The Almond Board of California (California Almonds) has launched its Almond Butter and Chocolate Masterclass series, a collaboration with renowned Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts. This innovative partnership aims to bring a unique educational experience that offers valuable insights and practical skills, from formulations to flavor and texture considerations. 

The Almond Butter and Chocolate Masterclass series, led by master chocolatiers Isabel Garcia Nevett, Michelle Novosel and T Lawrence-Simon, will unlock the secrets of how almond butter is the ideal inclusion in chocolate products and what to know when formulating with almond butter.

California Almonds and Ecole Chocolat partnered to inspire innovation with almond butter and chocolate with the help of expert chocolatiers. Ecole Chocolat aims to elevate the craft of chocolate making by providing comprehensive education and support to aspiring chocolatiers and chocolate entrepreneurs. Isabel Garcia Nevett is a Venezuelan chocolatier with over a decade of experience and co-owner of Garcia Nevett Chocolatier de Miami. Michelle Novosel is co-owner and executive chocolatier of Pizzelles Confections and is an instructor for Ecole Chocolat. T Lawrence-Simon is a chocolatier and pastry chef, owner of Cirque du Souffle and Ecole Chocolat instructor, who has also been featured on cooking competitions including a chocolate television series. 

“Almond butter has the potential to elevate chocolate creations to new heights,” says Harbinder Maan, associate director of trade and marketing stewardship at the Almond Board of California. “Our hope is that this masterclass series will inspire food professionals to explore the possibilities of incorporating almond butter into their confections resulting in delicious chocolate products. Given the various flavor profiles and textures you can create with almond butter, the possibilities are endless through the incorporation of almond butter in chocolate.”

“Working with chocolate brings a world of creativity and exciting innovations, and adding almond butter to the mix only elevates the flavor and texture potential because of its versatility,” says Alysha Kropf, program and marketing director at Ecole Chocolat. “We’re eager to see how this masterclass inspires chocolatiers and pastry chefs to expand their imagination when it comes to developing confections.” 

Adding almond butter to chocolate products offers a variety of benefits, including enhanced flavor, texture and nutritional value. According to Innova Market Insights, the top product attribute influencing consumers when buying chocolate products is taste and flavor (59 percent). With that, almost 1 in 4 consumers globally are most likely to experiment with flavors in chocolate and chocolate confectionery. 

In the Masterclass, viewers will learn how each chef applies these consumer preferences in their own ways, from a vegan pink peppercorn almond butter chocolate bar to a modern lighter black forest cake tarte and more. Almond butter has a fairly neutral taste and can be made with roasted or unroasted almonds, making it the perfect foundation for playing with various flavors. With its customizable texture, whether creamy or crunchy, almond butter adds richness and depth to confections that also can be a delicious contrast to the sweetness of chocolate. Joining these two exceptional ingredients appeals to the growing trend of healthy indulgence consumers seek in their chocolate products. Almond butter can replace the creaminess in vegan-friendly chocolates as a great plant-based solution for chocolatiers to develop confections that fit within different lifestyles. Almonds have a natural, well-rounded nutrient package that offers numerous health benefits including fiber and protein content, essential fatty acids, polyphenols and antioxidant vitamin E.