Last Tuesday, the students of the 3Continent Master in Global Management (3CMGM) visited Barry Callebaut. The 3CMGM program consists of 20 students from 7 different nationalities who will live, study and work in Belgium, India and the USA for one year. Beginning our adventure at Antwerp Management School, company visits to typical Belgian industries had to be included. Does it come as a surprise that we were most excited to visit Barry Callebaut’s chocolate factory?
What would you do an a free day? Write papers? Watch TV? Go to a bar with friends? No, not the 3CMGM students… we want to see more of Belgium! Fred, a Belgian-British student enrolled in the program, suggested a visit to Callebaut: “I heard the foreigners in our program really wanted to visit a Belgian chocolate factory and I thought it would be a nice experience for all of us.”
We were overwhelmed by the ever-present smell of burned cacao, bitter liquid chocolate sauce and sweet chocolate pasta that drifted through the factory buildings during our two-hour tour. Sighs and excited exclamations arose. Ashley, our Kenyan classmate, exclaimed: “It smells so good, like I’m in heaven!”
The 3CMGM’ers examined the process of importing the beans from areas near the equator and the first steps of pealing, burning and mashing the beans. Finally, we learned how the residue is turned into the chocolate bars that chocolatiers such as Neuhaus, Leonidas and Godiva use to make their respective pralines. Vidisha, a student from India, was especially surprised by the strict hygiene routine: “When I eat Belgian chocolate now, I feel like I can be sure that it has been treated well.”
Chocolate made in Belgium? Can we have some, please!
Before returning to Antwerp, Callebaut lived up to our expectations by offering a small reminder of our educational (and sweet!) afternoon to take home with us: we were able to fill a bag full of little chocolates with as many different flavors as we desired. They didn’t have to say that twice!