Is cooking an art? This was the question raised to presenters during StarChef’s 5th Annual International Chef’s Congress. Puratos seized the opportunity to present Belcolade’s Food Pairings.

The StarChef’s 5th Annual International Chef’s Congress (ICC) requires the flavor profile of each origin chocolate to be analyzed at a molecular level. Each profile is then compared to a database of several hundred foods and beverages and is then matched with those that share the same major flavor components. Designed for chocolatiers, bakers, patissiers and chefs, this tool was developed to inspire creativity and allow professionals to create their own unique and original recipes that exceed consumer expectations for exceptional taste.

Dominique Persoone, Belgium’s most well-known “Shock-o-latier,” and food scientist Bernard Lahousse, dazzled the crowd with four concepts that showcased Puratos’ Belcolade’s food-pairing experience. Before each experience, a video began, a scent was released into the crowd and everyone was presented with a chocolate praline made of Belcolade chocolate, developed to replicate each particular experience.

Participants also tasted a concept made of Belcolade chocolate from Vanuatu that has a strong but delightful cocoa flavor with a hint of coffee and spice. Next, they enjoyed a rich, dark Belcolade chocolate from Uganda, with a supreme cocoa taste and hints of earthiness, mushrooms and a subtle smoky flavor and a jelly center. Then, everyone enjoyed Belcolade Peru Origin chocolate with a slightly bitter cocoa taste and a fresh fruity note accentuated by a dried fruit bouquet, paired with a raw oyster inside.

Everyone then tasted a Belcolade Grenada Origin chocolate praline, which has a striking milk and distinct toffee flavor along with a subtle hint of fresh walnuts. This was paired with salt on the outside of the praline and a pipette filled with tequila that was injected into the chocolate-the chocolate was also filled with a lime ganache. Chocolate shooters and chocolate lipstick were also presented to a group.

The end of the ICC was the culmination of the 1st annual Pastry Chef Competition. The finalists were required to create a chocolate center piece, bonbon and Entremets all featuring Belcolade chocolate. One of the winners received a round-trip, four-night stay in Costa Rica with a visit to a Rainforest Alliance Certified Cocoa Plantation where Belcolade sources its Costa Rica cocoa beans. This trip was courtesy of Puratos Corp., based in Cherry Hill, N.J.