An interview style podcast featuring and celebrating the smart, creative, and crafty women in the chocolate industry.
Special Episode: A look back at Chocoa 2020
Hello 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 (more 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. TLDR; 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, cacao news and musings from Lauren Heineck of Well Tempered Media Via Facebook.com/welltemperedmedia Via Instagram.com/welltemperedmedia Via Twitter.com/wkndchocolate
Scholar Series: Allison Brown, PhD Candidate in Food Science and International Agriculture and Development
Description: 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://
Scholar Series: Dr. Sarah Arnold, Behavioral Entomologist at the Natural Resources Institute
Podcast 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
Special Episode: Well Tempered Live at the Salon du Chocolat Paris 2019
Description: 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 Mark your calendars (i.e. The Chocolate Notebook) with the dates of the ::Grenada Chocolate Fest May 1-6, 2020:: View this post on Instagram Have yourself an amazing week ahead. Happy Monday #BelmontEstateFamily A post shared by Belmont Estate, Grenada (@belmontestate) on Apr 8, 2019 at 8:45am PDT Monica Pedemonte founder and chocolate maker at Palato Chocolate in Honduras Instagram: Palato Chocolate View this post on Instagram Mónica Pedemonte is a #beantobar #chocolatemaker based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Since she was a young girl she knew that she wanted to work in food and pastry; she recalls loving chocolate in all forms. Besides her own intuition to become a chef, she comes from two large families that put cooking and eating well as top priorities in life. After high school, she wanted to study Culinary Arts, however family pressure resulted in her receiving degrees in Communication and Business Administration from the University of Houston, in Texas. Mónica returned to Honduras following graduation and worked at a bank for two :long: years. She realized that working in that environment wasn’t what brought her happiness, and she decided to go back to school to study what she’d always wanted. That’s when in 2006 she left for Buenos Aires, Argentina (her father’s birth city) to attend #culinaryschool at the ‘Instituto Mausi Sebess.’ Soon after graduating, she returned home to marry her best friend and boyfriend of many years -- they formed a family thereafter. She never used her culinary degree in a restaurant setting, but remained active in pastry and confectionery from her home, because above all she wanted to dedicate her time and attention to her 3 children, and as so often is the case, a professional chef position wouldn’t have given her that same freedom to raise her family. It was during this time, she began working with #chocolate, making #bonbons and truffles for events. Unfortunately, buying chocolate #couvertures in the country was incredibly expensive as it was made and imported from abroad. Mónica asked herself how a cacao producing country such as Honduras, with hundreds of years of cacao history and whom even sent the first ‘bellotas’ beans back to #Spain during the Conquest, was a place where no chocolate was made, that is to say, transformed #cocoabeans. Alongside her husband, they began to investigate the elaboration of chocolate making and the possibilities of creating a sustainable/profitable business, but they weren’t exactly sure where to start. (Continued in comments) A post shared by Well Tempered (@welltemperedpodcast) on Dec 24, 2018 at 12:25pm PST Olga Yarovikova chocolatier and Managing Director of Amazing Cacao in St. Petersburg, Russia Instagram: Amazing Cacao
Scholar Series: Dr. Carla D. Martin, Harvard Professor and Founder of the FCCI
Description: 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 i
Scholar Series: Dr. Kristy Leissle, Author of Cocoa
Dr. 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.