Barry Callebaut opens second African Chocolate Academy, based in Morocco

Swiss headquartered Barry Callebaut has unveiled its latest global Chocolate Academy training centre in Casablanca, Morocco, which stands as only the second such facility on the African continent, writes Neill Barston.

As Confectionery Production has previously reported, the series of facilities around the world enable chefs and artisans to showcase their abilities, while learning valuable additional skills, techniques and creating new recipes.

The total of the company’s academies now stands at 26, with the business offering inspiration, training and personalised support for artisans, pastry chefs, confectioners, bakers and caterers, and helps them to explore the infinite world of chocolate indulgence.

According to the company, consumption patterns in North Africa are shifting towards premiumisation and new concepts in terms of design, colour and flavours. With its team of dedicated local chefs and visits of other renowned chefs, the business believed that its latest addition would help drive further levels of innovation within the region.

“The Gourmet chocolate market is growing fast in the North African region. With the Chocolate Academy Centre Casablanca, we support local businesses in finding the right chocolate solutions to help them win in the market. In Morocco and beyond, this will be the place to be for artisans and professionals in chocolate,” Amine Mebrouki, General Manager Middle East & North Africa.

Rogier van Sligter, President EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) of Barry Callebaut, also welcomed the company’s progress in region.

He said: “This is an important moment for our presence in the North African region. The Chocolate Academy Centre Casablanca will strengthen the collaboration with our customers in the North African market and help us to further expand our position in Gourmet & Specialties in the region.”

Major Ecuador research development

Another major development for Barry Callebaut this month comes with news of its ‘farm of the future’ project, based in Ecuador, enable advanced cocoa research.

As the business explained, its 640-hectare property is located in the Cerecita Valley, between Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, and the Pacific Ocean. Operations and infrastructure development will start immediately with the planting of cocoa seedlings on the farm’s 400 hectares of non-planted land.

Integration of high-yielding and maximum flavour varieties in the planting design will also support cross-learning between cocoa farms of all sizes, in different locations and climates from around the world.

Next to cocoa bean variety, our agronomics research will also test resilient farming techniques, pre-and post-harvest processes, fermentation control, diversification of income, and improved cost control. Ultimately, we aim to establish the best cocoa farming practices that are climate-smart and enhance sustainability and farm profitability. Once the farm is fully operational, it aims to employ approximately 80 people from the local area.

“Our Farm of the Future aims to be a contributor to the global movement on food system innovation. The establishment of this hub is a valuable vehicle for providing new opportunities for sustainable cocoa farming, innovation, and research,” explained Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Sustainability & Quality Officer, Global Head of Gourmet.

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