AMS Spring 2023

Smart Gastronomy Lab Spinoff 3D Prints Chocolate Easter Shapes and Beer Bottles

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[Image: La Miam Factory]

Easter is in just a few days, and this particular holiday brings with it one of my favorite candies: Brach’s jelly beans. I’m not one for Cadbury cream eggs at Easter (editor’s note: I’ll take them!), and while those chocolate Easter bunnies are pretty adorable, they’re just too much for me to eat. I’ve never been a really big chocolate fan in general. But I’m pretty sure I’d make an exception for the beautiful 3D printed chocolate confections from La Miam Factory in Belgium. The business is appropriately named, as the word “miam” is French for “yum.”

The startup chocolate company was recently spun off from the nearby Smart Gastronomy Lab (SGL) at the University of Liège. The SGL focuses on innovative technology research in the food and beverage sector, and operates four separate, specialized 3D printers; it memorably stated that the 3D printer could also be known as the “microwave of tomorrow” after its first International Conference on Food 3D Printing back in 2015.

Gaetan Richard, founder of the Miam Factory 3D printing chocolate company, displays three-dimensional Easter-themed shapes after being printed at Belgian chocolate company Miam Factory in Gembloux, Belgium.

La Miam Factory has some confectionery 3D printing competition in the form of fellow Belgian chocolatier Callebaut, which presented Belgium’s King Philippe with a 3D printed chocolate bust of his own head, and the GoAhead Digital marketing agency, which aimed to use 3D printed chocolate to gain new customers. But the way most people see it, the more 3D printed chocolate, the better!

La Miam Factory’s specialized, AFSCA-certified printer, which was developed at the SGL, uses melted chocolate to make custom 3D printed objects, which take anywhere from 10 minutes to three hours to print. Luckily, if you have to wait several hours for your 3D printed chocolate, La Miam Factory says that it’s ready to eat as soon as it comes off the print bed.

According to La Miam Factory’s (translated) website, “Today, the use of chocolate as a matrix leads to the production of novel shapes which can not be carried out by conventional chocolate working techniques (for example molding). The chocolate used can be of different natures (white, blond, milk, black) and is worked as a chocolatier, without adding additives.”

The company receives orders of all sizes, from individual customers to businesses and hotels, and the price ranges depending on the type of chocolate used (white dark chocolate is the most popular choice), and the size and shape of the desired 3D printed object. La Miam Factory also offers laser engraving services to its clients, and uses a laser cutter to customize chocolate and macarons with a logo or personalized message: perfect for company events or a special gift.

A recent client that took advantage of La Miam Factory’s unique 3D printed chocolates is Belgian brewery Bertinchamps. A Bertinchamps location not far from La Miam Factory was hoping to offer a unique, custom prize to the winners of an Easter egg hunt, and asked La Miam Factory to 3D print some chocolate beer bottles. The startup obviously accepted the order, and certainly delivered, using 24.6 meters of chocolate to 3D print the beer bottles in less than three hours. Discuss in the 3D Printed Chocolate forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Reuters / Images: Francois Lenoir, Reuters, unless otherwise stated]

 

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