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These chocolate experiments are meant to be tried at home!

Making Chocolate from Beans

Crystallization Demos

  • Add a bit of water to melted chocolate-- there are a lot of hydrophobic fats in chocolate, so as soon as you add water the hydrophobic bits gather together and the structure changes dramatically. The melted chocolate turns a much darker color, and it doesn't quite solidify because the crystals can no longer stack together.
  • Experiment with melting and then cooling chocolate until it re-solidifies: chocolate with water won't crystallize properly, and neither will chocolate that's heated too quickly (ie poorly tempered). The way to get your final chocolate into the right crystalline state is to add a few pieces of solid chocolate, or "seed crystals," so the molecules know which crystal structure to emulate. So you can cool a bit of chocolate with seed crystals, and a bit without, and see the difference.
  • Chocolate with water can be foamed with a hand mixer, becoming very different from unmixed chocolate and water
  • Chocolate + cream + liquid nitrogen creates nitrogen truffles

Insulating properties of chocolate

  • Dipping frozen liquids into chocolate and letting it melt shows that the cocoa butter is amazingly hydrophobic.

Chocolate Tasting

  • You can do a Chocolate Tasting, and use different brands of chocolate to show how certain variables affect the taste. Dark chocolates often work best for this. Swiss chocolate is conched, so it has a much smaller particle size than American chocolate. Then there are brands of Mexican-style chocolate like Taza which are stone-ground. Other important variables include the freshness of the cacao beans, the species of cacao, the location of the crop, and different bean-to-bar processing styles.

See Also

  • Chocolate composition
  • Making of chocolate
  • Crystalline states
  • Lipids and polar molecules
  • Foams and emulsions
  • Biology and ecology of chocolate
  • Excellent lecture on tempering:

Tour a local factory

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