This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pennsylvania College of Technology. However, all content and opinions are entirely my own. Please see my disclosure policy.
I had the opportunity to go on a little mama field trip last week. I’m not gonna lie… It was ahhh-mazing.
Full of new sights and new friends and new tastes of new foods!
I spent two days touring the Hospitality and Culinary Arts Programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. And along with many other fun things, I got to know chocolate very well. Check it out…
My Penn College Culinary Arts Tour + Guittard Chocolate Taste Test
Penn College invited me into the Foundations of Chocolate Works Lab, with Chef Charles Neidermyer II, for some chocolate fun. First, I observed a demonstration by Chef Charles on constructing a chocolate box. By the way, I was so impressed by the small class size and one-on-one attention the Chefs in Training received.
And while they worked on their chocolate box creations, Chef Charles even helped me make my own! It was so fun to get creative. (But so hard not to lick my fingers!)
No worries, though, as Chef Charles prepared a full-on chocolate taste test after my chocolate box was complete. Penn College exclusively uses high-quality Guittard Chocolate for their decadent chocolate creations and recipes in the Culinary Arts Program. And Chef Charles, being the chocolate connoisseur that he is, was all too eager to share the many blended chocolates from the Guittard premium line.
From Kokoleka Milk with 38% Cacao and a fruity and creamy flavor to my personal favorite, Madagascar Criollo with 65% Cacao and a rich and tart taste.
I loved hearing Chef Charles explain the subtle differences in flavors for each unique chocolate. It felt like a fancy wine tasting, but so much more tasty!
Upon arriving home, with my complimentary bar of Madagascar Criollo in tow (Thanks, Chef Charles!), I thought it’d be super fun to have the kids explore their sense of taste through the often subtle differences in types of chocolate.
Exploring the Sense of Taste with A Chocolate Taste Test!
It might be hard for the kids to sense the subtleties Chef Charles’ practiced palette tastes, but I know they’ll have fun learning about chocolate – and eating it, too!
I didn’t have the privilege of utilizing only high-quality Guittard chocolate for our taste test. While I did include some of my Madagascar Criollo, I also chose three other chocolates of varying percentages of Cacao from my local grocery store.
Before opening the chocolate and plating up our taste test, I used a permanent marker to label each chocolate with a number from 1 through 4.
Then I used that marker to draw lines on a paper plate, divide it into 4 sections, and label each section with a number from 1 through 4.
I cut up some small chunks of each chocolate and placed it in it’s coordinating number spot on the plate.
Then I hid the labeled chocolate bars before the kids came in for their super-scientific taste test.
It’s fun just to have the kids taste and choose their most and least favorites. But if you’re interested in encouraging more learning, show the kids some of the below resources on how chocolate is processed and about the percentage of Cacao. Then the kids can try to guess which chocolate samples have the least and most Cacao, too.
Resources for Learning About Chocolate:
- Harvesting Cacao Video
- A Chocolate Sensory Activity and Lesson (via Preschool Powol Packets)
- Guittard Documents Bean to Bar
A Special Thanks to Penn College School of Business & Hospitality
I left my visit at Penn College feeling overwhelmed with new friends’ kindness, a new excitement for all things culinary, and a confidence in endorsing their School of Business and Hospitality. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a new career for yourself or advising your children for their future, consider Pennsylvania College of Technology for a “degree that works.” From Bachelor’s Degrees (i.e. Culinary Arts & Systems, Marketing) to Associate’s Degrees (i.e. Baking & Partry Arts, Hospitality Management, Culinary Arts Technology) to Competency Credentials (i.e. Dining Room Service, Professional Cooking), you’re sure to find an education perfect for preparation in the Hospitality Industry. And their on-site casual fine dining restaurant, Le Jeune Chef, offers hands-on real-world experience that can’t be matched.
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