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Posts Tagged: chocolate

If You Like Chocolate, Thank the Midges!

Ernesto Sandoval, collections manager for the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, checks out the cacao tree, aka

If you like chocolate, thank the midges. These tiny flies (about 1 to 3mm) pollinate the intricate flowers of the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao. From those seed pods, known as cocoa beans, come the chocolate that we crave. In fact, we Americans consume...

Ernesto Sandoval, collections manager for the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, checks out the cacao tree, aka
Ernesto Sandoval, collections manager for the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, checks out the cacao tree, aka "chocolate tree." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ernesto Sandoval, collections manager for the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, checks out the cacao tree, aka "chocolate tree." (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Chocolate extravaganza set for Feb. 4 at UC Davis

A dozen dipped chocolate squares come off of the production line.
Chocolate lovers take note: Tickets are available for the Feb. 4 “Chocolate” extravaganza at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis.

The day will begin with an exclusive gourmet class, designed for foodies, epicureans and aficionados of ultra-premium chocolates. The morning class is currently filled, but names are being added to a waiting list, and a larger venue is being sought to accommodate the strong interest in the class.

Leading the gourmet class will be maître chocolatier chef Lionel Clement of Nuubia Chocolate in Pleasanton. Clement was named 2011 Chocolatier of the Year at the inaugural Pastry Live event, held in Atlanta in August. At the competition, Clement received high scores for the flavor and texture of his Lime Vanilla Ganache and was praised for the creativity of design and execution of his Raspberry Jasmine Tea chocolate.

Registration for the morning class is $50 for the general public or $40 for Friends of the Robert Mondavi Institute.

The afternoon program, for which tickets are still available, is intended to provide participants with a glimpse of the history, sustainability and health benefits of chocolate.  Presentations will be made by Alexandra Saunders, co-founder and chief executive officer of Nuubia Chocolate; Carl Keen, a UC Davis nutrition professor and expert on the health benefits of chocolate; and Louis Grivetti, a UC Davis professor emeritus of nutrition and an authority on the history of chocolate.

The program, to be held from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater of the Robert Mondavi Institute, will culminate in a guided chocolate and wine tasting.

Registration for the afternoon program is $55 for industry members and the general public; $45 for UC faculty, staff and friends of the Robert Mondavi Institute; and $20 for UC students.

The Chocolate extravaganza was made possible by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

Registration for the afternoon program and wait-list placement for the morning class are available at rmi.ucdavis.edu/chocolate or by contacting Kim Bannister at kbannister@ucdavis.edu or (530) 752-5171.

Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 3:37 PM
  • Author: Pat Bailey
Tags: cacao (1), Carl Keen (2), chocolate (3), Louis Grivetti (2), nutrition (123)

Depressed people eat more chocolate

Depressing news for those who love chocolate. A recent study published by UC Davis and UC San Diego medical scientists in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that consumption of the delicacy appears to be associated with depression.

The scientists examined the relationship between chocolate and mood among 931 women and men who were not using antidepressants. Their surprising conclusion: Participants who screened positive for possible depression ate an average of 8.4 servings of chocolate per month; those who weren't depressed ate on average 5.4 servings per month.

People who reflected major depression ate an average of 11.8 servings per month. What does that say about people like me who eat 30 or more servings of chocolate every month? It is depressing to contemplate.

The study's authors offered some possible explanations for the seeming correlation of chocolate consumption with depression:
  • Depression could stimulate chocolate cravings as 'self-treatment'
  • Depression may stimulate chocolate cravings for other reasons
  • Chocolate could contribute to depressed mood
  • Inflammation could drive both depression and chocolate cravings
"Future studies are required to elucidate the foundation of the association and to determine whether chocolate has a role in depression, as cause or cure," the authors conclude.

If you are looking for some good news associated with chocolate consumption, go to the UC ANR website Feeling Fine Online and view the 15-minute video of UC Davis nutrition professor Carl Keen explaining the health benefits chocolate.

According to Keen, a diet high in flavanols, such as those in chocolate, can reduce inflammatory conditions associated with cardio vascular disease, vasoconstriction and the risk of forming a blood clot.

A new study indicates that flavanols may increase a population of certain cells in the blood that scientists think help repair the inner walls of blood vessels, improving blood flow and potentially lowering blood pressure. This suggests that, in the future, isolated flavanols or flavanol-rich foods might be useful in preventing or possibly even treating coronary artery disease. For more information, read the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences story Flavanol-rich foods may help heart disease patients, study suggests.

(Ann King Filmer contributed to this story.)


Posted on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 6:39 AM
Tags: Carl Keen (2), chocolate (3), depression (1), heart disease (4)
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