European cream is proclaimed la crème de la crème for pastry chefs in a marketing drive promoting the quintessential ingredient in Hong Kong. One of France’s most celebrated pastry chefs, Frédéric Madelaine,  headlines the campaign by the CNIEL Cream Association, supported by the European Union.

The chef-owner of Le Pommier  presented a workshop on how to prepare an innovative recipe of Chinese chicken éclair. The CNIEL-EU promotion will continue with training workshops for students at the Hong Kong Vocational Training Council this December.

To provide the market a more intensive understanding of European cream, a bilingual booklet is also being launched, for distribution to cooking schools, chefs as well as distributors, featuring useful facts and recipes using European dairy products.

The brochure focuses on the classic St. Honoré cake, named for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, invented in 1847 at the Chiboust bakery on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. It features recipes for the iconic dessert from three renowned French chefs – Yann Couvreur, Claire Damon and Cedric Grolet – and nine Asian chefs who were invited to create recipes incorporating an ingredient considered part of their local gastronomic culture. The regional chefs included Jeffery Koo from Hong Kong, who matched the richness of European cream with the subtlety of matcha.

Cream, in all of its forms, is one of the key ingredients in European cuisine, bringing flavour and a soft consistency to dishes and accompanying sauces. It adds value to pastry making, and produces greater and firmer volume than others when whipped.

European cream is also whiter than mikier-coloured rivals, making its UHT whipping cream and crème fraîche (soured double cream) perfect for white-coloured desserts such as mousse and ice-cream. Low-fat European cream has also been developed for soups and sauces, adapting to modern dietary trends for ‘lighter’ cuisine – although cream is, in fact, the least fatty and calorific of all fats.

“Today’s trends tend to lighten recipes, while still maintaining a full-bodied, clean sense of indulgence,” said Laurent Damiens, CNIEL head of communication.

“Although cream, whether single or double, is in fact the least fatty and calorific of all types of fats, containing two to three times less than fat than oil or butter.”

“As the Asia market gains more knowledge about European dairy products, we are expecting continued strong growth,” added Damiens.

CNIEL, the French Dairy Interbranch Organization (the umbrella organization for the dairy industry), was founded in 1973 by the country’s milk producers and processors. The Organisation aims to meet two key objectives; to facilitate relations between dairy producers and processors and to promote a positive image of the country’s milk and dairy products.

More about European Cream

Generally, “Cream“ is defined as the substance (milk fat) that results from the skimming of whole milk. According to France’s current regulation (decree of 23 April 1980), Cream should have at least 30g of butterfat per 100g while low-fat cream must contain at least 12g of butterfat per 100g. The term “cream” is not authorised for anything below these percentages.

Cream and low-fat cream always undergo heat treatment (pasteurization or sterilization), with the exception of raw cream. The label “fresh cream” means that the cream has been pasteurized: there is no obligation to mark “pasteurized”. Sterilized creams cannot be called “fresh cream”.

The Cream Family

Several criteria are used to distinguish different types of cream: conservation treatments, fat content and consistency (liquid or thick). Differences in these criteria produce a wide range of products, which are listed below.

Raw Cream

Raw cream has been used for many generations. Neither pasteurized nor sterilized, this cream is the direct product of skimming, chilled and stored at 6°C. It is liquid for the first few days, sweet and with a higher fat content than other creams. “Raw” must be mentioned in labelling.

Pasteurized Fresh Single Cream

Liquid and sweet, this cream has not been fermented but is pasteurized. It is more fragile than sterilized milk. Restaurant chefs like this cream for its ability to expand (once beaten, it becomes light and voluminous like Chantilly cream).

Pasteurized Fresh Double Cream

Matured cream. After pasteurization, it is cooled to 6-7°C then inoculated with lactic ferments from very aromatic, highly acid creams. The cream becomes thick and acidic with a stronger flavour.

Sterilised Liquid Cream

Once packaged, raw cream is sterilized at 115°C for 15-20 minutes, then cooled. Sterilization does not allow fermentation so the cream remains liquid. Since the process induces a cooked or caramel flavour, UHT cream is preferred to this cream.

UHT Cream

Raw cream is sterilized at 145-150°C for two seconds, then cooled rapidly. Its nutritional, tasty and functional properties are preserved.