Pursuing great chocolate taste,
from one generation to the next

Our history
Pursuing great chocolate taste, from one generation to the next

Bringing great chocolate to every chef and supporting you in what you love most - creating wonderful chocolate delights for your fans and friends - is what we pursue to do. It all started in 1911, in a small town in Belgium called Wieze.

1911

Octaaf Callebaut

Octaaf Callebaut, grandson of a brewer in the small Belgian town of Wieze, had secretly been working on his first chocolate recipe. For months, the fine scent of freshly roasted cocoa beans had made everyone curious. When the brewers finally tasted his first chocolate coming out of the conche, they witnessed the birth of Callebaut's Finest Belgian Chocolate. Very soon, small shops in the outlaying villages and their customers became fond of this new chocolate… and the news spread fast.

1918

Refining and perfecting the recipes

In the years that followed, Octaaf took the time to refine and perfect the recipes we know today as 811, 823 and W2, boasting with their rich chocolate flavour. They would soon inspire chefs and chocolatiers to create wonderful delights, pairing them with an endless list of flavours and ingredients.

1920

The first chocolate couvertures

During the war years and the interbellum, chocolatiers and bakers could hardly find any ingredients for their sweet delights, not to mention chocolate. The Callebaut family creates its first chocolate couvertures to fill in their needs.

1935

The ‘milk chocolate recipe n°845’

Octaaf’s secrets of chocolate making were perfected and started to transcend from one generation of chocolate makers to the other. They needed little words – just the ingredient list –yet learned how to ‘understand’ chocolate with all their senses. They observed it in the conches to have it come out truly perfect. Today still, our Master chocolate makers use all their senses – the way they learned it from their predecessors. A rare, handwritten recipe sheet dating from 1935, mentions the ‘milk chocolate recipe n°845’ – today still a preferred recipe among chefs and chocolatiers.

1960 1965

First export of Callebaut® chocolate all over the world

During these years, more and more confectioners, pastry chefs and bakers abroad and overseas are keen on working with their blocks of Callebaut® Belgian chocolate. During these years, Callebaut® exports its chocolate for the first time, supporting chefs all over the world with the iconic taste and legendary workability of its chocolate and contributing to the reputation of Belgian chocolate.

1988

Chefs embrace the world’s first Callets™: small drops of couverture chocolate

With the introduction of the Callets™, Callebaut® sides even more with the artisan chocolate chefs. These solid chocolate drops allow chefs to dose, melt and temper the chocolate more accurately – improving the workability of chocolate and supporting chefs to obtain great end results.

1988

Callebaut® opens its first chocolate school: the Callebaut® College

Callebaut® welcomes artisans from all over the world in the first school of its kind: the Callebaut® College, predecessor of the Callebaut® Chocolate Academy™ centres. Confectioners and chefs come over to learn, exchange ideas and experiences.

1996

Callebaut® merges with Cacao Barry

Callebaut® merges with the French Cacao Barry. Callebaut® remains a 100% Belgian brand – with all Finest Belgian Chocolate crafted in Belgium from bean to chocolate.

2006

Exciting cacao flavours with the Origin chocolates

The first Callebaut® origin chocolate find their way to the hearts of chefs and their creations. With their surprising flavours and aromatic top notes, these chocolate enable chefs to create a new league of pairings. Arriba, Java, Sao Thomé… Do the names sound familiar? Callebaut® still crafts these Origin couvertures today with some of the rarest bean varieties in the world.

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2011

Celebrating a century of chocolate making

Callebaut celebrates its 100 years of chocolate making together with artisan chefs all over the world. After 100 years, every chocolate recipe is crafted with respect for Octaaf’s original chocolates created in 1911. Anniversary celebrations are held from Japan to Mexico, with artisan chefs and confectioners at the heart of the celebrations. Their great chocolate stories form a common thread throughout all the events.

2012

Growing Great Chocolate sustainably with cocoa farmers in West Africa

With the Growing Great Chocolate programme, every chef working with Callebaut® chocolate, makes a clear choice to support cocoa farmers in West Africa. For every pack of Finest Belgian chocolate purchased, Callebaut® reinvests a part in sustainable cocoa cultivation and community programs in the West African cocoa growing communities.

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2014

The flagship Callebaut® Chocolate Academy™ centre opens its doors

Callebaut® opens its flagship Chocolate Academy™ centre in Wieze. It is a brand new home for chefs and chocolatiers to find inspiration, learn about chocolate techniques and exchange experiences. The Callebaut® Chocolate Academy hosts a small plantation, a Beanology-room, a chocolate library, a tasting ritual room. And the heart of the Chocolate Academy™ features 4 fully equipped work spaces where bakers, pastry chefs, confectioners and restaurant chefs can bring their chocolate skills to the next level.

Discover the chocolate courses

2015

Great chocolate, now for bars and baristas

After months of trials and investigation, Callebaut® presents its first range of Belgian ground chocolate for bars and baristas to the world. It’s the first chocolate that combines great taste with the goodness of flavanols and great convenience for bars. Each day, chocolate lovers can now enjoyed a great tasting cup filled with happiness and positive energy. Isn’t that the dream of all?

Discover the Ground Chocolate range

2016

Spreading the love through bean-to-bar workshops

Where does the iconic Callebaut® taste come from? That’s what the oldest cocoa roaster in Belgium now shares with chefs and chocolatiers all over the world. During bean-to-bar classes, the Callebaut® Master chocolate makers share their know-how on cocoa bean flavours, fermentation, blending, whole bean roasting, conching and much more.

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