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Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Choc-A-Block full of Tech

SWEET TEACHER: Master Chocolatier Erwin Pfeffer introduced workshop delegates to the fine art of chocolate making. SWEET TEACHER: Master Chocolatier Erwin Pfeffer introduced workshop delegates to the fine art of chocolate making.

CPUT’s Chocolate Factory swung into production last week when it hosted the first of many workshops.

Hosted by the Department of Food Technology and the AgriFood Technology Station the workshop featured master chocolatier Erwin Pfeffer who encouraged delegates to learn the finer art of handmade chocolate so as to master factory line production.

Retired Pfeffer heard Food Technology HoD Jessy van Wyk talk about the Chocolate Factory and expressed his interest, later becoming the first expert to present at Chocolate Technology: An Introductory Workshop.

Half the workshop was theoretical with delegates learning about the history of chocolate and how it evolved from a bitter drink made out of ground cocoa beans into the sweet treat we know today. Then they moved on to watching Pfeffer demonstrate concepts such as tempering and moulding.

The Chocolate Factory does not do bean to bar processing but instead starts with cocoa butter and cocoa mass and can handle conching (refining), tempering and cooling. There is even a machine for attaching moulds to create specific shapes.

The workshop is the culmination of a lengthy process – the idea for the Chocolate Factory was first mooted five years ago when the DTI’s Industrial Policy Action Plan mentioned sugar beneficiation. The previous co-owner of Orley Foods, Andrew Janik, was a keen driver of the project and Nestle recently donated R275 000 towards the project while the DTI was responsible for the bulk of the R5million funding required.

Forrester de Beer of mechanical engineering firm Forrester de Beer & Associates procured, installed and commissioned the equipment and has served as a general advisor as the project evolved.

AgriFood Technology Station Manager Larry Dolley points out this workshop puts CPUT on the path to fulfilling the DTI’s requirements of:

$1·         Training students;

$1·         Training SME’s who are in or who wish to enter the chocolate making market;

$1·         Becoming a venue where chocolate making companies can train their staff;

$1·         Hosting existing or new entrants to the chocolate market who would use the facility to make their product.

Van Wyk said while the first workshop were filled with confectionery industry people she predicted interest from a wider range of participants and her ultimate goal is to one day produce a CPUT branded chocolate.

Written by Theresa Smith

Email: smitht@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.