Celebrating craftsmanship, DIY style!

Did you notice that some ingredients always seem to ‘just be there’? What if we would take a closer look to the craftsmanship that got into them? From creating homemade bread to flavor packed butter and true chocolate art. Because in the end it’s handmade love that brings your offer to the next culinary level, like these examples of chefs, elite producers, and brands will show you. So, get inspired by swiping through these 10 delicious (and surprising) examples of craftsmanship, DIY style!
 

1.     Loving homemade liquors

Back in the days, liquors were seen as medicinal elixirs that consisted out of alcohol, herbs, and essential oils. Nowadays liquors are alcoholic drinks produced by the distillation of grains, fruits, vegetables, or sugar that has already gone through alcoholic fermentation. Sounds fancy but is quite easy to DIY: just fill a jar with fruit, (e.g. berries), add sugar, and top it off with alcohol (e.g. vodka). Turn the jar daily. After three months you strain out the fruit pieces and it’s ready to be enjoyed by your guests!

Liquor making process
  • A 2* Michelin take on liquor 

Two-star Michelin chef Syrco Bakker was the head chef of Pure C, a restaurant located on the Belgian coastline. Besides offering nature-inspired fine dining experiences, Syrco created his own liquor called ‘Hierbas de las Dunas’. Usually, liquors are made with dried herbs, but Syrco solely works with fresh ingredients. Eighteen of them, to be precise. It ranges from different types of herbs to flowers and plants from the North Sea dunes, which are right in front of the restaurant. The effect? A pure, salty-sweet flavor that works well on its own but also in a killer cocktail. 
 

Hierbas de las Dunas

2.     Totally in SHOCKocolate

Did you know that there are four different types of chocolate in the world? Of course, there are dark, milk and white, but since 2017, ruby is added to the list. It got its name from its natural reddish-pink color and was developed by the Belgian chocolate manufacturer Callebaut. All four types of chocolates can be tempered to use it for all kinds of applications, such as… bonbons! These small bites of flavor explosions are the crown jewels of many pastry chefs and chocolatiers and offer a lovely handmade -and artsy- addition to upgrade an order of tea, coffee, or dessert.

How to Make 5 Handmade Chocolates

  • Bigger is better…

Taste is king, but when you ask Amaury Guichon, renowned pastry chef and TV personality, shape and size is definitely queen. Amaury is an expert in making HUGE chocolate objects that look like the real deal, and loves sharing the process (and the impressive end result) to millions of his followers on Instagram and TikTok. Besides that, he was the host of the popular Netflix series ‘School of Chocolate’ in which he teaches young chefs how to work with chocolate on a big scale. A must see, if you ask us. 


Chocolate Sea Dragon!

3.     Blown away by bread

The main ingredients of bread are flour, yeast, salt, water and a lot of love. Making it from scratch requires a 12-step plan: scaling ingredients, mixing and kneading, primary fermentation, punching, dividing, rounding, benching, final forming / panning, proofing (secondary fermentation), baking, cooling and storing. And after all that hard work, you’ll have a fresh loaf of bread that smells and tastes like… sweet love! Unfortunately, after a few days it becomes tough love. Unless you…

process of making bread
  • The story of canned bread 

Putting dough in a can and bake it. That’s what Pan Akimoto did. Due to this way of working the freshly baked flavor and soft texture of the bread are kept in the can, preserving it for 37 months. Great for camping, fishing trips, or as a surprising and instagrammable addition to your menu!  

Canned Bread

4.     When white wine turns blue

The delicate art of winemaking goes back to at least 6000 BC and has evolved tremendously over time. This alcoholic, grape-based favorite is now the subject of studies, tours and, if it’s a very special bottle, is sometimes even put up for auction. 

That said, you can also buy a wide range of reds, roses, and whites in your local store. One of those easily available wines is a blue one. Yes, we said blue.

process of wine making
  • Blue wine?! 

The Spanish company Gik Blue decolors and deacidifies Chardonnay wine and adds the pigment of blue grapes to it. It’s as simple as that. Even though they only work with grapes, they aren’t allowed to call it wine in Europe. 

Blue wine in bottle and wine glass

5.     Become a pioneer in Pasta! 

Even though pasta is made of just three ingredients (egg, flour, and water), the creation requires true Italian craftsmanship. It doesn’t only take time but also asks for skills that honor the authentic art of pasta making. And as there are more than 700 different types of pasta, you’re never done learning. That said, Dan Pashman still missed one particular shape of pasta…

process of making pasta
  • A new piece of pasta goodness!

Cascatelli. That’s how the new pasta on the block is called. This ‘waterfall pasta’ is invented by Dan Pashman and ticks 3 important boxes: because of its shape your sauce sticks to it, and due to its size, every piece has a serious bite to it. And finally, because Cascatelli is much longer than many other types of pasta, it’s easy to put your fork into. 

Did you know that Dan Pashman came up with even more pasta shapes? Listen to his story about creating Cascatelli and the additional 2 shapes in his podcast-series Mission: ImPASTAble.

Dan Pashman with Cascatelli

6.     Bonkers about Butter 

When Googling ‘What’s the origin of butter?’ you’ll get: ‘Someone was riding on a horse with milk and the agitation from riding ‘churned’ the mixture, making butter. Salt, a naturally occurring substance, was one of the few seasonings used and so salt was added for flavor, but also to help preserve the mixture.’ This already gives a hint of how easy butter-making really is. But that doesn’t mean you can’t level up, right?

process of making butter
  • Raise the bar by spanking your butter 

The French butter of @maisonbordier_ is the most famous in all of France. Inspired by a 19th-century method using a malaxeur (a wooden tool that slowly kneads churned butter) they create the softest texture ever. Even though ‘plain’ butter is already delicious, ingredients as yuzu, seaweed or chocolate can be added for an even bigger mind-blowing taste experience. After that, the well-trained staff at Bordier manually ‘spanks’ the butter into the preferred shape. And that’s an art in itself.

Bordier Butter with Chef Ludo Lefebvre

7.     The bold world of beer brewing

Beer is hot and brewing your own beer even more so. And although it takes some time (and the right gear) to get the hang of it, when you boil it down it only takes four simple steps: preparation, brewing, fermenting and... bottling. There are numerous DIY kits on the market for beer-fanatics around the world, but also for foodservice professionals that want to tap into the beer pairing trend or love to put a deliciously different beer on the menu. Not that adventurous? No worries, you can’t go wrong with one of the following 10 beers!

beer brewing process
  • The world’s beer bestsellers

According to ‘The Annual Brands Report*’ (January 2023), ‘Heineken’ is the absolute number one when it comes to being a bestselling beer brand. The runner up is ‘Peroni Nastro Azzurro’, followed by ‘Asahi super dry’. Curious if your favorite is represented in the top 10? Check the list below:

* Good to know: ‘The Annual Brands report’ is a culmination of a survey of 100 bars from 33 countries around the world which have been nominated or won international awards. The report offers a picture of the buying habits of the world’s best bars – not only which brands sell best, but also what’s trending to indicate the brands that are hot right now. 

8.     Siked about Sausage-making

Sausage making is a meaty business and requires the skill of combining the right ingredients (from the type of meat you choose to the herbs and spices) and the right technique. And that all really depends on which type of sausage you are making. In general, sausages can be divided into four groups:

  1. Fresh sausages (such as Bratwurst)
  2. Cooked sausages (Brühwurst or scalded sausage, like Bologna and Wiener)
  3. Pre-cooked sausages (like Blood sausage and Liverwurst)
  4. Fermented or cured sausage (such as Salami and Mettwurst)

And even though these sausages are still tremendously popular, a 5th group is on the rise: vegetarian/vegan (or so-called meatless) sausages. A perfect addition to your menu when on the lookout for plant-based options that match your restaurant concept.

process of sausage making
  • Vegan sausages? Hell yeah!

In New Zealand they take their vegan sausages seriously. For already 5 years in a row, they host ‘The Vegan Sausage Awards’. This year ‘Plan*t – Spicy Chorizo’ was the absolute winner. The jury was unanimous: “good casing, the outside was crispy, whilst the inside was soft and juicy. Good fat content.”

Plant spicy chorizo

9.     Hail to handmade hummus

Handmade hummus? You mean ‘pressing the ON button on your high-speed blender hummus’, right? Because quite frankly, making hummus is a 5-minute job. Just add chickpeas, tahini (sesame paste), olive oil, garlic and salt to your blender and process until it’s smooth. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a 100-dollar dish out of it…

plain hummus
  • The fanciest hummus ever

In 2019 Tom Sarifan, head chef at Melbourne’s Bar Saracen, decided to celebrate World Hummus Day in a very abundant way: serving ‘The Hundred Dollar Hummus’. He started off with a silky, truffle-based hummus and added chunks of Western Australian marron, drenched in cinnamon, allspice, and saffron butter. But that’s not all… He finished it off with some Yarra Valley Caviar. Unfortunately, we only have pictures to prove it, as the dish was exclusively limited. 

100-dollar-humus

10.     In favor of handcut fries

Last but not least, we added fries to the list. A true crowd-pleaser that is made of only a single ingredient: potatoes. Fresh from the land you can cut them in rectangular shapes (French Fries or Steakhouse cut), make wedges out of it, or decide to go for cubes! Leave the skin on to celebrate that true potato taste (tip!). After cutting, rinse the fries with water to make sure they don’t stick together. Pat dry and pre-bake them. When you’re ready to serve a portion of fries, bake them a second time. Finish with a nice topping, great garnish or sassy sauce and they’re ready to be enjoyed! Looking for a fry that already has a hand cut look? Try our Connoisseur Homestyle Fries.

And although fries are really made to be eaten, they can also be a perfect (and tasty) inspiration for artists.

In favor of handcut fries
  • For the love of fries.. & art

In 1963, sculptor Claes Oldenburg created the art piece ‘French Fries and Ketchup’ as a 50th Anniversary Gift for Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Meltzer. This large plate of fries (26.7 × 106.7 × 111.8 cm) is a true ode and is currently still on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. We love it.

French Fries and Ketchup art piece