Wieze, Belgium — Offering professionals from all backgrounds a place to learn and build chocolate-making skills, Barry Callebaut AG has opened its flagship Callebaut Chocolate Academy.
Attractions at the center include The Chocolaterie, Bakery Shop, Pastry Lab and Chef’s Table, which offer individual training spaces geared toward specific groups, depending on the finished product; The Plantation, a small-scale reproduction of a tropical forest featuring cocoa trees; Chocolate Tasting Ritual Room, where sensory specialists guide trainees through the various chocolate flavors; The Chocotorium, a 100-seat theater; A Chocolate Bar for sampling hot and cold chocolate drinks; and a Chocolate Library with a vast collection of books on chocolate and the ingredient’s potential applications.
Located next to the company’s factory, the new center joins 16 other training centers worldwide serving an anticipated 1,000 chocolate professionals annually. Currently the centers handle about 300 people a year, Callebaut reports.
Training is conducted by Callebaut chefs and “Chocolate Ambassadors,” a worldwide network of chefs with backgrounds in working with the ingredient.
Freek van der Knaap, vice-president, gourmet, western Europe, says: “The Chocolate Academy centers are unique when it comes to sharing best practices and increasing chocolate mastery. In the Chocolate Academy center, professionals will train themselves, follow courses and receive demonstrations from professionals for professionals.”