Choco­late –Re­sis­tance is Fu­tile.

DINE and Destinations - - DRINK - choco­

Ac­cord­ing to ev­ery­one, the world’s favourite food is choco­late. Take a bite. Close your eyes and feel the de­li­cious nu­ances spread in slow and sweet waves. Taste, combined with smell, pro­duces the flavours that travel di­rectly to the parts of the brain that are con­nected with sen­sory per­cep­tion. Dark, milk or white, as it slowly melts on the tongue, our brain says mmmm.

The cir­cle of per­fec­tion be­gins in the co­coa farms of East and West Africa, South Amer­ica, the Caribbean and many more re­gions. It is a process that com­bines the nur­tur­ing of na­ture with hu­man­ity, ed­u­ca­tion and pas­sion, and suc­ceeds in cre­at­ing the best pos­si­ble prod­uct, reach­ing 100 per­cent sus­tain­able choco­late in the co­coa farms since 2005.

In my quest to taste the world’s finest foods at source, I ar­rive at the Choco­late Academy Canada in time to at­tend a demon­stra­tion and tech­ni­cal class, “Cre­meries 101,” de­liv­ered by Philippe Van­cay­seele, Tech­ni­cal Direc­tor and Master Cho­co­latier. “It makes me ex­tremely happy,” says Philippe, “to share the ex­pe­ri­ences and knowl­edge I’ve gained in more than 70 coun­tries, and pass it along to peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate know­ing the cor­rect pro­ce­dures.”

Twenty five pro­fes­sion­als and re­tail­ers in the ice cream in­dus­try are here to learn how to melt pure choco­late to a silky tex­ture and dip ice cream into it, so that it hard­ens smoothly. And no less im­por­tant, how to add gold, dark choco­late or coloured sprin­kles. Philippe stirs the choco­late and adds some co­coa but­ter as he an­swers ques­tions about prepa­ra­tion and stor­age. He says, “ev­ery­one is happy when they are eat­ing choco­late.” There is a “Eureka!” mo­ment in the room, as th­ese “stu­dents” learn ex­actly how to ex­e­cute a com­plex pro­ce­dure. Most ice cream chains add paraf­fin to get the right vis­cos­ity, but for the le­gal de­scrip­tion, “cov­ered with real choco­late” only co­coa but­ter is al­lowed. I can hon­estly say that this is the first “real choco­late” cov­ered ice cream cone I have ever tasted. The flavour is ex­plo­sive— and at the risk of show­ing bad man­ners—i must have an­other.

We are in a state-of-the-art, tiered class­room with a large screen be­hind the work sta­tion. The man­date of this vast fa­cil­ity is to ed­u­cate the in­dus­try on the cor­rect way to han­dle this del­i­cate de­li­cious­ness of Ca­cao Barry and Calle­baut choco­lates and present it to the dis­cern­ing con­sumer in its most de­lec­ta­ble form. Th­ese classes en­able pro­fes­sion­als and ar­ti­sans to learn things about han­dling choco­late they hadn’t dreamed of, how to de­light their clients with new trends and also avoid costly er­rors. Choco­late can be tricky.

The Academy of­fers a cal­en­dar of classes over the year in Mon­treal and in Toronto, taught by guest chefs, tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sors and some of the award-win­ning, world lead­ers in choco­late from France, Spain, USA, Tokyo, the Ca­cao Barry and Calle­baut Am­bas­sadors. They of­fer one-day classes, two- and three-day Master Classes; as well as classes in Con­tem­po­rary Bon­bons and Dessert Bars with a Long Shelf Life; Patis­serie Sans Gluten; Trend­set­ting Desserts and Pas­tries, and many more. Re­flect­ing the man­ner in which Ca­cao Barry and Calle­baut nur­tures their grow­ers to raise the finest crops, the Academy en­cour­ages and teaches won­der­ful ways in which to use choco­late. Ed­u­ca­tion con­trib­utes to sales. The ros­ter of alumni in­cludes chefs across the coun­try who we all know and ad­mire. What an in­cred­i­ble learn­ing op­por­tu­nity for ar­ti­sans, home bak­ers and pro­fes­sion­als who want to im­prove their skills or add choco­late to their culi­nary reper­toire.

Ca­cao Barry was founded in France by Charles Barry in 1842. In Bel­gium, Eu­ge­nius Calle­baut be­gan mak­ing choco­late in 1911. It was not un­til 1996 that a de­li­cious part­ner­ship was con­sum­mated and the com­pany be­came Barry Calle­baut. To­day, their agri­cul­ture ex­perts ed­u­cate and ad­vise the farm­ers how to grow the best crops, and with their 50 co­coa and choco­late fac­to­ries around the world, they have be­come the lead­ing man­u­fac­turer of high qual­ity choco­late and co­coa prod­ucts.

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