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Five Days of Training

July 27, 2018

A few weeks ago I attended a five day training course at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Banbury, UK. The main aim of the course was to introduce you to all of the facets of starting up your own business making and selling chocolate.

I absolutely loved my time at the Chocolate Academy and learnt so much. Here are some photos taken during the course.

Check out the stylish hairnets! Throughout the course, a lot of emphasis was given to observing and maintaining good hygiene standards while working with chocolate. Here is one of the lecturers (Julie Sharp) checking the temperature of the chocolate during pre-crystallization (tempering). You can also see at the bottom of the photo that we did some taste testing just beforehand, a definite perk of doing this course.

Here is a look at some of the issues that occur with chocolate when the pre-crystallization process is unsuccessful, or the chocolate has cooled too quickly, or gotten wet.

The Chocolate Academy workshop isn’t huge, but it is well stocked with everything you could possibly need to create some interesting chocolate creations.

Here is a great example of one of the creations that was made in this very room. Isn’t it pretty! Who would have thought that was made entirely out of chocolate?

One of the most interesting parts of the course for me was when we got to mess about with coloured cocoa butter and creative powders to create cool decorative effects. Here one of our other lecturers (Beverley Dunkley) is showing us how to easily temper your coloured cocoa butter.

I used a combination of tape, stickers, airbrush, Russian piping nozzles, red metallic powder and white cocoa butter to create this Easter egg. The photo does not do the shine justice. If you properly polish your moulds before casting, you can get really shiny chocolate.

Here are some of the Easter eggs created by the other students. All of them looked amazing.

It’s not all about looks however, there was a lot of taste testing over the course of the five days. Here we have a perfectly proportioned passionfruit jelly layer on-top of a chocolate ganache layer. Such a great flavour combination.

Towards the end of the course, we were let loose with some pre-made chocolate shapes as an introduction to chocolate sculptures. Here we have all the pieces required to make 3 x quirky dinosaurs.

Here are Julie and teaching assistant Clare England working as a team to create a dinosaur. The course took place during the 2018 UK heatwave so freeze spray was used liberally.

This was the dinosaur I ended up creating. I called him Doughnut.

And here is a racing car, complete with steering wheel, front splitter and spoiler.

It’s fair to say that I absolutely loved my short time at the Chocolate Academy and I can’t wait to go back again. I learnt so much but there is still so much left to learn about this mysterious thing called chocolate.


The Chocolate Academy

July 3, 2018

On the 9th of July, I will be attending a five day training course at Callebaut’s UK Chocolate Academy in Banbury –

This course focuses on all aspects of starting your own chocolate business. Here is the full itinerary:

Day 1

  • Introduction to the Chocolate Industry
  • Theoretical explanation of the journey from cocoa bean to finished chocolate bar
  • Factory Tour
  • Professional Chocolate Tasting
  • How to choose the right Chocolate for the right Application
  • Review of UK supplier contacts to assist you in Planning a Small Chocolate Business
  • Explore the Callebaut Website for Tutorials on Chocolate Techniques
  • Environmental health and trading standards guidelines

Day 2

  • Science of Tempering Chocolate Presentation
  • Ideal Working and Storage Environments
  • Identifying Common Faults within Chocolate Production
  • Hand Tempering : Table Top : Seeding : Microwave tempering
  • Practical Session covering: Chocolate Bars : Bark : Figures : Lollipops : Moulded Chocolates by Hand
  • Preparation of Fillings
  • Machine Options – First Purchase Consideration
  • Selling Tips & Negotiation Workshop

Day 3

  • Production using Automatic Tempering Machines
  • Modern Decoration Techniques using Coloured Cocoa Butters and Creative Powders
  • Short and Long Shelf Life Ganaches for Moulded and Enrobed Chocolates: including cold and hot Infusions : Science behind Ganaches
  • Chocolate Truffles Classical and Contempory Decoration
  • Traditional and Creative Easter Eggs
  • Marketing Trends Presentation

Day 4

  • Shelf Life of Chocolate Consideration
  • Parameters that affect Shelf Life
  • How to Calculate the Shelf Life of a Ganache and change it to the Shelf Life you need to meet customer expectation
  • Enrobing of Chocolates by Hand and Machine
  • Making of Chocolate Products currently on Trend
  • Group Dinner with the Academy Team
  • Insight into Human Resources considerations

Day 5

  • How to Improve your Marketing with Effective Social Media
  • Marketing Trends Presentation
  • Environmental Health and Trading Standards consideration
  • Labeling of Chocolate Boxes
  • Professional Packaging of products made over the weeks course
  • How to Store Finished Chocolates
  • Selling and Costing of Chocolates Guideline
  • Where now? One to One Business Target Consultation

This course sounds like the perfect way to turn my idea of making chocolate racing helmets into a legitimate business.