Events Diary

2nd BSF Symposium on Chocolate
Friday 25 October 2024
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Location Brussels
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Thursday 24th October

6.30 pm Social Dinner

Friday 25th October

8.00-8.30 Welcome Coffee

8.30-9.30 Peter Schieberle: Understanding Chocolate Aroma: On the way from cocoa seeds to chocolate consumption

9.30-10.00 Jimena Gomez de la Flor: The European Flavour Association distilled: Anticipation through regulation, influence via advocacy, and amplification through communication. A brief exploration of how EFFA's initiatives can empower the craft of flavourists.

10.00-10.45 Michel Aubanel: The technology behind cocoa flavour

10.45-11.00 Coffee Break

11.00-11.45 Erica Liberto: Cocoa flavour quality and artificial intelligence in the industry 4.0 (HYBRID EVENT)

11.45-12.30 Andrea Albertino: Have you ever thought about using these chemicals in a chocolate flavour?

12.30-1.30 Networking Lunch

1.30-2.15 Zoi Papalexandratou, Clay Gordon: Quantifying the Flavours of Cocoa and Chocolate

2.15-3.00 David Nilsen: From Pod to Pint: Unlocking Surprising Flavors & Harmonies Between Craft Beer & Craft Chocolate

3.00-3.15 Closing



Univ. Prof. (em.) Dr. Peter Schieberle studied chemistry at the Technische Universität Aachen and Food Chemistry at the Universität Bonn and received his PhD from the Technische Universität München (TUM) in 1980. After his habilitation at TUM, he was appointed as lecturer at the Universität of Erlangen-Nürnberg(1988), as associate professor (Privatdozent) at TUM (1989), and Full Professor for Food Chemistry at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal in 1993. Starting in 1995, he held the Chair for Food Chemistry at the TUM and was the Director of the German Research Center for Food Chemistry of the Leibniz Society (DFA). Peter Schieberle has supervised 108 PhD students and seven of them started a university career and became professor at different universities. Peter is co-author of the well-known Food Chemistry textbook (together with Profs. Belitz and Grosch) and has received several national and international awards, for example the Young Scientist Award of the German Chemical Society (Kurt-Täufel-Award) in, the “Koenig-Medal” of the German Chemical Society for his outstanding research in the area of food chemistry or the Annual Award of the Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society for his outstanding research in food and agriculture. In 2013, he has been elected as a member of the L’Academie d’Agriculture de France and is currently professor emeritus at the Technical University of Munich, Faculty of Chemistry. His scientific achievements have been published in nearly 500 publications.


Jimena has over 15 years of experience working in Communications and European Affairs. She currently works as Communications Director for the European Flavour Association (EFFA) developing and implementing its communication strategy. She studied journalist in Spain and previously worked as a Senior Communication Officer at the European Commission Information Service and at other European Associations and Institutions 


Michel Aubanel, MSc is the Global Flavour Ingredients Director linking team in various region, China, North America, Brazil, Europe. Michel’s job is to explore new raw materials all over the world and find ways to improve not just the health of people, but also the planet. Michel holds a Master in Chemical Engineering and Organic Chemistry from University Marseille in France. He has 35+ years’ experience in the flavour industry, has worked with companies like Mane, Sanofi/Degussa, Cargill and Kerry Taste & Nutrition. This year he celebrates 10 years with Kerry. Michel is an active mentor of more than 25 young technicians trained and also graduates in Naas (Ireland). His knowledge and expertise have been captured on 8 scientific publications. He also holds 3 patents and a great number of scientific publications. He specialises on Natural Extracts, Chemistry, biochemistry, liquid flavours and powder flavours. Active member of IOFI (International Organization of the Flavor Industry) since 2008 as a recognized Science Board Member where he is part of various TaskForce. He also supports communities as an active member since 2005 of "Fleurs de Batie" in France and Burkina Faso as supporting various Kerry Sustainable program as the “Tsara Kalitao” for the Kerry organic and sustainable vanilla beans.


Erica Liberto obtained her Master's degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology at the University of Turin in 2001. In November 2001, she received a scholarship for a two-year research internship from the University of Turin as part of the project "Characterisation and temporal evolution of the flavour profile of alcohol/cherries through chemical analysis combined with chemiometric analysis", funded by Soremartec (Ferrero Group). In 2003, she received a research grant from the University of Turin for a research project entitled "Characterisation of the chemical and organoleptic Robusta fresh harvest (Robusta project), green coffee and roasted coffee". In 2009, she obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Turin with a thesis on "Approaches to accelerate the analysis of volatile fractions of plant matrices". In 2019, she became Associate Professor of Food Chemistry at the Dipartimento di Scienza e Tecnologia del Farmaco of the University of Turin.

Since 2006, Erica Liberto has coordinated and supervised several research projects funded by food companies, focusing in particular on integrated and advanced analytical approaches linked to chemometric tools for the analysis of foods and medicinal plants.

The research interests focus on: (a) the development of approaches to accelerate chromatographic separations and integrated solutions for sampling and detection in the qualitative and quantitative characterisation of food samples; (b) chemometric tools useful in profiling target and non-target metabolites and in fingerprinting associated with rapid analytical techniques with a view to on-line technological transfer; (c) applications of "omics" approaches in the discovery of markers related to nutrition or in the definition of the metabolic fineprint. Her research activities and international collaborations are described in 88 publications in international journals and 12 book chapters, oral communications and posters at national and international conferences.


Andrea Albertino received his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 2010 and started working for Kerry (former San Giorgio Flavours site) soon after. The company went through many ownerships, last Kerry Group, before shutting activities down a few years later. This was his first encounter with the world of flavours, specifically learning about flavour encapsulation and raw materials. He moved to Ireland within Kerry in 2013 working mainly in sweet and beverage flavour formulation, before joining Esarom Austria in 2017 continuing the development of flavours for the same end use markets. 

He joined the British Society of Flavourists during the pandemic and became Honorary President in 2023; the Society is active organising online webinars and in presence events, recording podcasts with relevant figures of F&F industry and university, publishing an online magazine (New Flavourist) as well as collaborating with the British Society of Perfumers, Society of Cosmetic Scientists, Flavour Horizons, with the ultimate scope of promote flavour knowledge across the industries. 


Zoi Papalexandratou holds a MSc in Food Science & Oenology and a PhD that dealt with a study of cocoa bean fermentation processes worldwide. Zoi joined Corporate Xoco in 2011 as Head of R&D and in 2013 she continued as Head of R&D/Post-harvest Manager for Ingemann Fine Cocoa with main focus the unique flavor development in cocoa. In 2015 she co-founded ZOTO a consultancy company specialized in cocoa related projects, striving for the production of unique quality cocoa beans. From the Americas to Africa and all the way to Asia, her commitment is to link the chocolate maker with specialty cocoa providers and help them make their product a reference in the market.
Zoi executes in Belgium all quality and evaluation projects and travels to cocoa producing origins for short term
consultancy visits and/or trainings to enhance the cocoa quality. The founders of ZOTO, both engineers in bio applied sciences, have a cocoa experience in more than 20 cocoa origins. For the producer, they ensure extraction of the best flavor potential of the beans, development of custom made post harvest protocols, training for knowledgeable farm management and post harvest processing, ago to market strategy (from business plan to infrastructure designs to niche market penetration) and of course production of award winning cocoa beans. For the chocolate maker, we assist in producing award winning chocolate bars by finding unique, fully traceable lots or flavor steering during post harvest process towards the desired flavor.
Lutheran World Relief (LWR), ZOTO, and Guittard Chocolate, in collaboration with the Cacao of Excellence Program, unveiled the Cacao Flavor Map in 2017, which included the flavor profiles of cacao supplied by producer organizations in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras. The Cacao Flavor Map is a visual tool illustrating the origins and the organoleptic characteristics of cacao offered by producer organizations which have undergone a process to optimize harvest and post harvest practices for consistency in their flavor profiles allowing cocoa producers to better connect with buyers that are looking for unique flavor profiles, who will be able to quickly identify the sources for the cocoa flavors, profiles and characteristics they are seeking.
Thanks to Maximizing Opportunities for Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas (MOCCA) program, led by LWR and in collaboration with ZOTO, the map is expanded to include 53 new flavor profiles from Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru, bringing a new dimension to the cocoa quality diversification and appreciation of these renowned cocoa origins. The last three years ZOTO strives for quality enhancement of cocoa of African origins and through strategic collaborations its mission is to bring African cocoa again in the front line. Among other projects, as member of the Beyond Chocolate Sustainability Platform, ZOTO is leader partner for a cocoa project in DRC focusing on deforestation free premium cocoa production and export. Also, the joint efforts of ITC MARKUP and ZOTO have helped Ugandan SMEs upgrade their knowledge about cocoa handling from farm to bag by introducing creative ways for quality enhancement and empowering their marketing strategy.


Clay Gordon earned a BFA in Photography from Rhode Island School of Design in 1983. After graduation, he embarked on a tech career that spanned computer graphics, interactive multimedia, high definition video, Internet application development, and information technology. Clay became interested in chocolate in 1994 after discovering single-origin chocolate bars made by the Bonnat family. This inspired him to begin a seven-year quest to become the world’s first professional chocolate critic, a journey that included selling high-end European chocolate brands to chefs at some of the most respected restaurants, hotels, and cultural venues in NYC.
From early 2001, when he launched the seminal news, ratings, and reviews website, Clay has been a thoughtful observer of the complex and fascinating worlds of cocoa and chocolate. He combines extensive personal experience visiting cocoa farms in many countries, artisan workshops to industrial factories, to the tables of thousands of chocolate fans with in-depth desk research and informed analysis.
Following the publication of Discover Chocolate in 2007, Clay founded the independent online community in early 2008. Over the ensuing fourteen years, registered membership in TheChocolateLife has grown to span more than 160 countries on every continent except Antarctica. Today he makes a living as an advisor and consultant working with a wide variety of clients, from small specialty chocolate makers to industrial giants, from estate cocoa farms to with NGOs and government ministries in cocoa-producing countries. He used his design background to construct a flavor visualization used by the Cocoa of Excellence, among others. He is a regular guest at international conferences and has been an expert resource for
television documentaries and respected industry and general interest newspapers and magazines, is the technical editor at International Confectionery Magazine, and hosts the twice- weekly live stream series TheChocolateLifeLIVE.


David Nilsen is a beer writer and educator living near Dayton, Ohio. He's an Advanced Cicerone© and a member of the North American Guild of Beer Writers. He hosts the Bean to Barstool podcast, and is the co-founder and editor of Final Gravity, A Beer Zine, as well as the author of Pairing Beer and Chocolate. You can find him online at and on social @davidnilsenbeer.


The event will be hosted by EFFA which is located in Brussels City Ceter (Av. des Arts 6, 4th Floor), approximately 13km from the closest airport (Brussels Internation Airport).

Main train station is 2km from the EFFA premises. 


Courtyard Brussels, only 5 min walk from EFFA premises. Book your corporate rate for European Flavour Association (EFFA)

Martin’s hotel, 12-15min walk from the office and next to the European Commission. 

NH hotel Berlaymont: in front of Martin’s hotel.

Thon Hotel is also walking distance from EFFA. 

Double Tree hotel by Hilton, 15 min walk from our office.