Two pastry chefs have been named the victors in the search for creativity and innovation in Callebaut's "For the love of chocolate" challenge.
Ed Loftus, executive pastry chef of Jamie Oliver has claimed the top prize in the over 22's category and will join Thomas Leatherbarrow, pastry chef at Pollen Street Social in the under 22's on an once-in-a-lifetime visit to a cocoa plantation in Ghana.
The competition was open to chefs, chocolatiers and pâtissiers, who were invited to put a creative twist on one of the nation's top five chocolate desserts: brownie, cheesecake, cake, pudding and ice-cream.
The Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich from Loftus features two layers of chocolate chip cookie tuille, sandwiching layers of white chocolate parfait, roasted cocoa nib jelly, arriba chocolate, burnt caramel parfait and a molten gianduja centre. This is then half dipped in chocolate before rolling the edges in toasted nibbed hazelnuts.
"I love nostalgic desserts that remind us of growing up and reinventing these childhood favourites is a big passion of mine, said Loftus.
Leatherbarrow's creation incorporated Callebaut Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa) and Callebaut White Chocolate (28% cocoa) with smoked sea salt and whole pistachios for an ingenious twist on a chocolate brownie, served with vanilla cream and candied kumquats.
The judges were particularly impressed by the combination of flavours in this dessert and the attention to detail in the recipe to give a crisp top and bottom to the brownie, with a beautifully rich and chewy centre.
Callebaut's 'For the love of Chocolate' campaign has been developed to guide caterers through their chocolate choices and ensure dessert menus remain profitable by giving customers exactly what they want.
Robert Harrison, sales director at Callebaut explained: "Innovation is key in foodservice and with recent research highlighting that 66% of consumers want restaurants to offer more chocolate varieties it's time for chefs and operators to make the most of this demand.
"Thank you to everyone who entered; both Ed and Thomas have demonstrated how versatile chocolate is. We are truly impressed with their recipes and are delighted to be able to reward them for their efforts with this once-in-a-lifetime trip."
For more information on the campaign and recipe ideas visit www.fortheloveofchoc.com