Chocolate Talk- Library Lecture & Tasting

February 28th, 2011

Last week I spoke about chocolate at three different libraries here in LA county and Saturday marked my 8th lecture for a program I like to call “Chocolate Talk”.

I have developed this program to increase my public speaking skills and to share what I have learned about the wonderful world of chocolate! I am a self taught chocolatier and small business owner and for 4 years now I have been making and selling chocolates via my home made website. is a collaborative effort between me as a photography lover and my program learning, web building on-the-side, genius of a husband.

Last year while visiting Costa Rica for vacation we got to see first hand how cocoa is grown, harvested, and made from bean to bar on a farm. Of course being a photographer I took lots of pictures and thought this process was so cool that it would be an interesting thing to share. Before I got into working with chocolate, I had no idea where it came from and I figure the average person probably doesn’t know either.

The perfect sharing opportunity came by way of a librarian and the Chocolate talk was born! After my brief introduction, I begin a one hour lecture and tasting by sharing my farm experience through showing printed 8×10 photographs of the whole process. I pass these pictures around while explaining the process in which chocolate is made step-by-step. I also bring along some props like cocoa beans, to see and smell.

I explain how cacao is not only grown on this farm but how they use it to make their own homemade chocolate. I expand on how this would be accomplished in a factory, verses by hand. We then go on to our chocolate tasting! Here I instruct the five points on how to have a “proper” tasting and sample 3 different chocolate bars for comparison.

I then touch base on single origin, organic, and fair trade chocolate and it’s importance. Followed by explaining the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier I explain what I do and how I make truffles and other confections. I also bring along these truffles for tasting as well. I welcome questions at any time which help move the lecture along into a discussion, especially by the time we are tasting.

I have enjoyed these experiences so much that I wanted to write about it. Not only to share about the program, but for what it has done for me. And to have a record of these lessons so I can reflect on them years from now, when I don’t have the time to sit in traffic for two hours to speak to 20 people about how awesome chocolate is and why you should appreciate it. I enjoy being around people and sharing with them my experiences and all that I have learned. I have learned how rewarding teaching can be and how important it is to be prepared. This encourages me to keep learning and to expand my knowledge, not only to be smarter but to be a better teacher. I love that when a librarian is in the room they wont hesitate to politely correct you when your facts are wrong. This motivates me to stay active in the field and focused on my profession, my goals and what I can do to better the world pertaining to chocolate.

This experience became extra rewarding today when a girl who attended one of these talks last week called to interview me for a school project. She said she needed to interview a business owner. How cool is it that?! It’s not often I stop to reflect on questions like, “What I like most about being a business owner?”

-Well, not only do I get to set my own hours and be my own boss I get to wear the many different hats of being a small business owner. From creating new chocolate flavors, to packaging special gifts and shipping them all over the world. I also get to mix photography that I love, with making creations that I’m good by taking all the photos of my products and posting them to my website.

or “Do I ever get frustrated with my customers?”

-Chocolate makes people happy I told her, it’s not often I have to deal with an unruly customer. I usually hear nothing but praises for my work and creativity. How lucky am I?

Really lucky!! Some days I forget, but today I was reminded, by a 7th grader. Thanks Julie!

3 Responses to “Chocolate Talk- Library Lecture & Tasting”

  1. Susan Chandler says:

    Do you have any contacts in the Houston TX area? I would like to do a similar program at our library!

  2. No I’m sorry, I wish I did.

  3. Mathew says:

    I absolutely loved your first chocolate talk at the La Canada Library! Thank you so much for sharing your love of chocolate.

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