Barry Callebaut elevates China's taste buds with new sensory Chocolate Tasting Ritual

Gourmet Chef Seminar in Shanghai sets the stage for more knowledge transfer and exchange with chocolatiers and pastry chefs in China

SHANGHAI, June 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Barry Callebaut brings a whole new sensory experience to China with the introduction of the Chocolate Tasting Ritual. The Switzerland-based company, one of the world's largest chocolate manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, said the tasting ritual will allow chocolate professionals and consumers to uncover a brand new world of chocolate richness.

Cocoa and chocolate sensory scientists from Barry Callebaut and the leading global flavor house Givaudan devoted years of extensive research to develop a cocoa and chocolate sensory language. In parallel, Barry Callebaut engineered a chocolate tasting ritual, a fresh new experience inspired by the age-old practice of tea tasting ceremonies in China.

Pascale Meulemeester, Barry Callebaut's Vice President for Global Gourmet, said, "We are excited to transfer this know-how to the growing pastry chef community in China. The tea tasting ritual is symbolic of Chinese tradition. As chocolate becomes more popular among consumers in China, we believe the chocolate tasting ritual will be an exciting experience for consumers in China as well. Chinese consumers can now even better appreciate high-quality chocolates such as Callebaut®, Cacao Barry®, and Carma®."

What is the chocolate tasting ritual?

A Chocolate Tasting Ritual fully engages all five senses - sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste – and enables chocolate professionals and consumers alike to discover new dimensions of the chocolate experience and elevates the chocolate enjoyment to the next level.

Perfectly pairing cocoa and chocolate sensory research with consumer understanding, Barry Callebaut also developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel with 87 descriptors, extensively covering the different flavors, textures and aromas of chocolate. The comprehensive sensory language is rooted in science -- it is the first time that chocolate flavors are described in such a precise manner. Through speaking a common language, this enables the chocolate industry to develop a higher awareness of the intricate tastes and flavors of chocolate.

Barry Callebaut says its chocolate tasting ritual will help chefs and consumers discover new dimensions of the chocolate experience.
Barry Callebaut says its chocolate tasting ritual will help chefs and consumers discover new dimensions of the chocolate experience.

The chocolate tasting ritual was demonstrated to 46 international chefs as well as several invited pastry chefs at the Global Chef Seminar organized by Barry Callebaut in Shanghai.

Renata Januszewska, Global R&D Sensory Methodologies Manager at Barry Callebaut, conducted the chocolate tasting ritual at the event. She said, "Having a shared language and the tasting ritual will enable brands to discuss their chocolate experiences with consumers and describe their uniqueness to them. It will also offer them the means to come up with even better tasting experiences, exploring new flavors and food pairing combinations."

During the demonstration of the ritual, the chefs participated in a full immersion into all four categories of chocolates -- milk, dark, white, and ruby chocolate. The unique tasting experiences of these chocolates were truly linked to cocoa origin, cocoa varieties, product processing parameters, recipes and three Barry Callebaut brands: Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma.

  • The first sense to experience the chocolate products during the tasting session is, of course, the eyes (sight), as consumers observe the color, gloss and visual texture to form their first impression;
  • Then, the chefs were asked to hold the chocolate in their hands to feel (touch) the product and see how soft it is, how quickly it melts, and how resistant to breaking it is, according to the different recipes;
  • Afterwards, the chefs held the chocolate close to their ears, and break it to hear the snap, the sharp cracking sound made when chocolate is broken up in pieces;
  • Next, the chefs put the chocolate close to their nose to take in the aroma (smell), discovering the intensity, complexity, and type of aromatic notes;
  • Following this, they were advised to taste the chocolate in their mouth and let it slowly melt while holding their nose closed -- shutting off all other senses to ensure a fine-tuned taste.

This procedure allowed chocolate lovers to deeply appreciate the products they were tasting in a completely different way, experiencing the full complexity of chocolate flavors. This is the type of experience that will really improve people's overall sensory enjoyment of chocolate, the company believes.

Global Chef Seminar

This is the first time the company has brought its international chefs together in a global meeting held in the Asia Pacific region. The international chefs included world-renowned and award-winning pastry chefs which represent the company's three global chocolate brands, Callebaut®, Cacao Barry®, and Carma® attended the seminar.

The seminar marks the 7th edition and prior to this, the annual chef seminar has been held in other major cities including Milan (Italy) and Toronto (Canada).

"The Chocolate Tasting Ritual is just one of the resources, learnings and tools that we have today, that provides numerous opportunities for knowledge transfer to the chef community in China," said Denis Convert, Barry Callebaut's Vice President for Gourmet in Asia Pacific. "Our three global gourmet brands are supported by one of the largest numbers of pastry chefs and chocolate ambassadors with a worldwide network of more than 21 Chocolate Academy centers. Pastry chefs from across the China region will find at one time and place all the tools and information they need to be competitive in today's rapidly changing food landscape."

More than 46 renowned and award-winning pastry chefs from around the world gathered in Shanghai, honing their technical chocolate expertise and transferring their skills to local chefs in China.
More than 46 renowned and award-winning pastry chefs from around the world gathered in Shanghai, honing their technical chocolate expertise and transferring their skills to local chefs in China.

The seminar was jam-packed with power networking sessions, comprehensive thought leadership sharing with experts, peers and industry insights that aim to boost the chocolate community. During the seminar, the chefs were equipped with practical insights on the latest trends, topical challenges and best practices for them to navigate and excel in the competitive and evolving pastry landscape.

About Barry Callebaut Group (
With annual sales of about CHF 6.8 billion (EUR 6.3 billion / USD 6.9 billion) in fiscal year 2016/17, the Zurich-based Barry Callebaut Group is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products -- from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds. The Group runs close to 60 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of about 11,000 people.
The Barry Callebaut Group serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.
The Barry Callebaut Group is committed to make sustainable chocolate the norm by 2025 to help ensure future supplies of cocoa and improve farmer livelihoods. It supports the Cocoa Horizons Foundation in its goal to shape a sustainable cocoa and chocolate future.

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