Dates: 22 – 23 February 2018
Time: 09.30-17.30 uur
Location: Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam

A ticket to the Chocolate Makers’ Forum provides access to the Trade Fair. It is not necessary to buy a separate ticket for the Trade Fair.

Chocolate Makers’ Forum

The Chocolate Makers’ Forum takes you into the process of the origin of the cocoa beans, making chocolate and the latest business trends. Whether you want to process your own cocoa beans and are a skilled chocolate maker or you simply work with chocolate and looking for inspiration, during this forum there is plenty of potential to learn and share your experiences with others. The Forum is intended to stimulate an open debate, so you’re welcome to talk to about your experiences. Get inspired by all knowledge!

See the full Chocoa programme 2017 here.



Thursday February 23rd 2017

10.00 – 10.45   Overcoming hurdles in starting up bean to bar chocolate making
Chocolate making is a fun but challenging profession. It takes specialized skills, good machinery, equipment, passion and determination. Where do you start? If you are interested in making chocolate from the bean, don’t miss out on this introduction.
Speakers include: Rodney Nikkels (Chocolate makers), Mark Schimmel (Krak Chocolade), Mario Vandeneede (Chocolatoa)

10.00 – 11.00 Chocolate tasting
For those not in the starters mode: bring your bars and get valuable feedback of fellow chocolate makers. There will be a bar tasting area at the Trade Fair where you can taste and discuss throughout the day.
Award winning chocolate maker Duffy Sheardown will be among the makers present to meet you here!

11.00 – 11:45 Guided tour at the Trade Fair
Chocoa’s Trade Fair is an international meeting hub for many companies that work in cocoa, logistics, machinery, production or other. From the bar tasting area you can join a tour around the Trade Fair, an international meeting hub for many companies that work in cocoa, logistics, machinery, production or other (matchmaking service available).

12.30 – 14.00   Bean sourcing. Risks and challenges: sustainable production, quality, exclusivity and continuity
Experts in the field will lead the discussion about the issues on sustainable production, price and quality of beans, exclusivity and continuity. Ask them everything you always wanted to know about finding the right beans for your chocolate.
Speakers include: Albert Smith (Daarnhouwer), Jack Steijn (Equipoise), Martin Christy (Direct Cacao), André van den Beld (Cocoanect), Lars Saquero Møller (Ingemann).

14.15 – 15.00   Success Chocolate Stories in Origin Countries
Cacao producing countries are constantly facing economic, political and social issues. Several factors lead to low local demand.  The policies can be restrictive for chocolate making, yet some companies manage to make a chocolate. What is their key to success? Ask them everything!
Speakers include: Jorge Redmond Sr. (Chocolates El Rey), Giuseppe Cassinelli (Maraná), Ana Rita Garcia -Lascurain Tatiana Ramos (Fundación MUCHO, Conservation International (México).

15.15 – 17.15 Cocoa quality along the value chain, including liquor tasting
Tasting the cocoa liquor is very helpful when considering buying beans. It reveals the potential of the bean and what you can make of it.  Chocoa will host a Cocoa of Excellence Workshop on cocoa quality along the value chain. Brigitte Laliberté, Ed Seguine and Darin Sukha are the designers of the liquor tasting protocol and leading figures in working with cocoa with over 30 years of experience in cocoa and its rich diversity in flavours. In this 2-hour introduction of how to taste cocoa liquor you will taste, define and discuss… cocoa liquor.
The world’s first Cocoa of Excellence Liquor training will be held for a limited group on February 24th-25th,   the training is now fully booked

Friday 24th

10.00-11.30  Chocolate making machinery: Different needs, different machines
Having the right machinery is crucial for making good chocolate. But good machines are expensive and small chocolate makers often can’t afford them. Where do you compromise and where not? Experts lead the conversation and answer your questions. Hear about the types of machines that are available, and receive tips & tricks from chocolate makers who have worked with them.
Speakers include: Rodney Nikkels (Chocolatemakers) Wiet Koenen (Henk Koenen) Bhavani (Diamond Custom Machines Corp), Geert De Smeyter (Domori), Umberto Boscolo (FBM), Dr Balu (Cocoatown). 

11:45 – 12.30 Make or buy: outsourcing your chocolate production
You want your own chocolate but have no time or expertise to make it: than consider outsourcing to a production company. They have the right machines, skills and experience to make chocolate for you, based on your own recipes. Hear from chocolate makers that outsource and hear from some of the most well known chocolate companies in the world.
Speaker include: Herman Van Dender (Van Dender), Alice Mancini (Domori)

13.00 – 13.45 Access to new specialty markets
New markets can include specialty wine and coffee stores. Experts lead the discussion on why curation and advise are critical tools to help Chocolate Makers sell in specialty stores.
Speakers include: Spencer Hyman (Cocoa Runners), Adil Chaudry (Chocolatl), Erik Sauer (El Sauco) Pauline & Sabine (Zaans Gedaan Cacaolab), Michaela Schupp (Chocolats de Luxe)

13.45 – 14.45 Logistics
How to get your cacao from origin to your doorstep? And once you got it, where do you store your valuable commodity? Logistics in cacao are diverse but also challenging. Discover the options and hear how other chocolate makers have overcome their challenges.
Speakers include: Ted Boereboom (Daarnhouwer), Nancy Zamierowski (Yellow Seed), Olga Yarovikova (Amazing Cacao)

15.00 – 16.00   Financing businesses: from crowdsourcing to traditional funding
What are the differences in scale and business models and how did others grow from small-scaled chocolate makers to medium sized chocolate makers? How do you finance the cacao and machines? Learn all about the opportunities and hear how to finance opportunities in a changing environment.
Speakers include: Enver Loke (Chocolatemakers), Michaël de Groot (Rabo Rural Fund)

16.00 – 17.00 Interactive chocolate tasting using the IICCT’s neural sensory profiling system
The International Institute of Chocolate and Cacao Tasting brings a new approach to chocolate and cacao evaluation based on neural sensory theory. Bring your smartphone and take part in live interactive tasting of origin chocolate.
Speakers: Maricel Presilla (Intl Chocolate Awards), Martin Christy (IICCT)

 17.00 – 17.45  Ask us anything
Experts of the previous sessions gather to hear your last questions and wrap up and closure of the programme.

17.45 Closure 
Closure of B2B events of Chocoa 2017 and optional drinks at the bar!

Chocoa 2017 will host 150 stands and 9.000 visitors during all Chocoa events. See the full Chocoa programme 2017 here.

Market place




Academy programme


During the European Markets Academy, you will join us on a journey through the heart of the cocoa industry in Amsterdam. Starting the day with a workshop programme at the historical trade center the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, you will be learn about the European market for chocolate. More on the programme here

After the seminars we will visit the harbor of Amsterdam for a tour to one of the largest cocoa warehouses. Hier you will receive a typical Dutch lunch. After the visit we will continue with a visit to the largest cocoa processor and a bean to bar chocolate making company. See here the programma of 2017.

Chocolate Makers’ Forum

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