Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What is the Kouign Amann? A Primer....

What is the Kouign Amann?

There is a little, French pastry that is gaining real traction the United States bakery world and that pastry is the Kouign Amann.   Fans of this delicacy will attest that once you have tasted it you are hooked for life.  While everyone who has tasted this extraordinary delight agrees that it is first rate, there are still many questions consumers have about the product.  Here is all you need to know:

How do you pronounce the name?

In a recent sales tour of NYC I was amazed to discover that nearly 100% of the merchants, food experts, and consumers were completely unable to pronounce the pastry's name.  It is actually quite simple, the correct, phonetic pronunciation is "Kween a-mon".  Once you get past trying to sound it out and know the actual pronunciation it is easy.

What does Kouign Amann mean?

It derives its meaning from the Breton, or Celtic words for Butter Cake.   So as we uncover more about the name of the product we are also learning more about why it is so tasty.

What is the Kouign Amann?

It is a slow baked, round, crusty, cake made with bread dough and containing layers of fine french butter and sugar.  The slow baked process causes the dough to puff up and the sugar to caramelize resulting in a sweet, buttery, decadent little pastry.

Is this a new creation?

While the pastry is just coming to the attention of many in the United States it has been around since the 1860's in the western part of France, where it was created, and has been a specialty there since that time. 

Where can I get my hands on this exciting treat?

This pastry is available through the finest bakeries in the United States, like the NYC's world famous Davidovich Bakery.  The product can be found throughout NYC and the New York Metropolitan area at Whole Foods Market in the Bakery section


Monday, May 20, 2013

Danbury Welcomes Whole Foods and Davidovich Bakery

Danbury Welcomes Whole Foods and Davidovich Bakery

Danbury, Connecticut welcomed Whole Foods and the Davidovich Bakery to their town on Friday May 17, 2013 with the grand opening of a new Whole Foods Market at the former site of the Marcus Dairy.  This event kicked off with the ceremonial "bread breaking", a Whole Foods tradition which marks the opening of every new location and symbolizes their communal philosophy and their commitment to the communities in which they break ground and break bread.  This location of Whole Foods, among it's other contributions, proudly boasts the addition of 175 jobs to the Danbury community during uncertain economic times.

Davidovich Bagels at Danbury, WF
Davidovich Bakery, as one of the premiere Whole Foods vendors, providing it's world famous hand made, kettle boiled, plank baked, double seeded, all natural Davidovich Bagels as well as Artisan cookies and the best French pastries in the world, attended the opening.  Davidovich's CEO, Gene Davidovich, attended the event personally to congratulate the Whole Foods team on their latest accomplishment, and to meet and greet the public and introduce them to Davidovich's growing line of world famous, gourmet products.

When asked about the store opening, Davidovich's CEO commented, "We have a long history in this region with the Whole Foods family and it's discerning customers.  Our partnerships are forged with retailers who believe in providing the best, possible food products to their customers at the fairest prices."
Davidovich Pastries at Danbury WF

Davidovich Turnovers at WF Danbury

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Davidovich Bakery to Showcase at 2013 Fancy Food Show in NYC

Davidovich Bakery at Summer 2013 Fancy Food Show
                  By Katherine Sabal

This Summer, Davidovich Bakery will be a returning vendor at the Summer 2013 Fancy Food ShowDavidovich Bakery has been a proud member of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) since 2010. Last summer, Davidovich Bakery was recipient of an all-expense paid trip and city sponsored booth by NYCEDC as one of just a few selected winners to represent NYC-based food manufacturers at the show.

Now, the words “fancy” and “bagel” might not necessarily cross paths in your mind, or anyone’s mind for that matter, but being able to present a bakery's products at this biannual event is always a great honor.   It means that a bakery's product line is recognized as the specialty food that it is.

Specialty food, according to the NASFT (organizer of the Fancy Food Show), is food that exemplifies “quality, innovation, and style.” Specialty food derives its nature from “ authenticity, ethnic or cultural origin, specific processing, ingredients …” So, pretty much everything that you’re getting when you enjoy the authenticity of a Davidovich bagel, a bagel that is always made with quality ingredients the good old-fashioned way – hand rolled, kettle boiled and baked on wooden boards.  Davidovich is renowned for insuring that a treat first brought over by Polish immigrants remains a greatly satisfying and overall good product.

So, if you can, come by and see Davidovich Bakery at this summer’s Fancy Food Show. You can find us as All Natural Products at Booth 171.  Davidovich Bakery will be there with more than 2,000 of our peers who all make great specialty products like hand rolled pasta from Al Dente Pasta of Michigan, syrups from Morris Kitchen of Brooklyn, and salumi from Charlito’s Cocina of New York. Or if you can’t make it to the Javitz Center in NYC on June 30th – July 2nd, you can always visit the Fancy Food Show website and browse through the vendors using the advanced product finder search tool for any kind of product that you might be interested in.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Davidovich vs. Dunkin Donuts Update-One Year Later

Davidovich vs. Dunkin Donuts Update-One Year Later

As many readers may recall, it was a little over a year ago when Dunkin Donuts rolled out it's National Ad campaign introducing it's "Artisan Bagels".  Although it quickly became evident that most viewers recognized that the products produced by Dunkin Donuts may be a lot of things, but they are not Artisan, we refused to allow this deceptive campaign to go unanswered.

Our first step was to reach out to Dunkin Donuts Corporate Headquarters and address our grievances.  We pointed out that we are aware that their fully automated production process can hardly be called Artisan.  Artisan, by its definition means, among other things "...high quality, distinctive product(s) made in small quantities...by hand and using traditional methods" (Dictionary.com).  Bakers like Davidovich Bakery, Bread Alone, and the Peter Pan Donut Shop are, by their very definition and practice, Artisan Bakers.  We also explained to them that by misleading, or confusing the public by claiming they were Artisan when they are not, they were devaluing  the most sacred assets Artisan Bakeries around the world cling to; their mark of distinction.  This is why, we argued, they must cease using this term improperly.  Dunkin Donuts did not even bother to reply to us.

We could have simply let it go; done nothing.  We could have hoped the campaign would fade away, or no one would take it seriously, but the stakes were too high.   As Artisan Bakeries we have made the choice to adhere to traditional methods and use manual labor in the production of our products at a great cost because we believe our methods produce a more genuine and better product.   For that sacrifice we get the privilege of calling ourselves Artisan.  Dunkin Donuts, obviously, understands the value of this moniker or they wouldn't have spent millions of dollars trying to convince the public that their bagel products were Artisan.  So we had no choice but to proceed to address our grievances.  

In April, 2012 we filed Complaints with the following agencies:

The Massachusetts Attorney General immediately passed on this case, indicating that they would "watch for a pattern of complaints..".   Being that Dunkin Donuts is a large taxpayer and employer in Massachusetts, I was not surprised. 

The Deceptive Advertising Division of The Better Business Bureau reached out to Dunkin Donuts and illicited the following response from Dunkin Donuts:

  "The word artisan, which has been used by other retailers ...is a common term used to describe quality food...We therefore believe it is a fair and appropriate word to describe the line of bagels featuring our new recipe.  As the number one retailer of bagels in America, we believe the word "artisan" underscores our long heritage of bagel innovation and leadership(4/24/2012)".

So, in plain English, they are suggesting that the fact that other retailers improperly use the term gives them blanket permission to do the same.  Furthermore, as the purported number one seller of bagels they, somehow, have the right to ascribe new meanings to English language words to meet their advertising considerations.   What was striking in their response, besides the sense of entitlement, was the fact that they never once suggested that they were, in fact, Artisans in their own defense.  This is because they clearly recognize that position is indefensible.

Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau has no authority to enforce any administrative actions.  They simply try to mediate a voluntary resolutions between parties.  In this case Dunkin Donuts had invested millions of dollars on an advertising campaign and were not prepared to voluntarily back down and neither were we.

The NYS Attorney General's Office referred our complaint to The Department of Agriculture and Markets.   While they agreed with our definition of the term Artisan, they issued this finding on April 2, 2013 "...until such time that the definition is incorporated into regulation, we are unable to take any action for what be perceived as an improper use of the term."  They, additionally, found that any action might be more properly within the purview of the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission is still "investigating" our complaint for deceptive advertising practices and, after one year, has not issued any formal ruling.  It would not shock me if they ruled similarly to New York State or to Massachussetts.  This inaction by governmental agencies has emboldened our cause and has lead to our next course of action.  

At every step along the way, we have chosen to forge ahead in this fight because we are passionate about what we do and we will not allow our hard work to be redefined by parties who chose to alter the language through deceptive practices designed to confuse the public about the true nature of our products an our processes.  We have been affirmed and re-affirmed by Artisan Bakers all around the world who have written to us to thank us for standing up for them and having their voice be heard in this cause.    (http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-may-1-2012/back-in-black---artisanal-foods?xrs=share_copy )  We have formed the Artisan Preservation Society and we have reached out to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) to ask him to spearhead the movement towards a Federal Artisan Certification program.  We envision this program to be modeled after the Organic Certification program, providing Federal standards to manufacturers and giving assurance to the consumer public that when they see the word Artisan associated with a product that it truly is an Artisan product. We await a response from Sen. Schumer.  Regardless of his response, we will proceed with this cause.  We will not grow weary.  We will not falter.  We intend to stand up for Artisans everywhere and let the world know our work has meaning and purpose.

Stay Tuned...