This two-part workshop explores the history and present of chocolate production, from its natural origins in the jungles of Amazonia and Central America, via first domestication in Mesoamerica, to its spread around the world via colonialism, imperialism and capitalism. Dr. Benjamin Lawrance will consider the pre-historical processes of domestication of Theobroma cacao and contemporary agribusiness production. Dr. Ryan Kashanipour will shed light on the ethnobotanical properties of the plant and the magico-religious significance of cacao to ancient Mesoamerican cultures, the cooptation of cocoa by European civilizations, and the spread of cocoa production around the world. Dr. Silvana Martini will provide an introduction to the processes of refinement and confection of chocolate, and highlight new developments toward the marketing and sustainability of global production. Over two weeks, we will learn processing techniques and taste raw cacao much like ancient Mayans; we will imbibe the cocoa beverages of 14th century Aztecs and 18th century French aristocrats; and we will sample new chocolate confections celebrating the global diversity of industrial and artisanal production.
Registered participants will have the opportunity to purchase optional chocolate boxes for the tastings. The price of those chocolate boxes ($40 incl. shipping) is not included in the tuition.
To purchase the optional chocolate kit, please click here.
Week One: Discovery and Globalization
Introduction to course (Lawrance)
Mesoamerican Domestication, Religion, and Culture (Kashanipour) pairing: beans
Chocolate, Sugar and the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (Lawrance) pairing: nibs
Cultivation, Harvesting, Fermentation and Processing (Martini) pairing: chocolate liquor
Tasting & Processing: Raw Cocoa nibs; Refined chocolate; Creating cocoa paste; Aztec chocolātl; Spanish hot chocolate
Week Two: Refinement and Mass Consumption
The Invention of Modern Chocolate (Kashanipour) pairing: sweet chocolate
Cocoa Production and the Developing World (Lawrance) pairing: dark chocolate
Modern Confectionary Manufacture (Martini) pairing: cocoa butter and cocoa powder
Tasting & Processing: Refined chocolate; Baking with chocolate; New chocolate inventions