By Chef Hayley Sutherland
Confectionery: The art of making confections which are food items that are rich in sugar and carbohydrates.
Confectionery is divided into two broad categories.
First being baked confections and second sugar confections.
The difference between baked and sugar confections is that not all items in baked confectionery are sweet. They include products that have a basis of flour and are always baked in ovens. Sweet confectionery includes items that are sugar based and are high in carbohydrates, these items cannot be eaten as a nutritious meal but rather a tea time snack.
“The rise of baked confectionery art”
Being a baker is an art and a science. Ingredients have to be carefully combined at specific stages and mixed in a firm but gentle way to create a product that meets the desired outcome. Artisanal breads have become a trend that everyone wants a piece of. Artisanal baking is a craft where the baker is trained to the highest ability to bake a hand crafted loaf while understanding his ingredients and the environment around them. Although there is the division between sweet and baked confection that does not mean that there are no sweet baked products. There are deliciously sweet products such as brioche, sweet croissants, pain au chocolate etc. which can all be enjoyed under the umbrella of baked confection.
“The sweetest thing”
Sugar confection is as its name suggests – all things sweet. Many years ago when sugar was not readily available honey was used as the basis of confectionery and used to preserve fruit. We have come a long way since then. Today we have many different types of sugar as well as sugar alternatives to use in the production of sweet confectionery be it candies, cakes, tarts or cookies.
Chocolate a firm favorite falls under sweet confection and by chocolate I mean the real deal couverture made from cacao beans. The making of chocolate is a lengthy and expensive process that your average consumer does not understand or know of. There are a few local businesses that are opening up now that promote a bean to bar chocolate and it is fast becoming a trend in the confectionery world as these products do not contain all the extra “nasty” additives as the big brand chocolates that we know today.
“The current state of confection”
People are moving away from mass produced products that are made by chain supermarkets and towards more individually made items by your local baker that contain quality ingredients like real butter, full cream milk and vanilla pods. This is where we will find our artisan bakers and pastry chefs that work tirelessly to hone their crafts and be the best in the business.
The world of confection is changing daily with influencers setting the pace from all over the globe. Watching platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest will introduce you to what is trending and keep you updated as to what is happening in the world of confection.