Callebaut’s new Chocolate Academy centre opened in Belgium yesterday, which will now enable state-of-the-art training to up to 1,000 professionals a year.

The flagship centre, located next to the 103-year-old Callebaut factory, in Wieze, Belgium, will offer people the chance to work with their finest Belgian chocolate.

Freek van der Knaap, vice-president of gourmet Western Europe, said: “The Chocolate Academy centres are unique when it comes to sharing best practice and increasing chocolate mastery. Currently, in our 16 training centres around the world, we partner with craftsmen such as chocolatiers, bakers, pastry and kitchen chefs. In the Chocolate Academy centre, chocolate professionals will come to train themselves, follow courses and receive demonstrations - from professionals for professionals.”

The new centre builds on the existing network of 16 chocolate academy sites worldwide, with four training rooms and a greenhouse where cocoa is grown.

Trainings are conducted by Callebaut chefs and complemented by ‘Chocolate Ambassadors’, a global network of renowned chefs who share their chocolate expertise with other members of their profession.

Chef Alexandre Bourdeaux, head of the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Wieze, said: “This new Academy is an incredible asset to chefs. Where else can one find a mini-production line to illustrate how Callebaut chocolate is made, or even make chocolate themselves?”

The new academy will offer a chocolate tasting ritual room, a chocolate bar and a plantation experience in a small-scale reproduction of a tropical rainforest with cocoa trees.

Callebaut has been crafting chocolate in Belgium since 1911.