By Jack Schofield and Waverly Colville
GEMBLOUX, Belgium (Reuters) - Layer by layer, 0.2 millimeters at a time, a specialized printing machine at Belgian chocolate shop Miam Factory applies melted chocolate to shape a three-dimensional object.
Miam Factory - French for "Yum" - was spun off three months ago from nearby University of Liege's Smart Gastronomy Lab, which researches technology in the food and beverages sector, and operates four specialized 3D printers.
The company produces 3D-printed chocolate objects and also engraves chocolates and macaroons with messages or logos for clients, such as nearby brewery Bertinchamps.
The brewery wanted a unique prize for the winners of an Easter egg hunt and ordered chocolate beer bottles.
The chocolate is ready to eat straight after printing, which can take from 10 minutes to three hours. The bottles for the Bertinchamps Brewery took just under three hours and used up 24.6 meters of chocolate.
The company gets orders from hotels, businesses and individual customers. Prices range greatly depending on what kind of size, shape and chocolate is required.
While dark chocolate is most popular, milk and white chocolate are also available.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson)