Last February I found myself in Guatemala learning about the process of transforming cacao beans into chocolate, all while drinking traditional Maya hot chocolate. It was a bit of a surreal experience, one that changed the way I thought about chocolate.
There is so much more to chocolate than just walking into a store, buying a bar off the shelf, and consuming it in two or three bites. So much work goes into processing and producing chocolate. Now, before I shove an entire chocolate bar in my mouth I stop to consider where exactly it came from.
If you have ever stopped to wonder where your chocolate comes from, the brand new podcast The Slow Melt, may be the one for you. Hosted by journalist and food educator Simran Sethi, The Slow Melt follows one woman’s journey to discover chocolate from bean to bar.
Over the course of this show, Sethi takes listeners through the delicious and complex world of chocolate. All things chocolate are discussed, including flavour, physiology, conservation, chemistry, and social justice. The show features a number of guests, from farmers to conservationists, manufacturers, tasting experts, scientists, and even award winning chocolatiers.
The first season is devoted entirely to the enjoyment of chocolate, and the first episode takes us through the multiplicity of chocolate and how and why we love this sweet treat. The first episode provides an overview of all things chocolate, how it is being studied by scientists, the taste of place or “terroir” that chocolate develops depending on where the cacao is grown, how we interpret the aromas and flavour of chocolate and recommendations on how to host your very own chocolate tasting party.
The Slow Melt is the first step in gaining a new appreciation for chocolate, its journey, and those who make this sweet treat available for all. Episodes are 25-30 minutes in length, perfect for a study break, and just enough time to savour the chocolate of your choice. The Slow Melt is available on iTunes, or your favourite podcast app. Be prepared to fall in love with chocolate all over again, or at the very least gain a new appreciation for it.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 107, Issue 22, February 14th, 2017.