A podcast featuring and celebrating the smart, creative, and crafty women in the chocolate industry.
Special Episode: A look back at Chocoa 2020
05/02/2021Hello Well Tempered podcast listeners and readers! If you're catching this on iTunes or my website you know it's been a while since I've broadcasted via this medium. After the start of the pandemic, I found it much more intimate to engage with guests through video conferencing -- the informality and honest connection that ensued, and yet equally as effective at conveying information, not to mention, much less editing on my part -- meant I spoke to more people than ever (50+ interviews in 2020). So if you've been holding out here for more content, the interviews continue, but the majority are now scattered about my Well Tempered Media Facebook and Instagram accounts. Latest episodes are non-gendered, featuring people from all walks of cacao and chocolate, and are published on Conversations in Cocoa via the substack platform. Enjoy this throwback to an in-person conference! These 3 interviews were recorded last February 2020 at Chocoa held inside the Beurs van Berlage (former stock exchange), in Amsterdam. Chocoa 2021 - the 9th of its kind - held this February 24-26th, will be its first digital edition due to the enduring global coronavirus pandemic crisis. Well Tempered Media listeners are being offered a 20% discount code, at checkout on the tickets page apply 20LAUREN. These were all impromptu interviews, all under 10 minutes each. I approached these guests in between various other meetings. It's a bit hectic on the showroom floor, but that energy of people coming together for a common adoration for good cocoa and chocolate was inspiring -- filled with hope, promise, care and compassion for a world of full of flavor, fairness and opportunities.Guests featured in this episode: Brigitte Laliberté coordinator of the Cocoa of Excellence Programme (also see the International Standards for the Assessment of Cocoa Quality and Flavour, of which Brigitte is the coordinator of the working group) María Salvadora Jiménez of Fine Flavor Cacao Specialist at Daarnhouwer & Co. Salla Mankinen Technology Director at Orijin.io storytelling and traceability software specialists A special thank you to the team at Chocoa for inviting me to take part in the events and Chocolate Makers’ Forum. Also, you'll find a recent interview with Chocoa partner Mariana de la Rosa on the WTM instagram page where we have recorded Q&A session to get to know the details of this year’s digital offerings. Podcast RSS Thank you for your near 5 years support of this podcast project. I've been honored to find myself in your earbuds and as a companion as you wrap bars or send emails. I wish you a very safe and healthy 2021. I miss seeing you and sampling your delicacies table-side, but have faith together we can still do great things to create a bright cocoa future.Catch upcoming interviews with scholars and industry members, articles, audios, chocolate recipes, and Conversations in Cocoa at laurenonthewknd.substack.com
Scholar Series: Allison Brown, PhD Candidate in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development
14/05/2020Description: An interview as part of the Well Tempered Podcast’s ‘Scholar Series’ (recorded February 2020)Guest: Allison Brown, PhD candidate at Penn State Area of study: Food Science and International Agriculture and DevelopmentAllison Brown is a PhD candidate and USDA NIFA (United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture) predoctoral fellow studying a dual-title degree in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development at The Pennsylvania State University. She studies cocoa and chocolate using chemical and sensory analysis to fingerprint the flavor, taste, and mouthfeel of varieties of Theobroma cacao. In addition, she led a consumer research project to understand the importance of chocolate flavor to premium chocolate consumers. For the international agriculture and development portion of her PhD, she studies the impact of an in-country national cocoa sensory panel on cocoa quality, using Honduras as a case study. She draws on professional experience in food science product development, chocolate production, culinary arts, winery cellar work, and winery laboratory work. Most recently she has published work in The Journal of Sensory Studies, entitled "Flavor and Mouthfeel of Pseudo-Cocoa Liquor: Effects of Polyphenols, Fat Content, and Training Method". Citation: Hamada, T. Y., Brown, A., Hopfer, H., & Ziegler, G. R. (2019). Flavor and mouthfeel of pseudo-cocoa liquor : Effects of polyphenols, fat content, and training method, (June), 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/joss.12541 (Note: at the time of this podcast episode’s release, this article was available to access for free).Her manuscript about premium chocolate consumer perception of chocolate quality and craft chocolate is currently under review.UPDATE December 2020: Since release of this podcast episode Allison’s and her colleagues’ work ‘Understanding American premium chocolate consumer perception of craft chocolate and desirable product attribute using focus groups and projective mapping’ has been featured in PLoSONE. Their research was also referenced on Penn State’s news site. Podcast RSS “ …(sensory evaluation) it’s not actually elite, it’s for the people. We all have these tools…we have our mouths. “ - Allison Brown Allison Brown, PhD Candidate in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development. photo credit: Allison Brown Topics discussed in this episode:Part I. We talk about different types of food analyses: -Chemical analysis: GC-MS, HPLC-Sensory evaluation: hedonic testing (i.e. do you like this thing?), difference testing (i.e. are these different? triangle test), descriptive analysis testing (i.e. how are these things different?); the 3rd is used in Allison’s panel. - Tasting cocoa liquors, creating references to other food products- Attribute generation = key-in to your senses, looks, smells, tastes like (ensure air is present to volatilize chemical compounds), perceive flavor, then note aftertaste, oral touch- The 5 basic tastes: bitter, sour, sweet, salty, umami—-> Receptors versus ion exchange on our tongue recognize bitter and sour as basic tastes, astringency is an oral touch. Sour can cause a puckering sensation. —-> Flavor on the other hand is different from basic taste; taste, smell, touch, burning (such as from capsicum), sound, sensory. A complex perception. The burnt flavor (such as related to burnt toast) falls into this category. - The ‘golden tongue’Part II. We also talk about genetics, and how flavor could be linked to genetics (scroll to the bottom for a quick overview of genetics).- there are 4,000 known accessions of Theobroma cacao in genebanks; lots of diversity. In her project she studied 11 cultivars.-Mark Guiltinan and Siela Maximova (see here for information about their lab and access some of their publications: https://plantscience.psu.edu/research/labs/guiltinan) are plant biologists who have spent their careers researching the plant, Theobroma cacao. In 2010, they discovered the genome of Theobroma cacao (https://plantscience.psu.edu/research/labs/guiltinan/publications/manuscripts/genome-cacao2010), and use this information to understand how diseases and pests impact growth of this plant. - In her work, it was necessary to search for a tropical research center that could provide adequate needs of cultivars for sampling; Fundación Hondureña de Investigación Agrícola FHIAPart III. Publications, Projects, and her Panel. In fall 2019, they published in The Journal of Sensory Studies: Flavor and mouthfeel of pseudo-cocoa liquor: Effects of polyphenols, fat content, and training method. Researchers were: Terianne Y. Hamada, Allison Brown, Helene Hopfer, Gregory R. Ziegler.In post-conflict Rwanda, high quality coffee began to be produced there (and marketed outward).—-> To detect defects in coffee cupping, they introduced the ‘Coffee Doctors’ - who diagnose fermentation issues through sensory training tactics. This can be transferred to cocoa. Read more; article by Jenny Elaine Goldstein (2011): https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07409710.2011.544226More related coffee links: Coffee Quality Institute - Rwanda Transforming Rwanda’s Coffee Sector by Dan Clay (PPT) For cocoa: Examples of USAID work on cocoa liquor tasting panels in-country: African Cocoa Initiative Final Performance Evaluation ReportUSAID Grants and the Democracy of Information, from Equal Exchange Because no one has previously analyzed the impact of an in-country panel on cocoa liquor quality, Allison used exploratory, qualitative methods in Honduras. She conducted interviews with 35 members of the cocoa and chocolate supply chain, including growers, cooperative managers, Honduran chocolate makers, and American chocolate makers.Fingerprinting taste and flavor of varieties ; do varieties taste different? —-> Fingerprinting is determining which chemicals, both volatile and non-volatile, and flavors, tastes, and mouthfeels, are associated with each cultivated variety (cultivar) of theobroma cacaoConvergent validity - Why is this important for scientists? This is important because it means two different methods tell you the same thing. It means your findings are highly robust.Allison’s consumer focus groups: ---> People & Packaging---> Storytelling Further links related to this episode:Dr. Kristy Leissle’s article on craft. As well as her writing on the subject via Dandelion Chocolate’s blog. PennState’s Dr. Gregory Ziegler, editor on Steve T. Beckett’s Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use; his work on bound and unbound polyphenols, fat content, and their nuances has informed Allison’s work FCCI/FCIA consumer survey mentioned, is only available to members of the FCIA: Here Karen Bryant offers an overview. The Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association (PMCA) conference scheduled for April 20-22, 2020 was postponed this year due to the pandemic. PennState Department of Food Science Short Courses: such as, Advanced HACCP Workshop, Principles of Sensory Evaluation, Ice Cream 101 ‘Introduction to Frozen Desserts’ (continued from Part II. )::A brief primer on genetics (as she says, “from someone who isn’t a plant biologist” but that “is still helpful to someone like me,” says the podcast host without a science degree.)::-Genes are composed of DNA which is the basic code for the plant. -Phenotypes are the perceivable traits or characteristics that are coded for by the genotype, but may be impacted by the environment (sun exposure, rain, soil type, etc.). Some phenotypes are more fixed than others. A human example would be: my genes code for hazel (phenotype) eyes and I have hazel eyes my entire life. A less fixed example would be: my genes code for brown hair (phenotype). However, when it is summertime and my hair is exposed to the sun (environment) regularly, it becomes blond. Think “nature and nurture.” When translated to cacao, seed color (white or purple) is a fixed trait that is coded for by the genes, whereas pod color is also coded for by the genes, but not fixed because it is influenced by shade cover and sun exposure.Flavor is viewed as a phenotypic trait. To understand this from a genetic perspective, we would take one specific chemical compound, for example, linalool, which is responsible for floral flavor. We would analyze the amount of linalool (phenotype) in a large number of cacao varieties and then match this data with genetic data from the varieties. We could begin to understand what part of the gene regulates the level of linalool, which would help us understand the relationship between genetics and flavor. Where to find Lauren, host of Well Tempered Media productions and chocolate maker at WKND Chocolate: Instagram: @wkndchocolate Twitter: @wkndchocolateArticles, podcasts, chocolate recipes, and Conversations in Cocoa at laurenonthewknd.substack.com
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Scholar Series: Dr. Sarah Arnold, Behavioral Entomologist at the Natural Resources Institute
07/02/2020Podcast episode description: Dr Sarah E J Arnold is a Senior Lecturer in Insect Behavior and Ecology at the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich, UK, primarily focusing on pest behavior, chemical ecology, and ecosystem services.After completing her PhD in sensory ecology in the Chittka Lab at Queen Mary, University of London, Dr. Arnold joined the University of Greenwich in 2010. Since joining NRI (a specialist research, development and education organization of the University of Greenwich), she has continued to develop her interest in pollinators, studying different aspects of how their environment may influence their behavior and health. She has published in areas including the role of pollen composition and nectar chemistry in pollinator performance, the importance of environmental characteristics of farms in affecting pollinator populations, and different aspects of their foraging and flower-finding behavior. She is particularly interested in how farms and other habitats can be managed to support pollinators’ needs better. As she works on both pest and beneficial insects, she rears various species of insects in the laboratory to explore their behavior and life history. Her work has appeared in international peer-reviewed journals, including papers on flower color evolution, insect ecology, and pollinator and storage pest behavior, and is one of the developers and managers of the Floral Reflectance Database (FReD). One of her latest projects, involving Caribbean fieldwork in conjunction with the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the Cocoa Industry Board of Jamaica - both areas with low yields of high quality fine flavor cacao - investigated the possibility of optimized production of Theobroma cacao via pollination by various Ceratopogonid species. Read on at the project website CocoaPop. More about Dr. Arnold’s work and projects can be accessed here. Podcast RSS Dr. Sarah Arnold. Photo uploaded with permission from Dr. Sarah E J Arnold Themes discussed in this episode:- What pollinates a cacao flower? - Midges are part of the Ceratopogonidae family, a group of of flies measuring 2-3 mm long- Ecology of midges; difficulties of breeding and physical discovery - Pollinator behavior according to country/landscape of origin- Attributes of a good pollinator; pick up the pollen, move to another flower (perhaps on another tree) - Cacao self-incompatibility; meaning it prevents itself from self-fertilization- Shape, odor, and complexity of the cacao flower; appeal for both humans and insects - Diverse family genus of flowering plants, Malvaceae, includes: durian (pollinated by bats), cotton, okra - Plant plasticity - Cacao in greenhouses and botanical gardens; at Kew Palm House in the UK, Theobroma cacao has successfully grown there, pollinated either by midges or another species;“It seems like the (cacao) tree needs the midges much more than midges need the tree.”- Questions she asked in her research: what pollinators are present? How does this population change over the year? And how that might match when the crop is in peak flower? - Samantha Forbes; a colleague from Australia, who was helpful in studies regarding rearing cocoa midges over generations in a laboratory setting. —> For their project, it was the first known time midges from a cacao plantation were bred for months at a time, running over multiple generations. Previously eggs and larvae had been captured and raised to adulthood. - Complications of recreating the bacterial conditions of the farm environment in a lab; mimicking banana pseudostem - Pollinator life-cycles; midges lay their eggs in rotten material, generally the detritus of cacao pods- Pollination rates of the midges; ~5% of the cacao flowers will be successfully pollinated. While they are present, their numbers are not abundant in the wild, however they are apt at transmitting pollen, generally in 1-2x visits to the flower. “...working out the perfect level of pollination to optimize yield and optimize it sustainably from a cocoa farm, is an area of continuing research that is very important at the moment.” - Hand-pollination. Is it viable? - Effect of climate change on biodiversity in pollinators; potential population loss due to drought and heat waves.- Farmers and pollinators — offering habitats, working together - Methodologies for obtaining lab results for odor compounds; most drawing on studies from almost 40 years ago. - Professor David Hall, Professor of Chemical Ecology , and general expert on all things involving the chemistry of scents. - Testing natural floral odor versus a synthetic blend for attractiveness to pollinators. Additional: If research continues — Dr. Arnold says, it will be interesting to see if wild flowers have evolved differently; might they be more disease resistance? Produce higher yields, or will flavor develop distinctly? These things will greatly inform future breeding programs. Where to find Dr. Arnold: Twitter @sejarboldWhere to find Lauren, host of Well Tempered Media productions and chocolate maker at WKND Chocolate: Instagram: @wkndchocolate Twitter: @wkndchocolateArticles, podcasts, chocolate recipes, and Conversations in Cocoa at laurenonthewknd.substack.com
Special Episode: Well Tempered Live at the Salon du Chocolat Paris 2019
29/12/2019Description: Well Tempered Live; a compilation of #womeninchocolate interviews recorded live during the 2019 edition - and 25th anniversary - of the Salon du Chocolat, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in Paris, France. This special episode of the Well Tempered chocolate podcast features three distinct perspectives, from three very unique countries: Grenada, Honduras, and Russia — all with specialty cacao and bean-to-bar or tree-to-bar concepts at the core of their businesses. Whether through agritourism, direct trade, international export, local distribution, and so on, the leaders of these chocolate companies reveal quick facts about their experience in the cocoa sector. Meet the guests below, and listen to the complementing podcast on Apple Podcasts or download directly here. Podcast RSS Featuring interviews with: Shadel Nyack Compton third generation proprietor of Belmont Estate in Grenada Instagram: Belmont Estate Monica Pedemonte founder and chocolate maker at Palato Chocolate in HondurasInstagram: Palato Chocolate Olga Yarovikova chocolatier and Managing Director of Amazing Cacao in St. Petersburg, Russia Instagram: Amazing Cacao Where to find Lauren, host of Well Tempered Media productions and chocolate maker at WKND Chocolate: Instagram: @wkndchocolate Twitter: @wkndchocolateArticles, podcasts, chocolate recipes, and Conversations in Cocoa at laurenonthewknd.substack.com
Scholar Series: Dr. Carla D. Martin, Harvard Professor and Founder of the FCCI
24/10/2019Description: Carla D. Martin, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI), a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She leads the course: ‘Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food’, known to many in the chocolate industry as ‘Chocolate Class’. Her work at the FCCI focuses on identifying, developing, and promoting fine cacao and chocolate, primarily by addressing ethics and quality issues in the supply chain. A social anthropologist with interdisciplinary interests that include history, agronomy, ethnomusicology, and linguistics, her current research focuses on the politics of fine cacao and chocolate in a global perspective, for which she has conducted fieldwork in West Africa, Latin America, North America, and Europe. From 2011-2015, she maintained a scholarly blog on chocolate, culture, and the politics of food at Bittersweet Notes. Her previous academic research examined the longstanding problem of language inequality in Cape Verde and its large diaspora and how scholars and creative artists have both perpetuated and challenged this inequality. Through historical and ethnographic study she charted the elements of language, race, gender, and social class expressed through music and the arts into the sociopolitical world of which they are a part and explored the ongoing, fruitful interventions and subversions made by Cape Verdean performers in debates surrounding the meaning of womanhood, "Africanness," and "Creoleness." Her writing has also appeared or is forthcoming in Transition Magazine, Social Dynamics, The Root, US History Scene, Sodade Magazine, Socio.hu, The Savannah Review, and edited volumes. She lectures widely and has taught extensively in African and African American Studies, critical food studies, social anthropology, and ethnomusicology, and has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching. She received her PhD in African and African American Studies in 2012, her MA in Social Anthropology in 2007, and her BA in Social Anthropology in 2003, all from Harvard University. Find her online at carladmartin.com and @carladmartin. Podcast RSS Dr. Carla D. Martin Photo credit: FCCI Topics discussed in this chocolate podcast episode: - Dr. Martin's Cape Verdean fellowship, launching her chocolate career and area of scholarship - Her PhD in African and African American Studies and Anthropology provided a foundation for lessons and a future focused on the study and awareness of inequality - Creating a syllabus for ‘Chocolate Class’ — 200 students the first year alone; now teaching thousands, both in-person and online through Harvard Extension School- How the FCCI started, and how academia was woven into activities focused around industry education and research; support of the specialty market - Colin Gasko's cacao quality class; originally a beta class with Dr. Kristy Leissle / Jamin Haddox (SCA professor) became the Cacao Grader Intensive through FCCI to adapt and scale it to be accessible to more people globally. With goals to: provide a curriculum (especially for producers*) to identify defects in raw materials, better access the market (size, operations). *Members of the supply chain, cacao producers, co-operative staff, and farm managers. - The approach that has become known as the 'Raw cacao methodology' or FCCI Methodology. Simple and effective, possible with only a very small sample of beans. A much more healthy supply chain would involve a conversation, a negotiation, and an awareness of the power dynamic that puts cacao producers in the sort of weak negotiation position that exists today. - Dr. Carla D. Martin- How the chocolate industry works in silos — FCCI and the The Chocolate Conservatory born out of the challenges of connecting institutions and removing barriers of isolation within the industry. - The Chocolate Conservatory runs as a net-zero event. This year’s theme at the European Business School in Paris is ‘The Responsibility of Taste.’ - At the event, they will champion voices that are innovative and political. Women speakers are actually counted (to understand and offer transparency regarding representation), as are POC of all genders. Expertise is valuable from all, but it’s not the only trait that exists. Speakers are diverse in their tenures and backgrounds. ”…we (the industry) are prioritizing flavor and quality over all else, while making strident claims about the social, economic or environmental responsibility of what we’re doing.” - Dr. Carla D. Martin on ‘The Responsibility of Taste” via the Well Tempered Podcast - How Dr. Martin approaches labor in general. How labor history is tied to human history. - Drug crops — driving the development of capitalism globally, agriculture products that are unnecessary for survival but stimulate, inebriate, etc.- Enslaved labor that developed the commodity system, and ultimately changed public perception of what to pay for final products. - The popularization of child labor in the cocoa value chain and the role of the International Labour Organization. What has been reduced to a single issue is much more complex, and can include familial child labor, detrimental labor to children (such as: forced, with the use pesticides), community/cultural systems and so forth (accessible education systems, family dynamics, survival). - Labor insecurities in other fields - What raising prices would mean to the supply chain - Companies’ responsibilities to paying more and what it might look like. Will they - heirs for example - share a piece of the pie? - The stigmatization of cacao from West Africa, and negative marketing alongside this. - Access to abuse-free labor products - Inequality and corporations playing saviors or giving themselves personhood — companies intend to step-in and do what producers “can’t do”.- The retail squeeze; Retailers being flexible to give up some of their margins. - The standard trajectory of the getting into retail, and from there how scale and price reduction harms this top-bottom approach. Most supermarket based bars thought to be priced at a USD $3.69-$3.99 sweet spot. - The New England Chocolate Festival October 12-13, 2019; & Chocotoberfest events by the FCCI. Consumers are seeking experiential connections to their food and producers. - Education for consumers — how to tackle, where the industry stands- Women in chocolate current status and future of Links related to this episode:Summer/Fall 2019 creation and launch of the ‘Asociación para el Fomento del Chocolate ‘Bean to Bar’ de Tueste Artesano en España’, Spanish Bean to Bar Association ChocolateBeantoBar.com ChocoMad International Chocolate Salon/Festival in Madrid, Spain each September LA Burdick Chocolates, a New England chocolate enterprise. Evelyn Brooks Higginsbotham, Harvard Professor and mentor to Carla Professor Romi BurksMore on drug crops, such as Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney W. Mintz https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweetness-Power-Place-Modern-History/dp/0140092331Dr. Amanda Berlan writings; here and hereFair Food Program Barry Estabrook — Tomatoland Dengo Chocolate Brazil — an example of higher farm gate prices paid. They are committed to buy cacao even if the factory can’t process it at that precise time. Dr. Marie-Catherine Paquier ; author of The monastic product’s biography, a sacralization wave FCCI staffer/Culinary Institute of America graduate José Lopez GanemJamin Haddox coffee expert and instructor Dr. Lauren McCarthy. Studies and lectures on corporate social responsibility and feminism; communities, allyship, and certifications. Examples of her writings: Consciousness-raising in the cocoa supply chain & Feminism hasn’t sold out even if it is being used as a marketing tool Legacy chocolate companies in the Boston area and mentioned on the podcast: Taza Chocolate Equal Exchange Where to find more from FCCI: Instagram: @chocoinstitute Twitter: @chocoinstituteFacebook: FCCI Website: Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute Where to find Lauren, host of Well Tempered Media productions and chocolate maker at WKND Chocolate: Instagram: @wkndchocolate Twitter: @wkndchocolateArticles, podcasts, chocolate recipes, and Conversations in Cocoa at laurenonthewknd.substack.com
Scholar Series: Dr. Kristy Leissle, Author of Cocoa
27/09/2019Dr. Kristy Leissle, Doctor Chocolate, is a cocoa and chocolate scholar based in Accra, Ghana. In this (chocolate) podcast episode, she shares current realities of rural life of cocoa farmers in West Africa, ideas from her book ‘Cocoa’, and desires for change in the industry.
Episode 27: Lawren Askinosie Chief Marketing Officer at Askinosie Chocolate
14/02/2019Lawren Askinosie CMO and co-author of ‘Meaningful Work’ knows growing up bean-to-bar. Askinosie Chocolate based in Springfield, Missouri is dedicated to making fine chocolate and enhancing communities - both locally and abroad.