Belgian chocolate is becoming even tastier and healthier!


Making good chocolate even better. Scientists of the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven), the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology (VIB) and chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut have succeeded in doing so. They selected and cross-bred yeasts in various cocoa-growing countries to influence the taste of the chocolate. This is a technique Belgian brewers have been using for years for their beer. And the result turned out to be amazing.

Over the past three years Professor Kevin Verstrepen and his team at VIB and KU Leuven isolated hundreds of yeasts from cocoa fermentation processes in research departments of the Barry Callebaut Group in Africa and Asia. These yeasts were studied in labs to determine which characteristics result in superior chocolate. Based on the results of this study the research team has developed a new yeast phylum that combines all desirable characteristics.

‘When this new yeast is added during the fermentation of the cocoa in the jungle the process takes place faster and in a more consistent way. Moreover, the new yeast phylum produces more desirable aromatic substances and prevents the growth of undesired yeast. The result is even tastier chocolate’, says Professor Verstrepen. The whole fermentation process of cocoa is based on the yeast that is used to brew beer. ‘By means of an entirely natural process – refined during one hundred years of wine making and beer brewing – we are now able to isolate taste and aroma precursors in the cocoa beans. A Belgian product made according to traditional methods will now contribute to a new national pride. We could not have made this story more Belgian,’ says Gino Vrancken of the Cocoa Science Team of the Barry Callebaut Group.

We are already looking forward to tasting the result!