The Dutch national selections took place on 22 & 23 of January during the European Fine Food Fair in Maastricht. As part of the World Chocolate Masters, an international contest and initiative of Barry Callebaut, worlds largest chocolate manufacturer. The five candidates were able to demonstrate their talents in front of five professional jury members and the public of the fair.
- Jan Blancke of "Da Vinci" chocolates
- Wil Doomen of the "Albeda" college
- Thom Gabie van Baars of Hotel Restaurant Bilderberg Lauswolt
- Hans van Noort of "Bakkers in bedrijf" magazine
- Philippe Vancayseele, technical advisor of Barry Callebaut
Frank Haasnoot did not only win the title of Dutch Chocolate Master, but he also won the finest ‘Taste Award’ for the best taste in general. Bart Jeroen van Overveld of "Arjan van Dijk" partycatering took second place. Hein Geers, product developer at Damco and winner of the previous Dutch selections in 2005 came third. Both second and third place were rewarded with an advanced chocolate course at the Chocolate Academy of Barry Callebaut in Wieze, Belgium.
On Monday the candidates had to make a high quality showpiece completely made of chocolate in only 3 hours. Frank Haasnoot based his showpiece on the famous VOC ship ‘The Flying Dutchman’.
One of the jury members, Jan Blancke of Da Vinci bonbons in Wormerveer, says:
“He was well prepared for the contest, which obviously showed in his showpiece. A piece like that must be practised on beforehand at least ten times. Just as important is to consider the environment in which the piece must be set up so you won’t encounter any surprises. In Paris this will be even more
important as the winner must deliver to perfection!”
Gerwin van Boekel's showpiece represented the same theme, although in a very different style. Unfortunately his showpieces collapsed in front of the public.
Bart-Jeroen van Overveld chose "Wodan" as the theme for his showpiece. Wodan stands for a furious idol, looking down on the earth.
Iris de Bes selected a myth on a mermaid, with waves and shells.
Hein Geers' showpiece represented the Lady of Stavoren, a rich lady that was doomed to end up in poverty for her lack of repect. The showpiece represented the fish that returned her ring which she had thrown into the sea. Geers' showpiece collapsed as well only 40 minutes before the end of the work period. Luckily, Hein acted very professionally and started rebuilding with an impressive speed, with spare parts he had made.
Pralines & Pastry
On Tuesday the contestants had to make two different pralines, a pastry and the mystery dessert.
Frank Haasnoot made a chocolate cake with the tastes of the VOC, like clove, star anis, cinnamon and vanilla, with a fresh cherry compote and chocolate mousse. One of his pralines was a half covered praline with layers and tastes of nougat and cardemom. The other praline was a combination of the tastes of vanilla, pistachio and caramel. His creative talent was expressed in the realization of his mystery dessert, with a bottom of paillete feuilletine and pecannuts, a darcoise with nibs and a hazelnut parfait with a sauce of red fruits, star anis and sereh.
Jan Blancke, also ambassador for Callebaut in The Netherlands, underlines the importance that young talent should get the opportunity to develop and practice their skills for contests. They will need support from both their family and employers as from professionals in the business.
The jury members and spectators of the Dutch Chocolate Masters all agreed that the level of the five contestants was exceptionally high. The jury had the very difficult task of selecting the one craftsman who will represent The Netherlands in the world finals. And what a motivated candidate he is!