The Power of Plain

The Power of Plain

The Power of Plain

What happens when you start looking at plain yogurt as a blank canvas for creativity in the kitchen? We found the thrilling answer earlier this year on a project
for Liberté.

.
.

August 22, 2016
Text: David Rollins Photography: Rob Lee
Food Styling: Heidi Bronstein | Accessories: Karine Blackburn

 

The Power of Plain

What happens when you start looking at plain yogurt as a blank canvas for creativity in the kitchen? We found the thrilling answer earlier this year on a project for Liberté.

.

August 22, 2016
Text: David Rollins Photography: Rob Lee
Food Styling: Heidi Bronstein | Accessories: Karine Blackburn

When I was a student, living in my first apartment and eating on a shoe-string budget, the idea of a perfect dinner was a box of Triscuits, a package of sliced salami, and a container of Liberté’s lemon yogurt. It was a ‘Mediterranean’ style yogurt with a luscious 9% butterfat – this was outrageous at the time. People served it as dessert. Almost everyone I know has a Liberté conversion story of their own. Their cream cheese is the only thing any self-respecting Montrealer would spread on a bagel. And their crème fraîche is literally incomparable: it’s the only one on the market. We just love Liberté.

So it was a genuine thrill to be invited to work earlier this year on an ad campaign for Liberté. We work in advertising, and can tell you it’s a rare treat to get to work on a brand you actually love, and products that are actually part of your life. (I get fidgety if there’s less than a litre of Liberté Greek yogurt in the fridge, it’s my emergency protein.) To be clear – we were paid to produce the photos and flavour concepts we’re sharing here, but we’re not getting paid to write this post. It’s a totally spontaneous endorsement.

Their cream cheese is the only thing any self-respecting Montrealer would spread on a bagel.

A series of twelve simple portraits explores the pure perfection of ‘plain’. You can see more of them here.

One part of the campaign explored the range of Liberté’s ‘plain’ products – their sour cream, cream cheese, quark, crème fraîche, kefir, and of course their many plain yogurts. We shot a series of portraits that used a restrained colour palette and minimal styling to focus on the nuances of tone and texture in the stuff itself. We discovered that plain yogurt actually has a lot of flavour, and that different plain yogurts have very different flavours.

We discovered that different plain yogurts have very different flavours.

The idea behind the Flavour Bombs was to create surprising flavour combinations
that trigger taste memories, or tell an interesting story.

For us, the heart of the campaign was a series of 24 taste experiences we called the Flavour Bombs. We’re big proponents of the no-recipe recipe, so the basic concept was to start with plain yogurt and add pinches, smears, dashes and dollops of a handful of other ingredients, to create a simple but surprising flavour combination. And then to find a catchy name that hinted at the creation’s inspiration. The only real rule was that we were putting things ‘into’ the yogurt, rather than putting the yogurt ‘onto’ things, so that the yogurt would be the flavour vehicle, rather than just a garnish.

Some were riffs on well-known combos like strawberries and basil, mushrooms and sage, or chocolate and orange. Others played on the idea of taste memory – the Campfire was a s’more seen through the eyes of Jackson Pollock, and The Blackened Forest combined the idea of a Black Forest cake and a forest fire, with burnt cake crumbs and flaming Kirsch. Others were more conceptual: the Japanese Maple combined miso, Asian pear, walnut and maple syrup and The Bee’s Knees featured sponge toffee, honey, nasturtiums and wild fennel pollen.

We initially thought it would be tough to come up with 24 of these flavour bombs. In the end, we could have done a hundred. Such is the inspiring power of plain. You should really try it yourself: it’s as simple as smearing plain yogurt onto your favourite serving platter and then sprinkling, spilling and scattering a few of your favourite ingredients over top. It’s fun, it’s delicious, and it’s incredibly liberating.

6 Comments

  1. Such a beautiful work! Congrats to all the team!

  2. Author

    Thanks, Christelle! We had a lot of fun on this one. 🙂

  3. Glutton for Life 1 year ago

    This is literally the most beautiful and inspiring thing I have ever seen!!!!! You guys just keep getting better and better…xo

  4. Rob 1 year ago

    Thanks, Laura! We were inspired on this one. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂

    • David 1 year ago

      Thank you so much, Laura! Looking forward to news of Fish & Bicycle! xo

  5. V. 1 year ago

    Gorgeous and so tantalizing!

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