To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Qzina Specialty Foods in Irvine, Calif., broke a Guinness World Record for building the largest chocolate sculpture -- an ancient Mayan temple -- that weighs 18,239 pounds, far surpassing the previous record set in Italy in 2010 by more than 7,500 pounds.
In a news release, Qzina officials said they chose the Mayan theme because of the crucial role the culture played in the origins of chocolate. The Mayans were one of the first civilizations to cultivate cacao trees and discover the true potential of the cocoa bean.
Qzina's corporate pastry chef, Francois Mellet, was the lead architect on the project and Stephane Treand, a recognized Best Craftsman in France, lent his artistic touch to the sculpture's intricate design elements.
Mellet, together with his team, spent more than 400 hours constructing the structure out of solid chocolate.
"Breaking a Guinness World Record for building the largest chocolate sculpture will be Qzina's greatest masterpiece yet," said Richard Foley, founder and CEO of Qzina. "We studied Mayan pyramids at great lengths to create an exact replica of the Temple Kukulkan at Chichen Itza to honor the original chocolatiers. It was important for us to create something memorable in celebration of our 30th anniversary and the grand opening of the Qzina Institute of Chocolate & Pastry."
Built proportionally to the ancient temple’s true size, the solid chocolate pyramid is 6 feet tall and its base measures 10 feet by 10 feet -- exactly one-thirtieth the size. The sculpture’s base alone weighs more than 3,000 pounds.
"It’s amazing how far the company has come; from the basement of my family home to a key player in the specialty dessert industry," Foley said. "From day one, I’ve been as interested in the story behind the chocolate we source as the quality of the chocolate itself. We've built a rich 30-year history in the world of chocolate and pastry and I wanted to commemorate this milestone in a big way while showing our appreciation for where it all began."
The chocolate pyramid is on display at Qzina Institute of Chocolate & Pastry in Irvine.
Qzina said it plans to destroy the chocolate sculpture on Dec. 21, when the Mayan calendar comes to an end. The method for destruction is yet to be determined.
For more images of the pyramid click here.