17 Feb 2020
According to Chocolate Expert Michel Eyckerman, the sky is the limit especially when it comes to chocolate creations. Today, his 13 years of experience at Belcolade, in during which he developed himself as patissier and chocolatier, allow him to travel all over the globe and share everything there is to know about chocolate with customers. It’s time for an introduction.
When you are on the lookout for chocolate inspiration, just talking to Michel Eyckerman is a great way to get started. In conversation with Belcolade’s Chocolate Expert, you’ll soon learn that he lives and breathes chocolate. But when he was younger, he had a whole different path mapped out for him. “When I was young, I was very interested in science, but that didn’t work, I have to admit”, Michel explains. After that, he chose to go to a school for Gastronomy, where he made the decision to devote himself to patisserie, bakery and chocolate. And a good choice that was!
Michel describes himself as a typical all-rounder: pralines, chocolate decorations, patisserie; they keep no secrets from him. “From high-end artistic to semi-industrial, as an inspirator I love to help our customers bring their chocolate creations to the next level.”
During his career in chocolate, he discovered that in order to keep developing your skills and knowledge, you really need to develop a passion for the product you work with. “The more you experiment and try new things, the more you achieve ー and you’ll learn that the sky is the limit”, Michel says.
At Belcolade we provide various demonstrations and trainings. A lot of our customers are located in countries where there are no educational programmes dedicated to chocolate. Globally, Puratos has 600 demonstrators who inspire and motivate their customers to take their creations to the next level. Michel: “After a couple of years of doing this, you see that dedication pays off: we regularly receive feedback from our customers in which they tell us they highly appreciate our commitment and expertise.”
As Chocolate Expert, Michel prides himself on being transparent: “What you see is what you get. Everything I know about chocolate, I try to pass on to my colleagues and our customers.” The same goes for his relationship with customers. “I always try to be open, friendly and humble. I am a coach and mentor and like to be approachable for our customers.” But that is not all that makes Michel proud to be a part of the Belcolade team: “Sharing the love for chocolate and co-creation is what it’s all about. With our 30 years of experience in chocolate making, I can honestly say that we produce the best quality Belgian chocolate on the market. Not only for the ingredients we use and our methods of production, but also for the best possible flavour and mouthfeel we provide with our chocolate. With that knowledge we go beyond details.”
Giving demonstrations all over the globe for five years now, Michel has gathered many beautiful and memorable stories to tell: “We recently organised a Belgian Chocolate Night in ‘La Pedrera’, the Gaudí Museum in Barcelona.” Belgian Chocolate Night is an event in cooperation with the local Belgian embassy. On these events, there is the opportunity to promote the real Belgian chocolate of Belcolade to local customers. The attending Chocolate Expert also makes a chocolate piece related to the location, showcasing the endless possibilities that real Belgian chocolate has to offer.
“Being in La Pedrera, and being able to receive people from all over Southern Europe to share experiences and work together, made me emotional and will stay with me for the rest of my life.” The chocolate piece that Michel has crafted was inspired by the art and architecture of Antoni Gaudí himself.
So what is Michel’s own source of inspiration? “It’s important to always have an open mind and look around for inspiration from other artists. Look into the details of art or buildings you’re inspired by, the materials and techniques that are applied. And then try to translate that into chocolate creations. Inspiration comes from experimenting. You try new things with different ingredients, they might fail, but from that experience comes new techniques.”
Interested in following Michel’s activities? Check out his Instagram-page where he regularly updates his chocolate-filled whereabouts.