What It’s Like to Take the Master Pastry Chocolatier Exam in Germany

The road to perfection is endless and is what inspires us as we continue on our journey crafting innovative and high-quality chocolates. While it is crucial that we continue to always look forward, it’s important to pause and reflect on the important events that have left a lasting impression along the way. One of the milestone events in our story is being awarded the honor of German Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier.

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What could have been a short-term sabbatical to Europe in the ’90s for our Master Chocolatier, Christopher Curtin, turned into a fourteen-year stint abroad. Originally seeking a change professionally and culturally, during his European residency he found the opportunity to hone his creative skills and gain professional credentials as a true Master Chocolatier. Obtaining the title of Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier is not an easy feat. It’s a multi-day challenge filled with an intense three-day practical exam, two-day written exam, and one-day question-and-answer exam in front of the board of Meisters. Working under constant scrutiny from master judges and enduring the judgmental palates of some of Germany’s most experienced pastry chefs and chocolatiers, Chris was evaluated on every level and detail of confectionery.

To prepare for the five-day test Chris spent his time practicing modern and traditional techniques and getting acquainted with traditional styles of pastry that would help him during the exam. The aggressive exam schedule included challenges to determine expertise in executing technique, professionalism, timing, and all-around kitchen skills worthy of the title of Konditor Meister. Leaning on his reactions and on guidance from mentors in the past, he mastered this true test of taste, artistry, and knowledge during this five-day exam in Cologne, Germany.

“It was passion that led me to Europe for a change, and drive that propelled me through the exam. Throw in the fact that it was all in German, and that definitely made it even more interesting.” Afterwards Chris continued to pick and choose which country and artisan to work with. “In every country I learned techniques and skills that made me more well rounded and have helped improve our overall product at Éclat. It was the dedication of the craftsmen I worked with who took the time to pass down the older techniques which made the journey so incredible. It was after my tour in Belgium that I knew it was time to go back to the states.”

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Over his tenure Chris had opportunities to work in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. During this time he was introduced to all aspects of chocolate making, from sourcing beans and manufacturing (to the tune of 50,000 truffles a day) to small-scale artisan-style techniques. “I was very fortunate to experience it all. It was all fantastic.”

For future projects … check back often. In the meantime, discover for yourself (and your eager taste buds) what Bon Appetit has celebrated as the “best chocolates in America.”

Christopher Curtin is proud to share his art and experience with you through Éclat Chocolate, but his journey to become a Master Chocolatier began more than two decades ago as he honed his skills in the finest chocolate houses of Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Japan. Visit us in person at the Éclat Chocolate shop at 24 S. High St. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, or shop our chocolates and confections online. All of our world-class, design-driven, chef-inspired gourmet chocolates are made on the premises and are presented for your selection and purchase.

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