The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Hi everyone,

I want to introduce chocolates to my bakery and have taken a few chocolate making classes, mostly for a few hours at a time.

I am trying to find where I can take extended chocolate courses -- hands on -- for up to a week at a time, that will teach me:

1. How to temper using different machines (batch and continuous), and work with different depositors, etc.

2. How to create my own recipes.

3. How to design my kitchen.


Here are my limitations:

1. I will only be using already tempered chocolate. I love to read about -- and have friends in -- the bean/farm to bar business but I can't do that.

2. The courses need to be in the US.

3. I can only go for a week/course.


I have looked at ecolechocolat, but I believe it is mostly online and I want to finally get some hands-on courses. I would like, though, opinions about ecolechocolat.

I have talked to Barry Callebaut in Chicago and they offer classes, but I don't know anyone who has taken them.

I understand that the SFBI also has a chocolate course, but again, no first hand opinions.

If any of you know of chocolate-making courses or offer them, would you please let me know.

Much appreciated,


The Stonehouse Bakery




Views: 445

Replies to This Discussion

Hey Dorothy,

Me again. I am a grad of Ecole Chocolat and it's mostly online but they do offer hands on training in the next levels up. I would highly recommend you contact Pam the school, she is the founder and is very well known in the industry or just contact the school. She might be able to help but I would recommend Ecole Chocolat to learn the basics if you don't know them already. You will get loads of  information just in the first level of classes alone, it'll blow your mind. I went from being a die hard foodie to chocolate making die hard foodie and new business owner and love it. There are some schools on Montreal, I know it's not the US but it might be close for you? I don't know where you live but Callebaut has a school there. 

Hope it helps. Cheers,


Hi Dirke,

Thank you for the information about Ecole Chocolat. I will defintitely call Pam. I have been studying chocolate for about two years, off and on, but I feel like I have major gaps.

I live in Utah so Montreal might be a bit far. But at this point I am willing to go whereever I need to to get some serious hands-on experience.

By the way, I was just reading your caramel post from February. Very enlightening! I live at 4800 feet and I now understnd just how much altitude plays a role in caramels -- not just my bakery!

Thanks again, Dorothy

Hi Dorothy.  SFBI offers bread and pastry/viennoiserie courses only, no chocolate classes.  I've taken a number of classes at Callebaut in Chicago and they are quite good;  think they last 3-5 days.  I've also taken certain Ecole Chocolat offerings, but ONLY AFTER I already knew how to temper, what tempered chocolate looks like and feels like;  I'd recommend their "masters courses," which are specialty based and in person at various locations around the world, rather than the beginning chocolatier course;  these master courses run a week.  Finally, I don't imagine you'll find one place to teach you to work with different machines and depositors at the same time:  you learn on what a school has in the classroom, which tends to be Selmi, Savvy Goiseau, FBM. Follow that with online research and attend a few trade shows which occur yearly in major cities, where you'll meet the distributors, THEY will teach you how to work their machinery.  Good luck!


Thank you for all your help, Pam. I will check out your suggestions. I thought I saw a chocolate course on the SFBI website, in addition to their bread and pastry courses.

Can you recommend any trade shows? So many I have researched are for chocolate companies rather than distributors.


I started out as a bread baker and the SFBI professional level courses are excellent, especially the ones taught by visiting instructors. I did a quick check of their calendar just now, no chocolate classes.  CIA in St Helena offers chocolate and confection courses (maybe in Hyde Park and San Antonio, too?), 3 days, which I thought were quite good too.  Stable teaching staff, very knowledgeable and experienced.  Also 3-5 days.  I'd google the Candy shows, might be best for these types of machinery distributors. There's a big one in Philly, and I bet the National Confectioners Assoc has a listing on its website;  you might catch a few different brands under the same roof at the same time.  I know the frustration of trying to learn about machinery and compare apples to apples, its hard -- I ended up asking tons of questions of various instructors in classes I took about the machines we were using, doing online research, visiting chocolate shops to ask other artisan chocolatiers about their experiences, then reaching out to Tomric in Buffalo, which imports Selmi machines to the US.  Because when you buy, they WILL teach you how to operate the machines.  Let me also add that the Ecole Chocolate web site has gathered quite a bit of the manufacturers info on various tempering machines, so that might be a good resource. 

Hi Pamela -

Thank you for your help. I called the CIA and they coudn't find any 3day courses on chocolate at any of their sites. Just a 1day course for enthusiasts. Can you remember - was it a boot camp class? When you took it?

Have you been to the show in Philly? Several people have recommended going but I wasn't sure what they had there.

Thanks again,



Hi Dorothy. I've taken a number of professional courses in St Helena, with both John DiFillipo and Stephen Durfee. One was called "Chocolate and Confections," and it ran for 5 days.  You might need to search under the "baking and pastry" heading on the web site. I believe I took it in 2011 or 2012. Peter Greweling, who's written a number of books, teaches the same class at Hyde Park and internationally. Hmm, maybe the ice cream and frozen desserts class was the 3 day one. I think they've been trying to funnel professional development through the "ProChef" certification, maybe the classes are listed there? It would be a shame if they are no longer offered.

Also, they just opened a special center at the St Helena location ( this is the press release) in conjunction with Ghiradelli, so I imagine they're doing even more with chocolate.  

I haven't been to the Philly Candy show, the last big convention I was at was IBIE (International Baking Industry Exposition) in Las Vegas. HUGE, and a ton of equipment makers and distributors.. mostly for a larger scale than I work on.  You might find that most of the vendors at this kind of show sell highly automated machines intended for more "industrial" use, but trade shows do offer you access to a wide variety of stuff all in the same place.  Hope this helps! 

RE: BarryCallebaut classes 

Hello - I took a class on on a Saturday a few yrs ago - it was informative - they taught you how to temper by hand - no machines.  Their classes have become expensive  as of late.

The in Seattle, Washington has had classes - he is quite knowledgeable.  Bill Redericks  

You might try contacting him for a few classes you wish to take and find out his pricing for you. - He was always helpful to me when I asked about the various kinds of chocolate he sold - 


Than you Sue. I will I am also considering a BarryCallebaut class, but you are right. They have become quite expensive.



If you decide to take a class in Chicago, please let me know - perhaps we can meet ?  Sue

Hi Sue -

Barry Callebaut is looking really good. If I take some classes there I would lke to meet you.

I looked online and called The Chocolate Man but the young woman said they only offer evening courses -- nothing intensive for a week. But I did get the impression Bill would be a good reference if I had questions.



i took a Barry Callebaut class a several years ago at the factory outside of Montreal. It was very helpful. Teacher was willing to answer all our questions and very informative. I could not believe what a difference just a couple days made in my production when I came back. There was no instruction on tempering machines or how to set up your kitchen in the class I took, so it might not be what you are looking for. The class was a bit pricey but it was convenient for because i could visit family at the same time.

Good luck finding the right fit for you!



Member Marketplace

Promote TheChocolateLife

Bookmark and Share

Follow Clay on:
Twitter :: @DiscoverChoc
F'Book :: TheChocolateLife
F'Book Group :: LaVidaCocoa :: @DiscoverChoc

© 2014   Created by Clay Gordon.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service