Chocolate Maker Class

Chocolate Maker Class

In our Chocolate Maker Program at Mindo Chocolate, Michigan, US under Barbara Wilson's supervision, you'll use the equipment in a working chocolate factory to produce micro batches of chocolate. Mindo is an award winning 10+ yrs old chocolate maker who most recently won International Chocolate Awards Americas 2017 and 2018 for their Pure Rustic 70% chocolate bar.

Learning in a chocolate factory

Next program: TBA September 2020

Registration fee (does not include travel, accommodation, and meals - except lunch during the daily program.)

$1,350.00 US per participant.

Registration for this program will open in the spring.

Would you like to be notified when registration opens for this program?

Registration fee includes:

Hands-on training program in chocolate making from the bean
In-depth discussions on the business of making chocolate
Four (4) lunches.

Barbara Wilson, Mindo's chocolate maker believes, as we do, that you can never be too smart about cacao and chocolate making. She has a Level 2 certification in chocolate tasting from the International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting, has been trained in Cocoa Grading by the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and has an MPh in Health Education which gives her the expertise to answer any questions about food safety and handling in the chocolate factory. We are always grateful when Barbara is able to give up a week's factory production to work with our graduates.

Learning in a chocolate factory

4-Day program

This is a 4 day program of hands-on training in the Mindo Chocolate factory. The program will include making batches of chocolate from dried cocoa beans using craft chocolate making equipment as well as an overview of cacao growing/processing and discussions on the business aspects of chocolate making.

During these four days, you will get hands-on experience roasting, winnowing and cracking cocoa beans, grinding cocoa nibs into cocoa liquor and chocolate. We will also press cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

Then you will learn to make dark, milk and white chocolate, learn how to temper perfectly to mold chocolate into bars and then packaging for your trip home.

The group will discuss topics pertinent to chocolate making including fair trade, organic and shade grown cacao. And how the skill of the farmer in cacao fermentation and drying will impact the success of your chocolate making. You will have a session on grading cocoa beans for quality and flavor.

There is a daily chocolate tasting to further develop your tasting palate. You will learn strategies for sensory training to fine-tune your ability to taste the basics and the nuances of chocolate and cocoa.

Program itinerary:

Itinerary subject to change: every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as it appears here. However, the final itinerary may vary due to schedules, availability and factors beyond our control.

Monday – Thursday:  
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM Mindo Chocolate factory, Dexter, Michigan (about 45 minute drive from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport)

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Wear good shoes (you'll be standing most of the day) and comfortable clothing that you don't mind being stained with chocolate.

Optional extra activities included in the program:

Monday evening:
La Leyenda de Chocolate. We will make and drink a chocolate beverage as we believe it was made over 5,000 years ago in Ecuador.

Tuesday morning:
Coffee roasting, preparation and cupping 7:30-9 am.

Wednesday afternoon:
Wine and chocolate pairing

No-host optional group dinners each evening at Barbara's favorite local spots for those graduates who want to continue the discussions after class.

Making chocolate in the factory

What more do I need to know?

This program is delivered in English.

Program participants must be 17 years of age or older. Also note that the program involves a lot of standing for long periods and walking so good mobility and strength are important.

Our minimum requirement for this program to run is 5 students and the maximum is 12 students.

You'll want to wait to book your flight to Michigan until we confirm that the minimum number of students have registered.

Prerequisite: To get the most out of this hands-on experience, we strongly suggest that you enroll in or have completed the Chocolate Making from the Bean program. That program curriculum will give you the understanding of chocolate flavor, chocolate/cacao science, cocoa bean sourcing and production/equipment so you will be able to ask the right questions to enhance your understanding while in the hands-on class.

Program certificate:

Students completing the program will receive an Ecole Chocolat Chocolate Making Certificate of Achievement.

Chocolate making from the bean

Graduate reviews

"What I was looking for was practical, real world tips on roasting, cracking, and winnowing beans.  I felt like my process was good but I wanted to get better.  Barbara was very helpful in demonstrating these techniques and giving practical tips based upon her experience.  Anna, her lead chocolate maker, was also helpful as "boots on the ground" in giving tips on the process as well." Steve, 2017 Program

"It was wonderful to learn from Barbara as well as the rest of Mindo Team in their chocolate factory in Dexter Michigan! They have been upfront with answering our questions, as well as very patient with us messing with chocolate in their production kitchen...literally during the tempering of chocolate sessions. The atmosphere was very relaxed and not intimidating which made practical learning very conducive. This kind of learning is also great in a way that you meet your classmates, both with experience on the actual chocolate making or other fields in culinary, and those without any at all. I not only learned from Barbara and her team, but also from my classmates that came from very diverse background, culture and countries. Most of all, you also build relationship with them, that will hopefully last within the chocolate industry and outside." Luchie, 2016 program

"The Master Program with Barbara was excellent "5" and exceeded my expectations. I feel like I am a part of her Chocolate family. I highly recommend this program to everyone. I brought my business partner and we are on fire. We are opening a new bean-to-bar kitchen/factory on the Island of Kauai. This training filled in all of the blanks!" Deborah, 2016 program

Cancellation policy:

Our Ecole Chocolat Programs only accommodate a limited number of students and are usually full, with a waiting list. As the programs involve a travel component, we need to contact those on the waiting list in enough time so they can make travel arrangements. If you have to cancel, we'll do everything in our power to find a replacement but can't guarantee that we'll be successful. No refunds will be given after 45 days prior to the program start date. Make sure you're totally commited to the program before paying your registration fee. We also suggest that you take out travel insurance when booking your travel to and from the program country, in case of an emergency.

Back to list of our other Graduate Chocolate Programs

Opening bags of cocoa beans

Ganache ready for enrobing

Cocoa nibs up close.

Cutting ganache with a guitar

Making truffles from our chocolate.

Filling chocolate molds

Rustic chocolate bars.

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