Yann Duytsche – pronounced dutchie – has his own boutique in Sant Cugat del Vallès, 20 km from Barcelona. This patissier, chocolatier and artist enthuses with sweet flavours and ingredients. In 2006, after spending many years travelling the world as an expert on chocolate and author of the book 'Diversions Sucrés', Yann decided that the time was ripe to return to his hometown and create his own brand. Read here a few excerpts from our fascinating interview with him (2016) about his brand: Dolç. And be inspired by his Passion!
Why start a business in your hometown?
"The most important thing for me was identifying with the region. I am Catalan, and Dolç literally means 'sweet’, but Dolç goes much further than this. It also represents sympathy, tenderness, and warmth. You say 'sweetie' to your loved ones as well, and that’s something I would like to convey. You shouldn’t be afraid to give a name an added dimension."
Why did you not just use your own name?
“I make the connection between my own name on the one hand (that no one can correctly pronounce or spell) and something that has now become a brand on the other. Customers come to 'Dolç' or talk about 'Dolç', but never about Yann Duytsche. We have also started integrating the brand and the logo into packaging, chocolate bars and other means of communication. We also started making ice cream, and we did this under my name: Gelat by Yann Duytsche. 'Gelat' is Catalan for ice cream.”
Why exactly do you mean by ‘Gastronomie sucrée’?
"The idea is that you let the style and way of working that is common in the world of gastronomy inspire your patisserie. The aesthetics or assembly of a creation is important, but so is the idea of finishing off plates or cakes at the last minute, just before serving them to the customer. The millefeuille that the customer eats at 3 p.m. shouldn’t be made before 1 p.m.”
How do you go about your creative process?
“My style? Preferably tasteful with a simple design. Shiny glazing, a decorative chocolate ball, not too far-fetched, not too sophisticated. No unnecessary layers of cream or coulis as a filling. I actually want to go even further and highlight fillings, flavours and textures on the cake. You should never be afraid to think outside the box."
“Pastries such as Tarte tatin, Sachertorte, Pannetone, Millefeuille will never fall out of favour, but it should always be possible to come up with a version 2.0. My own creations from 5 or 8 years ago also get a makeover, without really tinkering too much with the flavours and combinations.”
Maximum of four ingredients
"I love the taste of banana. What goes well with it, what is associated with this flavour, which memories? Which aromas combine well with banana: hazelnut, milk chocolate, pear? And so you start to develop an aromatic creation from just three, maximum four ingredients that go well together. Then you can add some 'freshness' with Sichuan pepper or caramel."
Involve your customers in your story
“Entice customers with a simple creation that takes them on a journey. One way of doing this is to use ingredients’ reputations in the right way. For that you must of course find the best ingredients and develop your own style. Dare to make combinations that are not always obvious but that also don’t put people off. It’s all about creating your own signature."
"As I said, you have to take the customers with you on your journey. An example? Things like Madagascan vanilla planifolia and Caribbean and Papouasie (Papua New Guinea) dark chocolate sound very exotic if you use these types of terms to describe your cakes. Just as with wine growers and wineries, we are starting to see 'terroir' chocolates continue to evolve and develop. The knowledge is better; cultivation, processing, harvesting and fermentation have all become much more sophisticated. This, in combination with selected plant cultures, will definitely produce other distinctive chocolates. This is a good thing, because, with the right knowledge and communication, you can pass on those flavours to your customers.
I have enormous admiration for Pierre Hermé and Frédéric Bau. But my message is: develop your own style!”
Tip: his ‘One Week with Yann Duytsche’ was released at the end of 2017. Check it out and discover 65 of his creations!
Creation: Yann Duytsche
A creation that perfectly illustrates the philosophy of Dolç; a combination of Sacher sponge, passion fruit crémeux, Pur Caraïbe chocolate mousse, crème anglaise and cacao glaze.
Download the recipe for this top creation here and be inspired by a master.