Since it was founded in 2016, the Crème Brulée Festival, the brainchild of fine foods brand Paul Lafayet - Pâtisserie Française, has become a much-anticipated gourmet event in Hong Kong. For the 2021 edition last May, sales increased by 20%.
"Crème brulée has been our signature dessert since the brand was created — in Hong Kong alone, we sell about 200,000 per year — so we wanted to celebrate this typically French dessert," explains Merwann Younes, co-founder of the family-owned French luxury brand founded in Hong Kong in 2010 and present in mainland China for five years.
The originality of its packaging has a significant impact on the brand’s success and its best seller, made with French crème fraîche, Madagascar vanilla and cane sugar. “In China, packaging is a strong symbol of social values, especially when it comes to gifting. During the major holidays — Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day — like most luxury brands, we put considerable effort into the research and design of our packaging and collaborate with a variety of local and western illustrators to create festive, highly visual collections," notes Younes.
For the 2021 edition of the Crème Brulée Festival, vouchers allowed consumers to purchase two desserts for the price of one but also to acquire a limited-edition collection of teacups and saucers crafted in fine china. "Every year we offer a collection of gifts to our festival-goers. In 2020 we produced candleholders. This year, the theme was tea time," explains Younes. Four different models were created by French illustrator Emilie Sarnel, who was also behind the design of the brand’s macaroon box for Chinese New Year 2021.
These collector’s editions recall the Chinese ceramic ramekin, in which the crème brulée is sold throughout the year. The material is widely used across China, but surprisingly little in the food industry. For several years now, the brand has operated a recycling campaign for all of its ceramic containers. "When customers bring back used ramekins to our stores, they get macaroons or a pastry of their choice in exchange. In other words, an ideal combination of gourmand and sustainable!"