For centuries, baking enthusiasts and pastry chefs have been laminating their doughs with butter in order to obtain a flaky, buttery pastry, such as a great croissant or Mille-Feuille that’s deceptively airy and light, with many beautiful crispy layers.
The secret behind to such pastries? Great butter. Pastry appreciation is a growing passion in Kenya, taking from European influences and more discerning palettes. However, Kenya is still a butter backwater.
In Kenya, butter is just butter. It’s a dairy commodity that comes salted or unsalted, the same from supermarket shelf to shelf. With less variety and quality than nearly any other food-loving nation, most professional kitchens resort to importing and putting up with the high costs. Here, you will not find locally produced extra dry butter sheets required for baking or fragrant and seasonal butters made from summer’s milk.
Elle et Vire launches in Kenya
Storied French dairy brand Elle et Vire launched their product offering into the Kenyan market, in the presence of visiting renowned chef Christian Guillut, at the fittingly chosen venue, the Residence of France in Nairobi, Kenya, on Wednesday.
The venue, where great parties are hosted like the upcoming Bastille Day, and more recently where industrialist Chris Kirubi received his Legion of Honour (Chevalier) in an intimate ceremony, served as a waterhole for some of Nairobi’s culinary glitterati and notable chefs.
“Suuuuubliiiiime,” chef Christian Guillut commentated jovially as he poured his whipped cream into a pastry bag during his cooking demonstration. The room of chefs erupted in laughter.
And it was quite sublime. The carefully piped cream sat on top of meringues filled with a strawberry sauce – airy, light, and delightful sweet morsels of decadence. My favourite of the evening was the Mille-Feuille, literally, a thousand leaves. This magnificent pastry is as delicious as it looks: a gorgeous composition of flaky, golden puff pastry laced with whipped cream.
Elle et Vire, including Kenya, is now in 121 countries, and with its product range of butters, creams and yoghurts will elevate our pastry appreciation and bring a little of French culture into the country’s culinary experiences.
Look out for a sudden boom of croissants in a café near you!