On Sept. 24 this year, Barry Callebaut (www.barry-callebaut.com) opened its first U.S. Chocolate Academy, which offers a diverse range of seminars, demonstrations, theoretical courses and practical workshops designed to inspire artisans and culinary professionals from around the globe. The center is led by award-winning French pastry chef Jerome Landrieu, who serves as technical advisor for the academy.
With sales of more than $4 billion for fiscal year 2006/2007, Zurich, Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut is a leading, worldwide manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate -- from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf with partners in the food retailing industry.
Created in 1996 through the merger of Belgian chocolate producer Callebaut and the French chocolate company Cacao Barry, Barry Callebaut has a presence in 24 countries, operates more than 40 production facilities and employs approximately 7,500 people. Its Callebaut, Cacao Barry and Carma brands are designed to meet the special needs of artisan customers (bakers, pastry chefs, hotels, restaurants and caterers). The company also provides ingredients to industrial processors who produce chocolate, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream and breakfast cereals, and it offers a range of services in product development, processing, training and marketing.
Last year the company moved its North American headquarters from Quebec to the former Montgomery Ward catalog building in Chicago, transforming it into a sleek, modern, artistic, architectural wonder.
"We moved our North American head office to Chicago because it is an excellent location for doing business with North America and the world," said Massimo Garavaglia, president for the Americas. "Chicago is a vibrant city that is well situated in the U.S. providing easy access to both coasts and the Midwest. Combined with a talented labor pool and strong culinary focus, Chicago was a natural choice to house our first U.S. Chocolate Academy."