Qzina Specialty Foods, the premier importer and distributor of specialty chocolate, pastry and dessert ingredients in North America, today announced the grand opening of the Qzina Institute of Chocolate & Pastry. Located in Irvine, California, the Qzina Institute is a world-class training and R&D facility designed for chocolatiers and pastry chefs. The institute’s opening was planned in conjunction with Qzina’s 30th anniversary and marks a significant milestone for the company.

Pioneered by Qzina Founder and CEO, Richard Foley, the new $3.5 million institute will make Southern California a premier destination for chefs and food enthusiasts alike who are looking to expand upon their dessert and pastry skills and explore new techniques in quality chocolate and pastry making.

The Qzina Institute features a state-of-the-art demonstration auditorium with a fully-equipped test kitchen where presentations led by top pastry chefs and master chocolatiers will be held. The collaboration between culinary peers and industry professionals provides an incredible setting for the exchange of creativity and a place where desserts and pastries are taken to the next level. The institute also features a showroom displaying Qzina’s industry leading brands where customers can select and order the best products from America’s largest collection of professional chocolate, dessert and pastry ingredients.

“The vision of the Qzina Institute is to provide a place for professionals to experience the best of the chocolate and pastry industry,” said Foley. “Our goal is to help chefs expand their dessert repertoire and bring new creations to their guests. Customers who visit the institute will be inspired and surprised with what they can make and learn.”

Truly unique to the confectionery world, the Qzina Institute offers a Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Lab where participants can make their own chocolate, from start to finish. During an exciting two-day program, Qzina takes guests through the history of chocolate, from the Mayan origins to modern day production. Attendees learn first-hand how to roast, winnow, grind, refine and conche chocolate. The cocoa beans used in the Bean-to-Bar Experience are selected personally by Foley who travels around the world to search for cocoa beans with the perfect blend of unique origins and exceptional flavors.

“The Qzina Institute is the only place in North America where customers can experience the process of roasting their own beans and the artistry of making fine, handcrafted chocolate,” said Foley. “The Bean-to-Bar Experience represents Qzina’s deep appreciation for experimenting with only the highest quality cocoa beans in their truest form. Making chocolate from the bean to the bar is an unforgettable process that any chef will thoroughly enjoy.”

To celebrate the grand opening of the Qzina Institute and the company’s 30th anniversary, Qzina is planning a big surprise that will attract worldwide attention. This colossal unveiling will excite chocolate lovers all around the globe.

For more information and to view the current Bean-to Bar and event schedule visit www.qzina.com. Please note that the Qzina Institute is not currently open to the public. Interested parties are welcome to register for the Bean-to-Bar program and product demonstrations listed on the website.