Title: Bitter Sweet
For my Senior Project, I decided to learn about the history of chocolate and the fair trade aspect of it. Throughout the process, I have learned to make chocolate with my outside consultant, Miche Bacher, who works in Greenport. It is with her that I created my own Ōsignature trufflesĶ. I made a book that consists of various recipes and short essays on different topics like history, fair trade, or psychology of chocolate.
In my presentation I incorporated topics on my project that I thought were most important to discuss, such as; a description overview, my process, my goals, the challenges I encountered trying to accomplish my goals, the skills and self discovery I acquired and future goals for myself.
I chose chocolate because it is one of the oldest delicacies known to mankind. Way back to the time of the Ancient Mayans and Aztecs, only the very elite drank cocoa. I thought it was interesting because of how long the history of chocolate is and the amazing benefits you can receive from it.
In May of last year I first met with Carrie
Clark, my mentor for my senior project. Ms. Clark could gladly offer her help
to the history and fair trade part of my essay as well as editing my mini
essays, however we werenÕt sure who would be able to teach me to make
chocolate. There are various cooks at the
One of my first goals was to gain knowledge
of chocolate. The online school that I joined was very helpful because it
provided various links on the history of chocolate which was a huge resource
for my project. Also I was able to get a lot of information from books such as:
Chocolate by Christine Mcfadden and Christine France, which one of my
fellow peers lent me. Teachers were also aware of when they read something on
chocolate and would give me articles such as: When Chocolate is a Way of
Life by Jill Santopietro. I also was wandering through
Another goal I had was to learn how to temper chocolate and create my own recipes. I learned how to temper chocolate through various mishaps and a few arguments with my dad. I learned for certain that chocolate and water do not mix, and I found that out the hard way when my dad by accident poured the water from the double boiler into my bowl with the melted chocolate. I also learned two different ways to temper; by hand and by seeding. The hand method is when you pour the melted chocolate onto a large, cold marble slab and slide the chocolate across with a palate knife (always keeping the chocolate moving). The seeding method is when you keep all of the melted chocolate in a melted boiler and simply raise and lower the temperature when needed. I found that the seeding method was better for me. The temperature has to be raised up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then down to around 84 degrees Fahrenheit and then up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Causing the heat of the chocolate to reach each of these temperatures is the most important part of tempering. One of the major challenges with tempering chocolate was that the temperature is very precise and can be easily ruined. If the chocolate goes out of temper (doesnÕt stay at the accurate temperature) then when it hardens, a ŌbloomĶ will appear on the surface. This is a white growth that will cover the surface usually in swirls. It was also difficult to find ingredients that worked well together for truffles. However, I learned for example that white chocolate and honey wouldnÕt be a good mix for a truffle, because the taste would be overwhelmingly sweet. However, dark chocolate and honey would be fine because dark chocolate is bitter and the contrast would be nice on the palate.
Creating a recipe book was a big goal and one that I was very worried that I would not be able to accomplish. First I met with Lara, and she helped me find a program that would be best for a book that would include a lot of photograph space. So, we decided Lulu would be a good choice. Then, I had to figure out who the layout of the cookbook would be with Ms. Clark. It was difficult to decide which essays would match up with which recipes, but we finally came to a conclusion and decided on a layout that would work. The challenges I encountered with making my recipe book was the process of composing the essays and editing drafts because I am not usually good with criticism so I had to edit them a few times. Also, using Lulu was a huge challenge because I am not very savvy with technology and I had never used a publishing program before. So, I had to sit down and learn how to become comfortable with the site, and gradually I reached my goal and completed my cookbook.
The skills I learned were to make chocolate, become better at factual essay writing, and to learn how to use lulu (or other publishing programs), which will be very helpful in the future. I learned that IÕm impatient but I can learn to make any kind of food if I have a recipe and the right equipment.
I also learned that IÕm a lot more interested in the process of making chocolate than researching it. For the future, making chocolate will probably remain a hobby of mine, but I donÕt think I will pursue it as a career. It will also always be something that IÕm proud of, and although I do not think I will become a chocolatier, it was a great skill to have acquired and I know now for sure that my love for chocolate will never die.
Suellentrop, Chris. The End of Guilt-Free Chocolate. 2007. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008. <http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/02/14/the-end-of-fuilt-free-chocolate/?emc=eta1>.
Mcfadden, Christine and France, Christine. Chocolate.
Dittmar, H.F.K. Martelli. Cacao
Fermentation. 20 Feb. 2008. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008.
Fermentation of Cacao. 5 Oct. 2008. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008. <http://www.cacaoweb.net/cacao-beans.html>.
Tsang, Gloria. Health Benefits of Chocolate. 2008. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008.
Bonneville, Marguerite. Can Chocolate Benefit Your Health? 2005. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008. <http://www.annamariavolpi.com/chocolate01.html>.
Schmidt. ChocolateÕs Potential Health Benefits- and its Effect on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients. 2008. Viewed 10 Nov. 2008. <http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?id=3464&t=CFIDS_FM>.
Community Member (Details)
Miche Bacher was my outside consultant, who currently lives in Greenport and is a chocolatier who owns a shop called Sacred Sweets.