If you’re like most people, you probably love chocolate. Millions of people around the globe enjoy the delicious and wondrous, melt-in-your-mouth taste of high-end chocolate each day. The next time you enjoy a piece of quality chocolate, be sure to thank a chocolatier.
Chocolatiers create chocolate creations. These chocolate-focused confectioners work day in and day out to make the delicious, gourmet chocolate that you crave each day. It’s their job to design, create, and craft chocolate treats that look great and taste amazing. These chocolate visionaries have chosen to make chocolate their profession.
Chocolate has been around for thousands of years, but the business of chocolate is bigger than you might realize. Chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree – a plant native to South America. It takes about 400 cacao beans to make one pound of chocolate. Millions of pounds of chocolate are consumed every year. The chocolate industry is expected to grow from $83.2 to $98.3 billion by 2016. Between 40 and 50 million people depend on the chocolate industry for their careers – including chocolatiers.
Chocolatiers are the creative confectioners behind your favorite cream filled bonbons, handmade truffles, gourmet dark chocolate bars, delectable fudge, and milk chocolate drizzled wedding cakes. Most chocolatiers are artists who make high quality, artisan chocolate – the type you might find at a chocolate shop, not in a vending machine.
To develop these tasty treats, they use recipes to mix up ingredients like milk, cream, butter, and other fillings. By using fresh ingredients, they focus on developing the perfect chocolate taste. To do this, they must understand the chemistry to create the flavors and the textures they desire.
Next they spice up their creation with a bit of creativity and design. They mold and shape chocolates into desired shapes – adding exquisite details by hand. Once each piece of chocolate is perfected it can be sold to a chocolate lover who will smile as they enjoy each mouth-watering piece.
To become a chocolatier, you must be a chocolate lover. Most chocolatiers attend culinary arts school or take a specific chocolatier course. Chocolate schools like the Ecole Chocolat or The Chocolate Academy are excellent choices to perfect your chocolate creation skills. While attending chocolate school, students will learn about the history of chocolate, tempering and molding techniques, chocolate technology, showpiece design, chocolate decoration, cultivation and processing, flavor chemistry, and more.
Once you have a chocolate education under your belt, you’ll need to find an apprenticeship with a master chocolatier. These usually happen at a high-end chocolate shop or with a quality chocolate manufacturer like Godiva, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Ferrero Rocher, or Teuscher. During the apprenticeship, you will develop your skills and you will become a chocolatier.
Once established, creativity is the name of the game. Explore what is possible and enter chocolate competitions to push the boundaries. A quality chocolatier can work at a chocolate shop, find a job with a large chocolate manufacturer, or be self-employed. Chocolatiers are busiest around holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Easter.
On average, a chocolatier will make $21,000 per year. A high end chocolatier can make much more. Pay depends on creativity, presentation, taste, geographic location, shop, reputation, and experience. But being a chocolatier is more than just getting a paycheck. The true perks of this job is being surrounded by an endless supply of chocolate and watching your customers melt when they munch on your latest creation.
Do you want to pursue a profession in chocolate? Become a chocolatier today.
Quick Facts About Chocolatier
Job Title: Chocolatier aka Chocolate Maker
Office: Chocolate Shop or Kitchen
Description: Create chocolate creations
Certifications/Education: Culinary School or Chocolate School, Apprenticeship
Necessary Skills: Developed Taste, Understanding of chocolate
Potential Employers: Chocolate Shops, Candy Manufacturers, Self Employed
Pay: $21,000 per year