Dessert menus may have more variety than ever, but one constant is chocolate. Research shows 95% of dessert consumers choose a chocolate dessert when dining out, therefore it is important that at least half of dessert menus include desserts, cakes or pastries which are made with, or include, chocolate.
As a versatile product, chocolate-based desserts or sweet treats allow caterers to create menu options for all diets including vegan treats (using dark chocolate), seasonal offerings and desserts made with ingredients that are ethically sourced, fairly traded and offer sustainability sourced cocoa beans.
Not only is chocolate a great way to cater to all consumers but 92% of dessert consumers are also motivated to choose desserts if the chocolate content is described as ‘good quality’ or ‘Belgian’. Highlighting the quality of the chocolate in a menu description presents more opportunity to engage and convert into sales. It is genuinely valuable to describe the quality and Belgian provenance of chocolate in desserts as the majority of dessert consumers find both “Belgian” and “good quality” as appealing descriptors for chocolate desserts, using a hybrid term on menus, such as ‘made with quality Belgian chocolate’ will deliver the premium messaging that drives purchase.
CREATIVE AND INDULGENT CHOCOLATEY OPTIONS
Callebaut Chocolate is one of which is Ideal for all chocolate applications, is highly versatile and rarely needs tempering to create the desired result caterers are seeking for their dessert dishes. From indulgent sauces to hot chocolates, the Chocolate can be used in almost any way. Simply melt the chocolate Callets in the microwave for 20 seconds to create a smooth Belgian chocolate drizzle perfect for topping on cakes, pastries and ice cream sundaes, or for even more indulgence add whipping cream to create a quick and easy creamy chocolate dipping sauce. The chocolate can also be melted down with warm milk to create an indulgent hot chocolate drink or melted on its own into moulds to form chocolate bars, perfect for cross-selling with hot beverages.
TOP TIPS TO GET YOUR DESSERT OFFERING RIGHT
- Keeping your menu simple yet desirable with your best selling dessert dishes will help drive footfall.
- A balanced menu with an even offering of dishes suitable for different dietary requirements, including vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, will help make your offering all-inclusive.
- Tap into upselling opportunities by offering a Belgian chocolate dipping sauce or chocolate decorations as added extras to increase indulgence.
- Continue to offer a takeaway service for consumers who would rather dine at home and ensure your takeaway dessert menu is suitable for travel whilst still remaining indulgent.
- Promote your dessert offering via your social media accounts or with signage outside your venue.
- Create offers and deals, such as ‘Friday 2-for-1 on all desserts’ or ‘Buy a main and a dessert for £11.99’ to drive footfall.
- Seasonal offerings are a great way to increase profit margins and letting the customer know the origin of an ingredient, or that and ingredient is locally sourced, i.e. ‘Made with Real Belgian Chocolate’, will allow you to charge a premium that consumers are willing to pay for.
It’s important for caterers to adapt and evolve to suit new consumer needs as people will always enjoy and appreciate a sweet treat. With restrictions lifting and diners enjoying al fresco dining, it’s still important to dedicate time to your takeaway offering with the takeaway trend set to continue at similar levels even after all restrictions are lifted.
Not only is your takeaway menu a great way to drive further profits, but tapping into the growing trend towards plant-based menu choices will create even more opportunity to gain footfall in your venue. With more consumers participating in Veganuary in 2021 than ever before, it is clear that plant-based options are showing no signs of dropping in popularity. This growth of plant-based menus remains an important consideration for caterers and continues to influence consumer dining habits nationwide.
While only 3% of consumers in Great Britain identify as vegan, there is a wider consumer interest in plant-based options when dining out-of-home. Some 15% of today’s consumers say they would be more likely to order a dessert that is vegan and 69% would be neither more or less likely to order a dessert if it was vegan, proving that these options can appeal to the majority of diners and mean that caterers can suit many requirements with one dish.
Recognition of the growing demand for inclusive dessert options and the challenges that chefs may have when seeking plant-based or vegan inspiration, has driven more inspirational recipes that are not only vegan-friendly but still delightfully indulgent.
See below two delicious Callebaut recipes made using Dark Chocolate Callets and can easily be adapted to suit other preferences. These indulgent desserts are not only suitable for vegan diets, but also the perfect choice for the whole table to enjoy.
LEMON AND HAZELNUT CHICKPEA BLONDIES
[SUITABLE FOR VEGANS] Makes 16
The perfect sweet treat suitable for both vegan and gluten-free diets. With zingy lemon and smooth hazelnut flavours, this blondie is a perfect addition to any menu.
Approx. cost to make per portion £0.46
Suggested selling price per portion £4.95
Gross profit margin per portion 90%
200g oat flour
90g ground almond
7g baking powder
2g sea salt
zest of 1 lemon
220g brown sugar
100g Hazelnut Praline
200g cooked chickpeas
10g vanilla paste
100ml oat milk
30ml lemon juice
250g 811 Dark Chocolate Callets
- Mix together the oat flour, ground almond, baking powder, sea salt and lemon zest and set aside.
- Blitz the sugar, hazelnut praline, cooked chickpeas, vanilla paste, oat milk and lemon juice together in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and combine
- Stir through 150g of chocolate callets, pour into a 20cm frame and bake for 20 minutes at 180°C.
- Once cooled, temper the remaining 100g of chocolate and spread a thin layer on top of the blondie and cut into 5cm x 5cm squares.
CHOCOLATE BANOFFEE PIE
[SUITABLE FOR VEGANS] Serves 10
This easy-to-serve classic has been upgraded by including an extra layer of Dark Chocolate inside, adding even more taste. It’s also suitable for vegan diets so it’s a dessert the whole table can indulge in
Approx. cost to make per portion £0.89
Suggest selling price per portion £5.95
Gross profit margin per portion 85%
100g vegan butter
200g digestive biscuits
425g 811 Dark Chocolate Callets
245g vegan condensed milk alternative
450ml vegan cream
20g Mona Lisa Dark Chocolate Blossoms
- Melt the butter and leave to one side. Blitz the biscuits into crumbs and add 70g dark chocolate callets. Stir through the butter, push into an 18cm cake tin and refrigerate.
- Put the vegan condensed milk into a saucepan, bring it to the boil and cook for five minutes (reaching 112C). Add 105g chocolate and stir well. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and refrigerate.
- Slice 2 ripe bananas into 1cm pieces and place over the top of the chocolate caramel layer in a circular pattern.
- Warm 200ml vegan cream and pour over 250g chocolate callets. Mix well to a smooth ganache.
- Whisk another 250ml vegan cream until it holds itself and then stir through the dark chocolate ganache.
- To decorate, using a star nozzle, pipe swirls of the chocolate cream across the top of the banana layer.
- Sprinkle dark chocolate blossoms on top of the chocolate cream and refrigerate.