The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company joined The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to open the Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center. The facility, located at the college’s Greystone campus in St. Helena, California, was dedicated on March 4, with an unveiling and ribbon cutting using giant chocolate scissors.

In the Center, CIA students learn the science of chocolate and explore how quality chocolate can be used in baking, pastry, culinary, and beverage settings. It is home to the Chocolate and Confectionery Technology and Techniques course for baking and pastry arts degree students at the CIA. The center also houses advanced education for professionals who want to hone their confectionery and chocolate making and sculpturing skills, as well as basic pastry arts classes for food enthusiasts.

“The rapid pace of innovation in the foodservice industry constantly creates new demands for specialized skills and knowledge,” says CIA president Tim Ryan. “This exciting partnership will both inspire students and professionals to shape the future of the pastry arts and also delight chocolate aficionados everywhere.”

“The Ghirardelli Company vision is to change the way the U.S. consumer experiences chocolate. All of us at Ghirardelli share a passion for our brand and a strong belief in its potential to connect with and engage consumers in all settings. We are excited to extend our passion to our foodservice business,” says Marty Thompson, president and CEO of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. “This partnership offers a unique opportunity to show future chefs first-hand the impact that our high quality chocolate can have on their menu. In turn, we look forward to having these chefs’ creativity and passion inform and influence our new recipes and product innovations.”

“Ghirardelli is committed to enhance our presence within the chef community. What better way is there than to partner with the prestigious CIA? The relationship with the CIA is a natural fit because their students are the future leaders of the industry segments we serve, such as restaurants, bakeries, and specialty coffee establishments,” says Christopher Eklem, the company’s vice president of foodservice.

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Discovery Center is centrally located on the first floor of the main building, where campus visitors can see students at work through the show windows. Many items produced there will be available for purchase in the Spice Islands Marketplace and Flavor Bar at the CIA at Greystone.

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