Summer in the kitchen of Andreas Acherer
The vibrant energy of summer has spread to the pastry kitchens. Today we talk to Andreas Acherer, the Italian Cacao Barry Ambassador and the owner of the Acherer pastry shops in South Tyrol.
How does summer look in your pastry kitchen?
Summer for me and my team is one of the most exhausting periods. In summer South Tyrol is full of tourists from near and far, who visit this area for trekking, mountain climbing and other summer activities. The Alps are a wonderful oasis of freshness during the summer months and a great way to keep your head cool. But for us it means a very exciting and hardworking time. Fourteen pastry chefs from our kitchen start the day at 4 am. The main work is preparation of the fresh berries - our region is full of them in summer. We are also producing light airy creations from other in season exotic fruits like mango, passion fruit, kalamansi and lemon.
What is your summer collection 2017?
Our summer collection includes 25 different entremets, 5 verrines, 10 different petit gateaux, 15 types of macarons and 35 different pralines.
Our highlights this summer are combinations like: turnip-raspberry and coconut; curry-pineapple; green asparagus-wild strawberry; lemon-basil; tiramisu with passion fruit and matcha; Indian fig - white chocolate; apricot-rosemary; tartlette of strawberry with balsamic vinegar and fresh rocket; chantilly millefeuille with saffron. Everything is very light, with very small amounts of sugar and very intense flavours.
What is your favourite summer combination with chocolate?
In summer I love to combine chocolate with fruits.
White chocolate mousse with rice pudding and kalamansi; black currant - milk chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline; dark chocolate mousse - passion fruit coulis and mango mousse; our new version of black forest with a chocolate brownie with cherries, milk chocolate mousse with cherry brandy with cured cherries.
Did you create any dessert based on that combination also for this summer season?
We are always trying to use different techniques. For our apricots for example - we caramelise in the oven fresh apricots with rosemary and honey, our pineapple-curry entremet is made out of vacuum sautéed curried-pineapple cubes. Beside that we always pay attention to different textures: mousse, jelly, crunch, biscuit, sponge …
Which Cacao Barry chocolate is the greatest star in your pastry kitchen this summer? Why?
My greatest star is my Cacao Barry Or Noir which I created three years ago at the Cacao Barry Or Noir lab in Paris. I wanted to create a chocolate that expresses the flavour of the Alpine terroir.
The result is a 70% couverture with cacao from Santo Domingo, Venezuela and Mexico. It has a very dominant cacao flavour with beautiful accents of red fruits which beautifully enrich this couverture which I called “Ame Soeur” (Soulmate).
Autumn will be here soon. Are you already planning your autumn collection?
Yes, of course! Being very busy in Summer, we plan our autumn and Christmas collection already in spring. Ideas, sketches, packaging proposals, sales and marketing strategies need to be ready before July. In September we already start our Christmas production of Gingerbread, panettone, fruitbread and other top sellers together with our chocolate specialties which we send all around the world.
Which ingredients are you looking forward to combining with chocolate in autumn?
Autumn here in the Alps again offers a wide range of choices for being creative. Our main focus this year will be on pears, plums, apples and chestnuts. In this moment we are working on our own pumpkin seed nougat. I have a lovely idea for a final product, but let’s keep it secret for now!
Do you have any other news to share with our readers?
We have moved to a new production unit which allows us to grow. We are able to do well organised production at a very high level within our 800m2 of space. We sell our products to 30 Italian restaurants, 1 restaurant in Vienna and different hotels and pastry shops. Since March our products are available also in Tokyo. From September our macarons and verrines will be available in well-known shops in Italy, Austria and Germany. But I can’t say anymore at the moment - we are still in the phase of clearing some small details regarding trademarks.