Chocolate has a long and rich heritage and is enjoyed all year round not just at Easter. As one of the treats associated with this time of the year it is a good time to find out more about manufacturing chocolate and what support Teagasc can offer if you are considering it as an enterprise.
Chocolate originated in Mesoamerica (now Central America and Mexico) with the cacao bean. It was originally consumed as a drink and it wasn’t until the 1800s that it was developed into the solid form we consume today.
Currently, the EU is the world’s largest producer and consumer of chocolate. In Ireland, our per capita consumption stands at 3.6 kg while revenue from chocolate amounts to over €200 million annually. The market for premium and organic chocolate confectionery is growing steadily, while chocolate has also become an increasingly successful area of artisan production throughout the country.
At the Prepared Consumer Foods Centre (PCFC) at Teagasc Ashtown, our New Product Development and Sensory experts are on hand to offer advice, support and training to artisan and small producers of chocolate. Equipment such as tempering and enrobing machines, polycarbonate moulds and a vibrating table are available for companies to avail of within the PCFC. In addition, the Food Industry Development Department at Teagasc runs an introductory training course on the Manufacture of Chocolate and Chocolate Confectionary. This year’s course will be run as a virtual event and will be held on 24th November 2021. Further details can be found here.
As a taster, check out the videos below from Shay Hannon, PCFC Manager, working on the tempering and enrobing machines in the PCFC and producing a delicious chocolate ganache recipe. A factsheet on chocolate manufacturing, prepared by Teagasc’s Food Industry Development Department, can be found here.