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 predecessors of Callebaut's first ever Finest Belgian Chocolate. Sold under the Salvator brand name – the patron saint of the village of Wieze – small shops in the outlaying villages and their customers became fond of this new chocolate… and the news spread fast.
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.
The first chocolate couvertures
During the years of war and the time between wars, chocolatiers and bakers struggled to obtain necessary ingredients for their sweet creations, including chocolate. However, after the war ended, the Callebaut family made a decision to concentrate on producing chocolate couvertures specifically for Belgian chocolatiers. This partnership laid the foundation for the renowned reputation of Belgian chocolates.
Chocolate perfected with the senses – and the little book of chocolate recipes
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.
Invention of liquid transport of chocolate
The next generation in the family business, Charles Callebaut, invented a way to transport liquid chocolate to chocolate companies. It allowed them to supply their customers faster and reduced the labour-intensive re-melting and re-tempering in the artisan ateliers. This invention early on in the 20th century marks the entrepreneurial spirit of the Callebaut family to make high-quality chocolate more accessible and find ways of efficiently guaranteeing perfect end results.
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.
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.
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.
Callebaut merges with Cacao Barry
Callebaut merges with the French Cacao Barry. Callebaut remains a 100% Belgian brand – still crafting all its Finest Belgian Chocolate in Belgium from bean to bar.
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.
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.
The bold shift to sustainably grown cocoa with cocoa farmers in West Africa
With the Growing Great Chocolate programme, we made a bold choice for sustainably grown cocoa 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.
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.
Spreading the love through bean-to-bar workshops
Where does the iconic Callebaut taste come from? That’s what we share 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.
The 4th type of chocolate is born: welcome ruby chocolate
After dark, milk and white, ruby is the most uncommon chocolate discovery in 80 years. This gift of mother nature surprises and bedazzles with a completely new colour and taste experience, born from the ruby cocoa bean - without adding any colourants or fruit flavourings. Apart from its colour, the taste of ruby is a totally new experience: fruity and intense fruitiness and fresh, sour notes.
Always in pursuit of better: reviewing and improving our chocolate recipes
Kitchen realities evolve. And so does our chocolate. With a legacy of 100 years of chocolate making, we reworked our Finest Belgian Chocolates to make them ready for all your day-to-day challenges. A more expressive taste than ever. Improved workability. And from traceable cocoa liquor. Ready for artisans to keep crafting at their best.
Traceable and 100% sustainable cocoa beans for our signature cocoa liquor
Being always in pursuit of better, we start making our cocoa liquor from traceable and 100% sustainable cocoa beans. We directly partner with cocoa farmer cooperatives in Ivory Coast, Ghana and Ecuador active in the Cocoa Horizons programme. The programme focuses on empowering cocoa farmers to prosper through training, know-how and community activities.
The NXT iconic taste is born
Inspired with the taste of the 823 and the 811, we proudly presented our first generation of 100% plant-based chocolate to indulge a new generation of consumers. NXT dairy-free chocolate are the first chocolates, guaranteed without traces of dairy and fit for lovers of plant-based delights.