what's happening

Thursday 1st of December 2016

     On a regular basis, the FSAI ( The Food Safety Authority of Ireland) publishes new guidelines for food businesses to comply with. While in the past couple of years it feels like we have to concentrate more on educating people (allergen lists, calories on menus, warnings regarding some colourings for example) than the actual safety regarding the food we produce, artisans like us do comply with the rules and just get on with it….

The last guideline published came out yesterday… and it has my blood boil …
The food industry is being given definitions for the following words:

§                        Artisan/Artisanal
§                        Farmhouse
§                        Traditional
§                        Natural
The goal is to make sure the consumers are not being misslead by those words when used in the marketing and publicity of food products. Presumably the aim is to stop big factories from using words that don’t apply to their product, and by doing so, protecting the businesses whose product is defined by one or more of those words.
So far so good… couldn’t agree more …

I have, however, a massive problem with the definition of artisan that is being given … here is the official definition:

5.1 Artisan/Artisanal

The terms ‘artisan’ or ‘artisanal’ or similar descriptions using these terms should only be used on foods or in advertising of foods that can legitimately claim to meet all of the following criteria:

1. The food is made in limited quantities(5) by skilled craftspeople(6)
2. The processing method is not fully mechanised and follows a traditional(7) method 3. The food is made in a micro-enterprise(8) at a single location
4. The characteristic ingredient(s)(9) used in the food are grown or produced locally(10), where seasonally available and practical


(5) Limited quantities means total production by the food business operator of less than 1,000 kg or litres of food per week on average over a year (this limit is aligned with the higher limit in other national rules covering an activity which is considered ‘marginal, localised and restricted’ see S.I. No. 168 of 2012 and S.I. No. 340 of 2010).
(6) A skilled craftsperson is someone who has special expertise in making food in a traditional manner (see footnote 7).
(7) Traditional has the meaning defined in Council Regulation 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs: “....proven usage on the domestic market for a period that allows transmission between generations; this period is to be at least 30 years;”.
(8) A micro-enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than ten persons (or whole time equivalents) and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million. (Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC).
(9) Examples of characteristic ingredients are milk in cheese, pork meat in ham, strawberries in strawberry jam, oats in porridge. This is not intended to be a definitive list of characteristic ingredients. As a rule of thumb, the characteristic ingredient(s) are those that would normally require a quantitative ingredient declaration (QUID) under the food information regulations.
(10) Within a 100 km of the manufacturing/food service establishment (this limit is aligned with the sale and supply limit set in other national rules covering an activity which is ‘marginal, localised and restricted’, see S.I. No. 168 of 2012 and S.I. No. 340 of 2010)

     Will it stop big non artisan factories from using that word? Probably … But it will also limit and restrict the real artisans like us, and that’s where the real danger lies in my opinion….Let me explain by taking back the 4 points of the definition:

1    – food made in limited quantities (1000kg or ltr per week max): why limit the quantity of what an artisan can produce???? Surely there’s no limit, the artisan just trains more people as demand grows!
      –  a skilled craftsperson: artisan or not, everybody is skilled in the position they work at I would have guessed …
        traditional manner: here they are telling us that you can’t create a new product or it won’t be “artisan”

2 – traditional method: same as previously, this limits the creation of new products …

3 – micro enterprise: they don’t want the artisan to develop too big. By restricting quantities and turnover, there’s a clear risk of prices going up for the consumer as an artisan won’t want to go over the threshold to remain in the artisan category. The only way then to keep on increasing the turnover is to increase prices, very unhealthy way of doing business in my opinion…
   - single location: I don’t see how the location affects an artisanal product. That’s just more restrictive nonsense… When we had our shop in Dalkey, we had a lovely young Lady working in the shop who we regularly asked to do trays of sugar flowers. I would then bring those back to Kilcullen. That didn’t make our cakes any less artisanal …

4 – ingredients used grown or produced locally: this is going to be the most controversial bit here … they are touching on a complete different subject!!! One simple and straight forward example: you will never have an artisan mince pie in Ireland if you follow their logic: we don’t grow raisins, sultanas, oranges, lemons … The core ingredient of our macarons is ground almonds: Ireland doesn’t produce almonds …. See the problem ?!??



One final thought:

The fact that artisans make products by hand is completely left out of the definition, and the “art” bit of artisan is completely ignored …

Signed: a very angry artisan
Armelle



What's happening

Thursday 10th of November 2016

     Well the past couple of months have been full of events, as always ...

   September started with the (then) temporary closure of the Tramyard restaurant in Dalkey while they were carrying some work to comply with their latest court battle. While we stayed open in waiting of the next developments, the footfall dropped as expected, and we ended up serving coffee to try to attract more people down the alley.  Then the hammer came down before Halloween week end when the court ordered the Tramyard site to be closed from the following Friday... So we were left with no choice but to pack our cake stands and close the door sadly... There has been a lot of rumours going around since the start of September, adding to what was already a complicated and long going situation. 
     We can only thank Dave and Evelyn to have welcomed us within their Tramyard family for the short few months we were with them in Dalkey, and cannot speak highly enough of their dedication and hard work. A page is turned however, and even though it is not our wrong doing, we had to shut a shop that we thought was going to do very well in the future. We also wish Dave & co the very best in the months to come.
     But we are strong cookies!!! While it is a set back it's not the end of our baking world!!! It's business, and if it was easy everybody would do it .... We will start to look for possible premises for a 2nd shop in the new year.
     We have started to look at joining a second market on Sundays and maybe another lunch time one during the week, so we are concentrating on that for the time being. 

So we are hiring!!! 
Please spread the word and get in touch if you or someone you know might be interested:

click to enlarge

     We haven't had much time to breathe with all that *as always anyway*, and were grateful to have some fantastic orders to fulfill,here are some of our favourites:


Croquembouche!!!


Giant purple macaron ...


Black Forest "a la Armelle's Kitchen"


layered genoises with raspberry & vanilla buttercreams ...


Cake pop fun ;-)


These were a lot of fun to make :-))

And I'll leave you with these since you know ...
The big "C" is already next month and I've updated the page ... 
(PS: we made those a couple of weeks ago for a corporate event, 
it's starting early this year!!!)



Be happy and keep baking =^.^=













Saturday 3rd of September

The summer is over ... 

    The what ?!?? already ?!?? 
Ah well, time for fresh ideas then ;-) We have started to play with agar agar to make a range of new tartes and tartlets that we now call Tartes Royales ( and maybe other things but say nothing for now ... *might involve Champagne*). 

The assembling is a delicate operation ... shortcrust base then pastry cream...then just flip over the jelly ... *simples*



Et voila!!!

Vanilla, rum and raspberry jelly with lemon buttercream Tarte Royale


And other versions:



Royales Tartlets with passion fruit jelly and caramel buttercream:




Have a jelly good week end!!!


What's Happening

Wednesday 13th of July 2016


   Here we go !!! 
   We have selected our 3 favourite photos, and it is now up to you lovely people to decide which one is the best and will win the competition we ran for the Laya City Spectacular week end (details in previous post) ... 



#akphoto1

#akphoto2

#akphoto3


   So this is where it's going to be a bit technical, to be as fair as possible to the 3 finalists ...so pay attention! ;-) 

    We will share one post on Facebook with #armelleskitchen 
https://www.facebook.com/ArmellesKitchen/


   For Instagram and Twitter, we will post the photos one by one with #armelleskitchen for each, and #akphoto1, #akphoto2, #akphoto3 so they can be found once they go down the timeline...
https://www.instagram.com/armelleskitchen/?hl=en
https://twitter.com/armelleskitchen


  All you have to do is like the photo you like the best. Of course retweets and shares are welcome, as long as the photos are liked directly (not the post or tweet) so we keep track!
Simples!!!


Get voting to pick your favourite, 
thank you very very much for participating everyone!!!
   
You have until Sunday 17th midnight to vote, 
winner will be announced next week ;-)



Friday 1st of July 2016

     You know the way we update our "What's happening" page and start by what's actually been happening, and then we tell you what's going to happen ???
Well this time we're doing it the other way around .... because ...

We want to give one of those away .... !!!!



(Not that exact one, it's already been eaten ... )

       We are taking part in the Laya City Spectacular on Merrion Square in Dublin next week end, and we thought ....you know what? 
Let's use that to make someone happy and have a bit of fun along the way ;-)

So here is how it will work*:

During the festival, take a photo with whatever you use to take pictures nowadays, of either: some of our pastries/cakes/macarons, one of us in action serving, our display, MrK bending down, the tartlet you just dropped on the ground by mistake, a random stranger eating one of our macarons.....
These are just examples , feel free to go mad ;-)))

Post that photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #armelleskitchen
Don't forget the #, this is how we will be able to gather all the entries !!!
If you are on neither of those 3 platforms, we will accept an email with the photo  attached of course.

The Laya City Spectacular is on Fri 8th, Sat 9th and Sun 10th, we will be there from 12pm till 8pm each day.

After Sunday evening, we will select the 3 photos we like the best. We will then give you lovely people the final vote, and you can decide which will be the winning photo.

The prize is a pyramid of 5 levels of macarons (That's 65 macarons), sitting on a 3 layers cake with proper French buttercream, 
flavours and colours to be chosen by the winner ;-) 

Because of logistics and where we are based obviously, we can only take entries where the delivery of the cake will be in Co.Dublin or Co.Kildare, or outside of those counties if the winner can pick it up (We can't post it like!!)
The prize will be valid for one year from Sunday 10th, and the winner will be able to chose when they would like to have it, as long we have a couple of weeks notice in advance, we will then make it to order of course ;-)

* Terms & Conditions & Common Sense apply


So that's for the "What's happening next week" bit  .... 

Dot ... Dot ... Dot ... 

Otherwise, here is what has been happening in photos:

The Wedding season is in full swing, and we love it!!!








Our newly opened shop in Dalkey is doing well 
and we are now serving ice cream too ;-)




And then with the nicer weather come the special events we like to do ... 
*spot the bakers*






See you at the 
Laya City Spectacular in Dublin!!!
Can't waaaiiiittttttt!!!!!

#armelleskitchen


Here is the link for all the info about the festival: Laya City Spectacular 2016





Wednesday 6th of April 2016

    Welcome to our monthly 
"what's happening in our cake world" fun ;-)

Talking of fun, March brought loooots of it:





And it also brought its own challenges of course ... ;-)



Bring on April, we're ready for you!!!


     We have a lot going on this month ...  

- Starting with taking a stall at the Whitewater shopping Centre in Newbridge tomorrow Thursday 7th of April and Friday 8th to celebrate their 10th Birthday. Happy Birthday Whitewater!!!

- We will also be taking part in the Bank of Ireland enterprise week end in Kilcullen on Friday the 22nd of April. 

- And we are also taking a stall at Kevin Dundon's cookery demo on the 28th of April in the Westgrove Hotel in Clane.

We will share more details as we get them, both on our facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/ArmellesKitchen/ )and twitter accounts ( https://twitter.com/armelleskitchen , https://twitter.com/kennyrorie )  keep following!! 


April already started with some fantastic news:


We are delighted to be selected as finalists in the SME Awards in the 3 following categories:
- Family run business
- Retailer (with mostly offline focus)
- Food & Drink - Micro to small SME (Sponsored by Irish Food Tours)

The SME Awards are sponsored by Blacknight Solutions, the whole list of the finalists can be found here:

The winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony presented by Rick O'Shea in the Radisson Hotel, Little Island in Cork on Saturday the 16th of April at 8pm.
Wish us luck!!!

You can follow #LoveSMEs on Twitter for the latest updates ;)


Keep Baking !!!



Whats Happening

Wednesday 9th of March 2016





Paddy's Day is around the corner...!!!





   Both our shops in Kilcullen (normal hrs) and Dalkey (10 to 5pm) will be open on the day-don't forget that there is a parade in Kilcullen this year!!

   Here is a little clue about some of the cakes we will have next week...

Pot of gold

Paddy's hat cake



   And of course  ... ... ... ... ... 


Irish Flag Macaron
   We will be doing a full range of cakes for the day, check out Twitter and Facebook for a sneaky peek at whats baking!


   After that it's already Easter...!

   For the first time we will be doing Easter Logs....yes you read right :-)

   Rolled sponge with French Buttercream and Easter decorations.
(We can also do them gluten free, just ask when ordering ;)


Easter Log

   They are 20cm or about 6 to 8 slices, we will be doing them in a choice of Vanilla, Lemon, Chocolate, Praline or Raspberry (€18 each)-Order early to avoid disappointment....

   Obviously we will be entering Easter decoration madness...We are already working on ideas to do a whole bunch of mini cakes at their usual price of €2 each




Bunny mini cake

Chick mini cake







   Have a good week!!!!!














Whats happening

Thursday 11th of February 2016


It's almost Valentine's Day!

Valentine Heart Macarons

For the macaron lover in your life we are doing heart shaped ones this week ... 
We have more treats on the way 
but we can't tell you just yet ...
Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook!!!


Last weekend we opened our second shop in Dalkey (Whoo Hoo!)

Our very first customers were Siobhan (@carnsoreboxer) and her friend Mary who braved the weather on their cycles to come over and say hello and wish us luck with the new shop

Bonjour Ladies!!! ;)
It looks lovely in the evening ;)

View from the new shop over the Tramyard

Jane, Armelle and I would like to send you all a Big THANK YOU!!! 
for your continued support 
and lovely wishes as we move forward ;-)










What's happening

Friday 22nd of January



We're opening a 2nd shop!!!

     If you are following us on Twitter or on Facebook, you already know the news obviously, as we have been keeping everybody waiting to hear the location of the new opening ... 



*Drumrolls*

We're opening by The Tramyard 
in Dalkey!!! (Co.Dublin)




It's a beautiful spot and we're really looking forward to meeting everybody over there!

 Friday 5th of February!!!

We will then be there on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. We will keep on doing the baking in our kitchen in Kilcullen, in the hopes of rearranging the shop by The Tramyard in Dalkey in the coming weeks as we go along, to be able to do the decorating over there too.


So the pinking out has started ... !!!







More photos to come very soon ;-)

To whet your appetite, here is the link to The Tramyard 's website:


Thank you for your continued support ;-)