Harvard Club of Chicago & Harvard GlobalWE Presentation

Hi! Happy 2022!

I am excited to have been invited to present a virtual chocolate talk and tasting for two of my alumni clubs together, the Harvard Club of Chicago, and Harvard Alumni for Global Women’s Empowerment (Harvard GlobalWE)!

Here are my presentation materials and links:

The Joy of Chocolate – From “Bean” to Bar

~ Preview — Welcome! Let’s talk about:

  • the process of turning cacao into chocolate,
  • the people — including women! — behind the purpose-driven craft chocolate movement and behind the history of chocolate, and
  • how to know if you’re choosing chocolate that’s good for people and planet!

~ Personal bio — chocolate-obsessed before, during, and after Harvard

Looking ahead: always bringing chocolate for the new generation
Looking back: during a semester in Paris, age 19, chocolate on my mind
cacao pod from Ecuador
with an open cacao pod in Ecuador

~ People and process behind specialty cacao and craft chocolate — including some amazing women around the world

  • Cacao growing, harvesting, and post-harvest steps, by the women and men of COAGRISCAL in Honduras, who prepare the products for woman-owned Good King Cacao [farm to snack]
  • Cacao collaboration, buying, and transport by woman-owned Askanya Chocolate of Haiti, and chocolate making in Haiti by the women of Askanya [video]
  • Valerie opens a cacao pod [video]
with Kim Wilson of Good King Cacao of Seattle; the products are made with Honduras cacao
with Corinne Joachim Sanon Symietz (right) of Askanya Chocolate of Haiti
with Lan Phan of 9th & Larkin Chocolate of San Francisco (front), her husband Brian (left), and Simran Bindra of Kokoa Kamili cacao of Tanzania
[photo from dieline]
craft…
chocolate
with Kate McAleer of Bixby Chocolate, who is both a chocolate maker and a chocolatier
[Photo from Mark Gerrits of OBOLO Chocolate]
bean to bar
bean to cup

~ Purpose-driven businesses — from Chicago Chocolate Tours to Chocolate Uplift, consulting to and distributing other purpose-driven brands

  • from ancient tradition to…
  • …contemporary social impact
  • chocolate chooses us!
  • cacao and chocolate as portals forward to a Golden Age of empathy and equality, nourishing people and planet
Belu Cacao before and after, and Belu from tree to bar [video]
Developed 3 sizes of Belu, each with 2 ingredients: cacao and sugar — all you need!
with Emily of Belu Cacao and her husband Carlos

~ Purity of craft chocolate — tasting techniques to perceive and enjoy nuance

  • mindfulness: look, sniff, taste
  • also: listen, touch, think
  • breathe
  • repeat!
Yes: I ate the whole thing. In 2 sittings, but I did it! And it was made with Askanya Chocolate of Haiti, at The Vig Chicago. What’s in your restaurant’s dessert?

~ Power of people and planet — recognizing ethical chocolate, which means it is free of human rights abuses and environmental harm

  • Tip: all of the big brands are complicit in human rights abuses and environmental harm; they don’t deny it
  • Tip: look for small brands, then look on the label for the cacao country of origin, and a clean ingredients list
  • Tip: the best chocolate (wine, coffee, diamonds, silk scarves) is not usually found at a standard grocery store, but use the 2 points above to discover any exceptions
  • More on classmate David Coale’s podcast where I talk about ethical chocolate and our power of choice
Chocolate is love. Taste is memory. What is your earliest memory of tasting and loving chocolate?

~ And, after all those Ps, my 5 Ss of first-class craft chocolate:

  • slavery-free
  • soy-free / industrial additive-free
  • sustainable / soil-regenerative
  • small-batch
  • scrumptious!
Golden Age Cookies: organic oatmeal salted craft chocolate chunk cookies topped with cacao nibs; I created them because I wanted to eat them

Thank you! Keep eating real chocolate!

Valerie

Valerie Beck

Founder, Chocolate Uplift

retail: chocolateuplift.etsy.com

wholesale + blog: chocolateuplift.com

instagram: @chocolateuplift

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/valeriebeck/

email: valerie@chocolateuplift.com

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