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FD 03 — Chocolate: From Commodity Crop to Ephemeral Luxury

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 30—Mar 19
Time: 5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Feb 1
Unit: 1
Tuition: $425
Instructor(s): Carla D. Martin, Jose Lopez Ganem
Limit: 110
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Jan 30—Mar 19
8 weeks
Refund Date
Feb 1
1 Unit
Carla D. Martin, Jose Lopez Ganem
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Chocolate. The word invokes images of rich desserts, steaming bowls of hot cocoa, and artistic displays of delicious truffles. The so-called "food of the gods" may be the most universally loved food in the world. What consumers experience as an ephemeral indulgence is also a crucial commodity crop for 5 million cacao producers worldwide, as well as the basis of global chocolate and confectionery markets valued at approximately $100 billion.

To love chocolate is to know it deeply enough to make informed decisions when buying and consuming it. In this course, we will explore the historical, cultural, and scientific implications of our society's fascination with chocolate. Together, we will learn about how cacao and chocolate move from the farm to your palate, engaging with questions of tropical agronomy, international trade and manufacturing, global politics, contemporary ethics, and social justice. Of course, the most satisfying way to learn about chocolate is by eating it. The course will include guided tastings to help you develop a comprehensive understanding of how chocolate is not just one flavor but rather a gateway to many sensory experiences. This course is for people who seek to be more confident in their ability to navigate chocolate products and who want to be more thoughtful about their chocolate consumption.

This course includes optional chocolate tastings. The cost will be approximately $150–$200. More details will be provided in class.

Lecturer, Harvard; Executive Director, Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute

Carla D. Martin is a lecturer at Harvard and the founder and executive director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing inequality and information asymmetry throughout the cacao and chocolate value chain. She lectures widely and has taught extensively in African and African American studies, critical food studies, social anthropology, and ethnomusicology. Martin has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching and research.

Instructor, Boston University; Director of Innovation, Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute

José López Ganem is the director of innovation at the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and an instructor at Boston University. He is also a trained sensory professional in the fields of cacao, chocolate, tea, sake, and wine via the Culinary Institute of America and Wine & Spirit Education Trust.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.