There are not many areas in which I consider myself an expert, but chocolate is one of them! This year I am fortunate enough to be teaching for the second time “Chocolate University” at our elementary school. It’s basically an hour long course where the kids get to learn things they might not already know about chocolate and then figure out which kinds that they like. Here’s how I put it together:
First, I found a couple of pictures of cocoa beans on the Internet and some basic history. I combined this into a PowerPoint to teach them about the origins of chocolate and how we use it. Next, I purchased various different kinds of chocolate individually wrapped for tasting. Then, my I made a form for each person with the name of each chocolate and a rating scale. Lastly, I gathered up all different kids of chocolate items in my house (philosophy Dark Chocolate shower gel, chocolate scented candles, hot cocoa, etc.) to use for smelling and examples.
Plain cocoa powder, white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, mint chocolate, and fondue. Keep in mind that it took very little of each of these–essentially one bite. I cut everything up into small squares or use individually wrapped candies. For the fondue we are testing salty versus sweet combinations with a graham cracker stick versus a pretzel stick. (When doing this at my own house, I included things like hot chocolate and chocolate truffles as well).
I started off by asking them about chocolate and they told me it was sweet. I had them taste the cocoa and explained to them why it was bitter. I then showed them the pictures of the cocoa beans and explained the origins of chocolate. From there, we started with white chocolate and then worked our way from milk to dark. We ended with the flavored chocolates. For each one, we talked about how it tasted and they “rated” it on their sheet. At the end, we went back through and compared the darkest to the lightest chocolate and a few other things.
After cleanup time, I have also added a Chocolate Word Find to keep the kids busy while waiting for pickup. I made it online and used words like cacao, brownies, pudding, melt, and fudge.
The kids always have a great time. Most do not like the dark chocolate and the fondue is usually the biggest hit. But you do get some surprises.
If you love chocolate as much as I do and are looking for something different to do with your friends or family, give a homemade Chocolate University a try. It’s great to do for a Girl Scout troupe, a school activity, or even a boring Saturday afternoon at home. If you would like the PowerPoint that I use, just contact me and let me know.