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FOOD, ETC.: Chocolate seminar and demonstration class

By Dave Jones on December 21, 2011 in University News

Ahhh, chocolate!

Two professors and the “chocolatier of the year” are set to make presentations at Chocolate, a one-day event at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Chocolate, with lectures, tastings and displays, is scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 4, in the RMI Sensory Building. As a prequel, the RMI will present a chocolate demonstration class in the morning.

The speakers for the afternoon seminar include Lou Grivetti, professor emeritus in the Department of Nutrition, discussing “Chocolate: Heritage of the Americas,” about the geographical origins and global dispersal of Theobrama cacao.

Other themes include the spread of cacao production and chocolate manufacturing into Africa, Europe and Asia, with specific attention to the arrival of chocolate in North America, as well as the earliest uses of chocolate by Native Americans and chocolate’s cultural role at various time periods in American history, with special attention to California.

Other speakers:

  • Carl Keen, professor of nutrition and internal medicine, holder of the Mars Chair in Developmental Nutrition, and a nutritionist with UC’s Agricultural Experiment Station — "The Potential Health Benefits of Cacao"
  • Alexandra Saunders, chief executive officer of Nuubia Chocolat, Pleasanton — "The Precious Cacao and Sustainability"
  • Rodney Snyder, chocolate history research director, Mars Chocolate NA — "Chocolate Making: From Art to Science to Artisan"

Saunders co-founded Nuubia with Lionel Clement, the company's maître chocolatier, whom the RMI announced as the leader of the demonstration class. He was named chocolatier of the year at the inaugural Pastry Live event, held in Atlanta in August.

The class — with limited seating available in the Food Innovation Kitchen, in the RMI Sensory Building — is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with lunch included. The cost is $50 for industry representatives, the public, and UC faculty, staff and students; $40 for members of Friends of the RMI.

The seminar is scheduled from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. The cost is $55 for industry representatives, the public, and UC faculty and staff; $5 for Friends of the RMI; and $20 for students.

The seminar program will conclude with a guided chocolate and wine tasting, led by Saunders, and a reception. Grivetti, co-editor of Chocolate: History, Culture and Heritage, will sign copies of the book during the reception, the organizers said.

Registration and more information.

First Wednesday Wine Flight: Stock Your Cellar

If you think your wine cellar may be looking bare after the holidays, then make a date to attend the First Wednesday Wine Flight, Jan. 4. The theme is Stock Your Cellar, featuring a plethora of wines that you can try and buy in inventory reduction deals.

First Wednesday Wine Flights take place from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Gunrock Pub (on the south side of the Silo).

The pub and the Vintage Aggies Wine Club sponsor the monthly wine flights. Each includes the tasting of four wines (paired with food), and “terrific deals” on the wines to take home.

The cost is $10, and no reservations are needed. To reserve a table, purchase tickets in advance or schedule private tastings, call the Gunrock Pub, (530) 752-6262.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,