Family Weekend Brunch

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What is it?

In mid-October for MIT Parents' Weekend, we serve chocolate and get people excited about our club.

Here's a sample description that we sent the Parents' Weekend organizers:

Gather your family for a buffet breakfast featuring MIT’s Lab for Chocolate Science. With the help of the lab members, you can begin your day by enjoying theobromines and phenethylamines--without any prior experience in molecular gastronomy! The lab is always happy to get into some chocolate-making details--like the economics of vanilla beans, truffle-making, or life on a cacao farm--if you ask the right questions. Find them at the table with the chocolate.

Notes from Fall 2010

Around October 15, set up a booth at the end of the buffet table with chocolate fondue (to pour over the nuts and fruits provided by Alycen), gourmet chocolate samples (Kallari, Equal Exchange, etc), and a poster about chocolate science (which needs to be re-printed). We provided chocolate to about 260 parents and students, and got reimbursed about $100 for supplies. We had 2-4 volunteers around at any given time to discuss chocolate science and show off Theo the cacao pod. We put up our Chocolate Science poster on an easel and hung the Giant Cacao Pod poster over the table.

The previous few years, we held a much smaller pancakes-and-waffles event and made all the food ourselves for ~60 people. Since this was so popular, the Family Weekend people wanted to make it bigger, sanitary, more official, and easier for us to organize-- which is why we only served chocolate last year and let the caterers take care of all the food.

Shopping List and Budget

Does anyone have the actual budget with amounts of chocolate from last year? Could be useful!

Food provided in 2010:

 - dark, milk, and white chocolate fondue (chocolate + double-boiler + hot-plates)
 - samples of gourmet chocolate (ordered in bulk from Kallari, Equal Exchange, Madécasse, and Taza-- we ordered the "sample sqaures" from Taza, and everything else was bulk orders of bars) and signs talking about each chocolate sample
 - hot chocolate

Science-y stuff from 2010:

 - chocolate science poster
 - Theo the cacao pod
 - samples of cacao beans
 - GIANT cacao pod poster
 - lab coats and T-shirts
 - chocolate tasting guides (either written in handouts, or explained by volunteers walking around)

Prices keep changing, so you'll have to figure that one out yourself.

Sample Volunteer Recruitment Email

Hi Chocolatiers,

Are you an early riser? Would you like a free continental breakfast? Do you like parents? We have an event coming up next weekend, and we'd love your enthusiastic help! Free chocolate is involved, of course!

The Lab for Chocolate Science is hosting a Breakfast+Chocolate event next Sunday, October 15, for Family Weekend. MIT is providing the food, and the LCS is providing the chocolate.  :)

There are two ways you can help: 1) Chocolate Prep

 - When: Friday, October 14, 7:30-8:30pm
 - Where: Student Center, room TBA
 - What: Come chat with a few officers and break chocolate into sample sized pieces
 - Why: Chocolate!

2) Serving Chocolate at the Breakfast

 - When: Saturday, October 15, 7:30-10am
 - Where: Lobdell Dining Hall, Student Center
 - What: Learn how to make gourmet chocolate fondue and serve it to hungry parents
 - Why: Free Breakfast (yes, the same one the parents are paying for!), and Chocolate!

No previous knowledge of chocolate science required. You'll pick it up as we go along! If you can make both times, that would be great, since you'll be able to see the results of your prep work.

If you're available for one or both shifts, please reply to ____ and let us know! We need your help and enthusiasm about chocolate!



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