Together with Costa’s corporate pastry chef & baker, Riccardo Bellaera, ‘ChocoCruise – Explore the World of Chocolate’ will see five of the world’s greatest master pastry chefs – all members of the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy and ambassadors of Barry Callebaut – give passengers the chance to discover the art of chocolate and chocolate-related pastry. 

Choco-themed ‘journey within a journey’   

During the November 17 to 24 voyage, Costa Toscana passengers will be able to experience chocolate dishes from breakfast to dinner. This includes savory dishes, tasting chocolate in all its variations and combinations, depending on the destination visited by the ship which will call in Genoa, Marseille, Barcelona, Cagliari, Naples, and Civitavecchia/Rome.

Throughout the week, there will be meetings and show cookings held by the pastry chefs and Bellaera, who will tell stories relating to their craft and share secrets from the kitchen, all while showing the preparation of the chocolate dish of the day.

Passengers will have the opportunity each day to attend workshops related to chocolate culture in the Lab, the ship’s galley laboratory, accompanied by tastings of the pastry masters’ signature dishes. 

Chocolate will also appear in beverages: owing to a partnership with Bacardi, two Italian master bartenders will present special and unique cocktails, using chocolate among their ingredients.

World leading pastry chefs 

The five pastry masters who will join the cruise are Alberto Simionato (Italy,) Joël Perriard (Switzerland,) Philippe Bertrand (France,) Ramon Morató (Spain,) and Alexandre Bourdeaux (Belgium.) 

Simionato studied at prestigious culinary schools, such as the Etoile Institute, where he discovered his passion for high level pastry. He has worked with distinguished chocolate chefs Cristian Beduschi, Stefano Laghi and Ramon Moratò. Since 2019, Simionato has been director of the Barry Calleabut Chocolate Academy in Milan.

In 2012, Perriard joined the Chocolate Academy Center as adviser and became head of the institution after three years. He completed his training as a confectioner in the atelier of Wodey-Suchard in Neuchâtel and later worked as a pastry chef in various restaurants. In 2010 he and his wife ran the Hacienda San Agustin de Callo, a boutique hotel in Ecuador. He has worked at the two Michelin-star restaurant Mesa in Zurich, won the Young Swiss Confiseur awards in Montreux and been awarded fourth place at the Swiss Championships for Young Confectioners in Lucerne.

Bertrand has experience as the head of the French Chocolate Academy and promoter of  Barry Callebaut brands, and has been with Barry Callebaut for over 30 years. 

Morató combined his studies with numerous courses offered at the school of the Barcelona Provincial Confectioners’ Association. During a period of internships at several of the best Spanish confectioners, he went to important schools and technical centers such as ZDS Solingen, Germany and the Richard Conseil School in Lyon, France. He then published ‘Ramon Morató Chocolate,’ which won the Best Cookbook in the World category on the subject of chocolate in 2007 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. In December 2016 he published the book ‘Four in One’ together with chefs Raul Bernal, Josep Maria Ribé and Miquel Guarro to mark the 20th anniversary of the Chocolate Academy Center in Barcelona. In July 2021 he published the book FILES, a compilation of his best recipes and projects from the last five years as the Cacao Barry creative director, along with new recipes created especially for the book. In recent years, he has taught courses, seminars and conferences all over the world, and worked on a project with Harvard University through the Alicia Foundation.

Bourdeaux started his career in a Michelin-star restaurant in Belgium before working in prestigious five-star hotels. He later became head of the Chocolate Academy in Belgium and led the opening of the new Chocolate Academy Callebaut in 2014. He continues collaborating with Callebaut, but also launched his own company in 2016, Pastry & Chocadvice, to give advice, help & solutions on pastry and chocolate. In March 2018, he launched ‘ganache solution’ online that helps chefs to monitor their own recipes. He was a judge, together with Paco Torreblanca, of the Italian television show Best bakery.

Riccardo Bellaera

Bellaera joined Costa as corporate pastry & bakery chef in 2012. His desserts are characterized by creativity and a balance of crispness, sweetness and acidity. He is a two-time winner of the ‘Luxury Pastry in the World’ award, and a recipient of the ‘World Pastry Stars’ award. In 2022 and again in 2023, Bellaera won the ‘Different Visions Great Ideas’ award at Sigep in Rimini, the International Exhibition of Ice Cream, Pastry and Bakery. In 2022, he became a member of the Ambassadors of Italian Pastry Excellence (A.P.E.I) as a pastry chef ambassador of Italian excellence. This year, he was named among the best pastry chefs in the world and ambassador of Italian catering sweets with Costa Cruises. He is a collaborator and friend of the master of international pastry masters, Iginio Massari.