Feb 25, 2024  
2023 January Term Course Catalog 
2023 January Term Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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JAN 127 - The Evolution & Role of Cacao in the Food, Drug & Beauty Industries

Upper division
Full credit
MTuWTh, 2:45 PM - 5:20 PM

Are you a chocolate enthusiast? Would you like to deepen your knowledge of chocolate, develop your tasting palate and practice pairing it with other foods, drinks, and ingredients with confidence? While chocolate is often associated with decadent Valentine’s Day confections as well as with a cozy winter beverage, cacao is far more culturally complex than its contemporary media depictions. From its origins in Mesoamerica as a sacred drink or the “food of the gods”, to its contemporary uses in the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, Theobroma cacao affects contemporary life in more ways than the average consumer knows.

 In this course, we will study chocolate history from Mesoamerica to its contemporary global presence exploring its relationships to religion, economics, medicine, and beauty.  We will specifically delve into the contemporary food industry’s relationship to cacao and chocolate as well as cacao’s relationship to the beauty industry (globally worth $700+ billion) which advertises a healthy look but fails to publicize that its products can toxify the human body harming consumer health and the planet.
 We will examine and experiment with alternatives to unhealthy foods and products through our readings and class workshops. There will be in-class chocolate tastings of cacao components, chocolates, and confections while focusing on local, organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade products whenever possible.  We will actively avoid high fructose corn syrup, harmful ingredients, and well-known commercial brands. In addition to chocolate tastings, we will explore topics including nutrition and personal health from a holistic perspective as well as the FDA’s role in the food and personal care industries.
 Students will learn how to mold chocolates, use chocolate confectionery equipment, and how to make chocolate from scratch as well as experiment with edible projects such as nut butter cups, fondue, hot chocolate, chocolate tea, pecan caramel turtles, candy bars, peppermint bark, flavored chocolate, chocolate chip cookies, and baked goods. Non-edible projects will include personal care products using cacao butter, cacao powder, and/or chocolate essential oil, and other kitchen ingredients such as moisturizer, lip balm, deodorant, essential oil perfume, and more!
At the end of this course, you will have not only satisfied your chocolate curiosity, learned how to savor chocolate, and how to use cacao in various ways, but you will also have gained an awareness of cacao’s larger historical and contemporary role in culture, economy and the planet’s well-being.
PLEASE NOTE: Food inclusivity, as well as allergy consciousness, will be a topic covered therefore the course is appropriate for all eating styles from vegan to paleo. While foods and ingredients will be gluten-free, students who tolerate gluten will be able to use the concepts learned in class.

Instructor(s): Filomena Borges
Email:  fborges@stmarys-ca.edu

Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisites:  ENG 5/108 & SEM 002/102
Course Fee:  150

Credits: 1

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