The Taste of Chocolate
An Investigation of the Nature of Taste
Professors Joseph D. Sloan
After eating a bowl of
chocolate ice cream,
Along with our investigation of taste, we also will look at several other topics involving chocolate:
The history of chocolate first as food and beverage
for the elite —
· The complex process by which chocolate is produced from beans found in the pods of cacao trees and transformed into candy bars by industrial candy-makers and fine truffles by chocolatiers, the high artists of the chocolate world.
· The ways chocolate can be used as an intrinsic food and as a component in other foods.
Students in the "Taste of Chocolate" project will participate in several activities:
· Taste testing: Every day, we will do several "mouths-on" taste tests designed to educate students' palettes and hone their ability to discuss tastes and smells. We will have a chance to taste a lot of chocolate (see picture at right)!
· Demonstrations: Once a week, we will meet in the kitchen for culinary demonstrations and preparations for tomorrow's cooking session
Cooking: On each Tuesday we will hold hands-on cooking sessions in
which small teams of students prepare several dishes made from chocolate.
Cooking sessions will be
scheduled throughout the day, a
· Lecture/Discussions: On days in which we are not cooking, we will meet for more traditional in-class sessions covering the history, economics, sociology, and science of chocolate.
Films: Once a week, we will view a
· Outside Reading and Assignments: Generally, students will have assigned reading that must be completed before the next day's class.
· No Friday afternoon, evening, or weekend activities are anticipated.
|Some of the chocolate arrives|
· Learn how to intelligently describe and discuss flavors.
· Begin learning about the science of taste and cooking, while learning or refining some basic cooking skills.
· See how cultural influences affect our sense of taste and appreciation of food.
· Learn how chocolate, as both a beverage and a food, has played a role in several different cultures for more than three millennia.
· Develop an appreciation of fine chocolates including varietals, regional or estate chocolates, and (subject to availability) vintage chocolates
Grades in this project are Honors, Pass, and Fail
The primary criterion for passing is class attendance, active participation in the course, and completion of projects. The projects will include taste testing, during which a detailed tasting journal must be kept, and cooking. Students also will be responsible for purchasing some of the food for the cooking exercises. Students with excused absences will be required to do outside projects to make up for missed classes. Unexcused absences will not be allowed.
Any student desiring a grade of honors will be given extra assignments and projects to complete.
All students are required to purchase the following three books, portions of which we will read during the project:1. Coe, S. D.; Coe, M. D; The True History of Chocolate. 2nd. Ed. London: Thames & Hudson, 2007.
2. Doutre-Roussel, C. The Chocolate Connoisseur. Piatkus Books, 2007.3. McGee, H. On Food and Cooking. New York
We also will distribute several photocopied handouts for students to read.
of the project, beyond the required books, will be $300. Students will
be required to bring a $200 deposit (in the form of a check made out to
Wofford College) to the first class on November 27. (Students
failing to make arrangements to pay the deposit
by the end of class on November 27
will be administratively dropped from the course.
For students dropping the interim, the deposit is refundable
only if another student takes the student’s
place in the interim.
The remaining $100
deposit may be paid on January 3. Deposits will be used to
purchase items such as ingredients for cooking sessions, food for taste
tests, chocolate, nose kits, and photocopying. Any part of the deposit
not used at the end of the Interim will be returned to the students.
estimated cost of the books is around $80
for new copies of the book. On-line
discounts and used books may be
Wolfe, J. M., et al.
Perception. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, 2005. p 341Tummy
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994, p120.
Last updated on: 4-Jan-2007