Most of us love chocolate, but how much do we know about the intriguing science and history behind it?
“Over the past 4,000 years, chocolate has evolved from a thick, bitter drink to the sweet, delicious treat we all enjoy today,” says Utah State University food chemist Silvana Martini. “The properties that make chocolate enticing begin at the molecular level.”
Science Unwrapped at USU welcomes Martini as featured speaker Friday, April 16, as she presents, “Molecules, Crystals and Chocolate.” Her online presentation begins at 7 p.m. Mountain via Zoom.
All ages are welcome to tune in to the webinar on Science Unwrapped’s website. Hosted by USU’s College of Science, the online event also features a live, question-and-answer session following Martini’s talk, along with links to video learning activities.
As an added treat, Science Unwrapped viewers are invited to pick up free, science-learning samples of the chocolate-making process, including cocoa beans, butter, powder and shells, from the Aggie Chocolate Factory April 9-23. Viewers can handle and observe these samples during Martini’s April 16 talk, to better understand chocolate production. Samples may be upgraded to a special chocolate package at a $4 discounted offer.
The Aggie Chocolate Factory is located in the Aggie Blue Square Building at 1111 North 800 East, Suite A104, in Logan. (This is across the street from USU’s Maverick Stadium.) The retail shop’s hours are Monday-Thursday, 2-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and closed Sunday.
“The properties of modern chocolates are driven by the molecular organization of fat molecules called triacylglycerols,” says Martini, research director of USU’s Aggie Chocolate Factory and professor in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences. “The type of fat molecules present in the chocolate and the way they organize themselves at the nano- and micro-level play a vital role in developing appropriate qualities in the chocolate.”
Martini’s talk is the final presentation of Science Unwrapped’s 2020-21 “Brave New World” series, which kicked off in September 2020. All presentations are recorded and available for viewing on the Science Unwrapped website.
A new series for the 2021-22 academic year will soon be announced.