Savannah Fine Chemicals, in conjunction with Barry Callebaut, recently held its first two-day industry cocoa knowledge workshop in Johannesburg. The event proved to be a sweet learning experience for all who attended, writes Chané Brecher.
Barry Callebaut is a highly regarded manufacturer of quality chocolate and cocoa products. The company operates 60 production facilities in more than 30 countries. The chocolate supplier has close to 180 years of history and heritage in processing quality cocoa powders from carefully selected premium cocoa beans. Its Bensdorp brand offers consistent quality, complemented by unmatched research and development expertise. Savannah Fine Chemicals (Savannah) is the exclusive distributor of these fine cocoa derivatives. Curiosity and collaboration are two of Savannah’s core values. The company continues to focus on key areas that yield value while staying relevant. Included in Savannah’s cocoa portfolio are cocoa mass and cocoa butter from different origins. Cocoa powder is available in an array of different colours, flavours and fat content. This is not a one-size-fits-all ingredient. Careful attention to specific formulations must be considered before deciding what cocoa powder to use for a product. Internal and external colour, fat content, pH levels and origin are important factors to consider. Whether your products are sensitive to fat; require even dispersibility; feature a crunch or a claim to differentiate itself from similar products, there are a host of solutions available.
Savannah prides itself on having a can-do approach. The first Cocoa Knowledge Workshop was enthusiastically launched to share knowledge of this ancient ingredient. Held on 14 and 15 May 2019 at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy, the workshop proved to be a sweet learning experience to all who attended. Guests from various industries were taken on an informative tour of the history of the product. This spanned centuries from where cocoa was first discovered and eventually commercialised in the 1600s, to the modern processing of cocoa beans today. Sugar reduction was one of the main themes – incorporated and showcased through the afternoon hands-on sessions. Savannah’s cocoa ingredients weren’t the only focus. The presentation looked at the complete offering from Savannah, including products from other key principals such as milk powders, vanillin, fibre, proteins, gums and starches. Imagine Croquoa flapjacks, chocolate meringues, gluten-free carrot cake, single-origin cocoa blended yoghurts, a vegan almond drink and decadent cocoa fudge. Savannah offers a value-driven ingredients package, coupled to quality suppliers and ingredients, service and technical support levels. Incorporating cocoa into local products and exposing the South African industry to high-quality cocoa is a comprehensive task. Proceedings kicked off on day one with the investigation of challenges and solutions in the dairy, bakery and confectionery industries while cereals, nutrition and health headlined on day two. Both sessions started with an introductory session followed by a presentation on cocoa processing and sustainability.