate (obviously without using colouring agents): dark, milk, white, gold caramel and ruby, obtained by processing cacao beans with the most pigments.

About Sigep 2020

Dates: 18 – 22 January 2020; Organizers: Italian Exhibition Group SpA; Edition: 41st SIGEP; Frequency: annual; Classification: international; Admittance: trade members only; Hours: 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, last day 9:30 am – 3:00 pm (3:00 – 5:00 pm only with online tickets); Visitor info: tel. +39 0541/744111; Web site: www.sigep.it – #Sigep2017