Origin - Frédéric Cassel talks about it best
"The Origin of a product is often all about meeting people."
Frédéric, if I say the word “Origin”, what do you think of?
I think of terroir and producers. I have been working with local producers for almost 20 years now. Today, it is trendy, but we have always done so. I believe in encounters. When you listen to people, something happens. And that is what is fantastic in our profession.
And what does Terroir signify for you?
I learned to bake with my grandmother. We’d go out into the garden, pick pears, strawberries, raspberries. So, Terroir was there. A perfectly ripe fruit that imparts all of its flavour to a tart, now that’s important. The same goes for chocolate. I had never picked a cocoa pod in my life, but when you have held one in your hand, you start to talk about chocolate in a different way. Cream too. As a child, every day after school, I would go get cream in a 5-litre can from the milkman up the road. When I reflect on all that, I think of how important it is and needs to be passed on. Because the younger generations don’t always know where their products come from.
You were talking about encounters…
Yes. For example, about twenty years ago, I met someone who produced hazelnuts. He came knocking on our door, he told me how he produced them. They were fresh hazelnuts, nothing like those you buy in a bag. And that man made me want to work with his hazelnuts. They lent a certain freshness to my St Honoré, made the praliné lighter than a classic one. And he was a local producer. And now, I’ve found a raspberry producer who is 20 kilometres away. I think that’s fantastic. She doesn’t have a car to get around, but that’s not a problem, we go pick them up.
As for Elle & Vire Professionnel® Excellence Cream, what does it add to your St Honoré?
It gives it silkiness, a fresh, cloudlike texture. And of course, it comes from Normandy and we prefer to work with producers who are as close to us as possible. When a customer buys a dessert from our shop, we explain where the products come from. That the cream was made in Normandy, that the hazelnuts are local, that the products we use don’t come from far away. We aim to be clear about and accountable for what we sell, because it is important to know the origin of the products.