Discover Benelux | Food & Drink | A Taste of the Netherlands
Tailor-made toppings TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS: ALLDRA
Ever wondered about the festive sprinkles on your doughnut, the colourful hundreds and thousands on your chocolates, or the joyous little pink and blue pearls on your liquorice allsorts? Discover Benelux takes you to the Dutch town of Almelo to find out all about the celebratory little sweets that really top off your treats. Chances are you will at one time or another have enjoyed the sweet toppings produced at the state-of-the-art Alldra factory in Almelo. Recently acquired by Belgian sugar manufacturer Iscal, Alldra turn out a whopping five million kilos of these colourful decorations every year, which they export around the world. “We produce toppings for a range of large 26 | Issue 50 | February 2018
global manufacturers of confectionery, cakes, doughnuts, chocolates and ice cream,” says Alldra’s managing director Coen Louwerse. “But we make large quantities for home baking as well - decorations such as coloured sprinkles and silver balls. So you’ll also find us on the supermarket shelves.” Every single ball, pearl and nonpareil they produce at Alldra is built around one single sugar crystal. “Just like the granulated sugar crystals you have at home,” Coen explains. “But because these crystals are square, the first thing we need to do is make them round.” This is done in large, rotating kettles, which smooth off the crystals before they are covered with thin layers of glucose and starch or sugar
powder. “It’s just like rolling a snowball, only in this case it’s a tiny one and we produce thousands and thousands of them each day.”
Experience Still, the production of these tiny balls, pearls and nonpareils is only half the story. Although most of Alldra’s 40-strong team work on the production side of the business, they are more than just a manufacturing company. They also help their customers to develop new products. “The basic product we make is white, so we need to add colour as well as flavourings, fragrance and texture to match the product the toppings are used for,” Coen explains. “And that’s where our extensive expertise really comes to the fore. Our
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