CRAFTED IN BELGIUM FROM BEAN TO BAR SINCE 1911
Is crafting great chocolate an art? Or science? Well, we
believe it's both. We dedicated more than 100 years to
perfecting our craft and making better chocolate.
WHERE WE SOURCE OUR COCOA BEANS
To create the perfectly balanced taste of your chocolate, we source beans from
- Ivory Coast: for their intense body
- Ghana: for their fruitiness
- Ecuador: for their bitterness
GROWING 100% TRACEABLE BEANS
For our cocoa mass, we directly purchase cocoa beans from
farmer communities participating in the Cocoa Horizons
program. Through training, financial incentives and community
empowerment, we aim at creating self-driven, prospering
GROWING & HARVESTING
It takes about 4-6 months for cocoa fruits to grow from pollinated flower into
ripe cocoa fruit. There are 2 harvest seasons:
- the main season, from October to January
- the light season, from May to June
After the harvest, the cocoa pods are collected and left to rest and ripen for
one more day. For our Finest Belgian Chocolates we only use main crop
cocoa beans. Which are bigger in size and bring more taste to our chocolate.
COLLECTION & QUALITY
The bags of the cocoa beans from different villages or
communities are collected and brought to the
district warehouse. The different districts bring it
to the port warehouse.
Samples are taken of all incoming lots of cocoa,
and checked on moisture, bean size and
impurities or imperfections. Based on this
information, a lot gets a final grade.
The jute bags are loaded into watertight
containers and onto a ship. Their journey to the
port of Antwerp (Belgium) can start and will take
up to 6 weeks.
BEAN TO BAR
At Callebaut, we make sure our beans undergo thorough quality checks
starting from their country of origin down to the Antwerp harbour. This journey
of constant quality continues until the final bean blend is composed.
ARRIVAL & QUALITY CHECK
When the ship has arrived, the bags of beans are
stored in our Belgian warehouse. Of every
incoming lot of cocoa, samples are taken from
various bags to represent the lot. These samples
are tested on a wide variety of parameters: from
moisture content to fat content
SAMPLING THE TASTE PROFILES
Cocoa is a natural product. That means that the
taste of the beans will vary according to their
terroir and specific seasonal conditions. To
understand the flavour potential of every
incoming lot of beans, we take samples and
process them into cocoa liquor. The liquor is then
tasted to create a taste profile.
COMPOSING THE BLEND
To guarantee you consistency in taste for all our chocolates. We create a bean blend that will yield us the exact chocolate taste we are after. The beans for this blend come from 3 different origin countries. Our Master blender will fine tune the bean blend based on their taste profiles.
WHOLE BEAN ROASTING
After cleaning and blending the beans according
to the Master Blender's recipe. We roast the
whole beans well protected in their shells. We
have been applying this roasting method since
the start in 1911. It awakens and preserve the
full flavour potential and all the aromas in every
BREAKING & WINNOWING
After roasting, the beans are broken and the
shells separated from the precious bean kernels
or nibs. We want the nibs to be as pure as
possible, before we further process them.
FINE COCOA LIQUOR
The roasted cocoa nibs are the ground finer and
finer to obtain a liquid and extremely fine and po-
werful cocoa liquor. This liquor is the heart and
soul of our chocolates: it determines its taste,
character and intensity.
MIXING WITH OTHER INGREDIENTS
The cocoa liquor is mixed with sugar and vanilla
for dark chocolate, and with milk powder to
produce milk chocolate. The proportions and
selection of specific sugars or milks may vary
depending on the recipe our Master Chocolate
Makers want to create.
REFINING THE INGREDIENTS
When the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, they
are refined in a 5-roll refiner. This way, we obtain
the finest possible particles in the chocolate
dough, which will literally make the chocolate feel
smooth and silky once you'll taste it.
Conching is the continuous stirring of the
chocolate dough at a temperature that can run up
to +- 70-80°C. During conching, we get rid of too
acidic, volatile flavours. It makes them evaporate
from the chocolate. Moreover, this process creates
a smooth tasting chocolate. To bust a few
myths: longer conching does not deliver a better
chocolate. We only conch for the time necessary
to develop the perfectly round and balanced taste
while preserving the refreshing, fruity notes.
TESTING THE FLUIDITY
At the end of the conching process, we will test
the fluidity and - if necessary - adjust it by adding
more cocoa butter. The chocolate is now stored in
tankers for a few days.
MOUDLING OR SHAPING
We temper the chocolate to create stable
B-crystals in the cocoa butter. And then our
chocolate gets its familiar shape: in 5 kg blocks or
Callets™, easy to dose, melt or temper.
PACKING & STORAGE
All blocks and Callets™ are packed in fresh foil to
preserve all the taste and aromas of our
chocolate. We store them for a few days to weeks
in perfect conditions, away from light, heat,
humidity and odours. As soon as our chocolate
arrives in your kitchen, it is ready for you to make