“Depth and personality” are two essential elements for the Belgian master chocolatier Pierre Marcolini (1964) who, to the “savoir faire” of the Belgian chocolate tradition, adds his commitment to sustainability and ethics, keys, as he explains, to be recognized as the ‘Best pastry chef in the world‘.
Marcolini recently received this award, granted by the World Pastry Stars 2020, and which comes at a key moment: “With the current climate of the COVID pandemic, they are hard times, difficult, but this has given us a bit of light and clarity, and that does well “, says the master chocolatier in an interview with Efe.
It is an award granted, he points out, “to your career, to the vision you have of pastry making and what it will be like in the 21st century” because, according to Marcolini, the current bakery talks “about how we want to be, of how we want to make our chocolate, he speaks of taste “, but also” there is an ethic “and this, in his opinion, has been a fundamental value to become the best in the world.
“Today, we pastry chefs are committed to reducing the amount of sugar, remove a part of the alcohol, work with local products instead of having butter that comes from nobody knows where, or use a sustainable flour “, he emphasizes.
Ensures that this is the prevailing trend, a confectionery that is increasingly aware, responsible “and with a vision of the future”, which rejects plantations where there may be child exploitation because, regrets, “today, in the world there are more than 2 million children who work in cocoa plantations (…) people look the other way, but it’s a reality. ”
A cocoa with depth
Its hallmark is a deep chocolate: “I like it a lot when I have finished chewing the chocolate and it accompanies me”, explains the pastry chef, “when persistence of taste stays in the mouth“.
For the master chocolatier, a good chocolate has personality, “like the one we make”, “with well-selected cocoa” that you use “the minimum of sugar and, above all, to lengthen it enormously in the mouth“” I can’t give all the secrets, “jokes the renowned Belgian pastry chef.
His know-how has been polished during his 25-year career, although his passion for pastry began long before. “When I was 9 or 10 years old, I had already exchanged my toys, my fire engine, my police car, my plane … for desserts,” explains Marcolini, who assures that At 14 he already decided that he would make it his profession. “And now I live my passion, I am happy for it, I adore the world of sweets,” he says.
That child probably never imagined that his chocolate, in addition to Belgium, would be tasted in Japan or China, through France, the United Kingdom, Dubai, Hawaii, Luxembourg and Germany, countries where the Belgian businessman has his stores . Until Tokyo arrived without “a financial plan or a strategy”, as it explains, but, when it had the opportunity to open in Japan, the main obstacle to overcome was the transportation process and that was precisely what served as a springboard for the world. “We are capable of having exceptional quality, with a process that allows us to move it to 10,000 kilometers”, Marcolini remarks, “then we started to grow.”
A universal product
Chocolate is “a universal product”: “In Spain, in Europe, in Belgium it is part of our history” and, however, in other places where the chocolate tradition does not have the same roots, once in the mouth ” it’s the same process, our faces light up“, states the pastry chef. But his work, he assures, is not easy, and the whole process passes through his hands, from the seed to the final piece.
“Cocoa beans are part of my profession, but also dried fruits, almonds, walnuts from Piedmont in Italy”, explains the master chocolatier, who clarifies that, in addition to trying to extract “the maximum aroma” from cocoa, his job is “also to make the most of what nature gives us”.
In addition, the creation process culminates with the most creative part, a work with the pieces that is reflected in different collections and that generates added pressure: “we have clients who are very demanding, who every year ask ‘Come on, Pierre, ¿ What will it be this year? ‘”Marcolini explained.
The award, a hope in times of COVID
Despite his success and having been recognized as the best chocolate confectioner in the world, the coronavirus has also made a dent in his business, in part, as he explains, by the decrease in tourist flows and that the coronavirus crisis has forced him to slow down: “I think it’s like when you go on a plane and it should slow down, that’s the case now, it has slowed down.”
However, this award brings “clarity” and it lands in their pastry hands at a good moment: “it does us good, Christmas is coming and we face it with a little more optimism”, he concludes.
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