Bakers Journal

Cacao Barry “unboxing creativity” in Toronto

March 31, 2020
By Naomi Szeben

On March 1, Cacao Barry hosted its annual Unboxing Creativity event, showcasing Canada’s most talented chefs. This was more than an opportunity to reveal uses for Callebaut’s latest Ruby couverture, RB1. Dishes both sweet and savoury used a combination of techniques to bring out the most visually and unique pairings.

Recent market research revealed that consumers are becoming more experimental with their flavour pairings, seeking out international ingredients, or combining sweet and savoury for unusual sensations. Would you pair chocolate with pork? Chef Elia Herrera did, with her Chile en Nogada Roll. The Executive Chef and owner of Colibri and LosCo used a 40 per cent milk chocolate sauce paired with raw walnut, roasted Poblano peppers and topped it with pomegranate seeds.

Chile en Nogada Roll by Chef Elia Herrera

Illustrating a more reserved approach to chocolate experimentation, chef Kevin Levionnois, the Pastry Sous Chef at Four Seasons Hotel created a Passion Fruit IPA Petit Gâteau, using Ghana 40 per cent Milk chocolate Creameux and a passion fruit IPA foam. The use of beer in the pastry was an unexpected but delicious addition.

Passionfruit Mousse by chef Kevin Levionnois

Sophie Mendes Mendes van Delft, the Gourmet Brand Specialist, said the unboxing Creativity Event was a terrific opportunity for those in the food industry to meet, discuss what trends are emerging and how chocolate, cacao and couverture can be used to surprise and delight today’s gourmet audience.


Chef Calvin Wat took the tradition of making mini fruits, normally made out of marzipan, and made a chocolate interpretation of mousse, covered in a chocolate shell that was flavoured to represent its fruit. He featured Black Forest Cherry, Lemon Confit, Chia Passion Fruit were among some of flavours of his two-inch high edible sculptures.

Chef Mia De Ala, the Executive Pastry Chef at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre created her Aoi signature mousse as an edible tribute to the Convention Centre’s corporate logo. The mirror glaze was an eye-catching hue of blue; “Aoi” is the Japanese word for “blue.”

In all, the evening revealed a wide range of talents and international influences from Europe to Asia. The chefs used cacao as a painter would use colour. There was no limit to creativity to thee chocolate-based creations, as each expert thought “outside of the box.”

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