It’s been a tough old year for Patisserie Valerie. Their high-profile collapse in January due to ‘significant fraud’ saw the previous parent company, Patisserie Holdings, enter administration, with eventual buyers, Causeway Capital Partners, arriving in February to wade through the fallout amid negative headlines from the press.
But change is coming for one of Britain’s most recognisable high-street names. This week saw the unveiling of their latest menu updates, including a fresh winter season range, heralding the start of a comprehensively planned overhaul of the bakery chain’s branding.
A number of new dishes, updated blue and gold designs and refurbishments across the chain’s estate were all announced as part of the ‘future of Patisserie Valerie’.
This is the second major set of updates released by the chain this year, following on from a summer revamp in July, with the reintegration of butter into their pastries one of the main highlights.
But the latest menu update, according to Paolo Peretti, the Patisserie Valerie managing director, is “probably the biggest menu change” that he’s been involved in, touching on “about 70% of the products.”
So what have they gone with on their updated menu and what major trends are noticeable in the release?
There are two notable collaborations on the menu update, which features new sweet and savoury additions. Neal’s Yard Dairy is the first with their Ogleshield cheese being the key component to Patisserie Valerie’s new croque monsieur, which also features Wiltshire cured ham and freshly grated nutmeg.
Ogleshield, which is made exclusively from Jersey cow’s milk, is called “a perfect cooking cheese” by Neal’s Yard Dairy, which describes the flavour as gentle and deeply savoury with a soft and pliant texture.
Patissere Valerie have also created a vegetarian croque monsieur with mushrooms. While no new vegan products were unveiled yesterday, the bakery chain did release a range of plant-based cakes and vegan brunch dishes in September.
Fries are back on the menu after a noticeable absence and are now air fried so they contain 30% less fat and 30% less carbohydrates, in a nod to consumer desire for healthier tweaks.
A number of wintery dishes are also to roll out, including a smoky vegetarian chilli seasoned with cumin, chipotle and cinnamon, and a venison stew with slow-braised venison, leek and celeriac, seasoned with cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
They also have a new seasonal soup range and are launching with pumpkin soup for Halloween, served with bloomer bread.
Reshmi Bennett, executive chef of London’s Anges de Sucres bakery, has been drafted in to create six new pastries for the chain, including four eclairs (chocolate, raspberry, pistachio and coffee).
There is clear emphasis on affordable luxury here with the headline collaboration being a decadent salted caramel and chocolate bombe.
This bombe has an all-butter chocolate pastry case and is filled with salted caramel and a rich dark chocolate ganache. A chocolate cremeux dome coated in dark chocolate ganache tops it, and the new item is finished with salted caramel Swiss meringue buttercream.
There is also a winter spiced cheesecake – a twist on the Patisserie Valerie classic – featuring a biscuit crumb base using the restaurant’s secret spices and brown sugar, topped with an orange and secret spice cream cheese and finished with a white chocolate cream cheese ganache, golden candied pecans, pecan nibs and dark and white chocolate curls.
A new range of morning pastries that are baked fresh in store daily include a triple chocolate pain au chocolat.