When we think of a chocolate lab what instantly crosses your mind? Chocolate rivers of smooth and creamy chocolate transforming into all types of chocolate bars and snacks like the Willy Wonka Factory? Experimenting with fragrant cacao to explore the most unexpected of chocolate flavors is every chocolate lover’s dream. The Wekiva Chocolate Lab at Wekiva High School Culinary Arts is a dream come true for students who are interested in culinary arts; especially craft chocolate.
Chocolate-making skills are an art worthy of learning; and what better way to learn it than at a dedicated chocolate lab right within your high school? This high school chocolate lab boasts some of the finest ingredients chosen by its very talented and fun Chef-Teacher Christopher Bates, the creator of this visionary project.
A Fully Equipped Chocolate Haven
When he approached Cocoa Supply to source ingredients for this idea, Cocoa Supply couldn’t find a better way to support and promote one of its missions and true passion: education. Education will not only teach future consumers and craft chocolate makers about the quality of the ingredients, but it will also show the differences between sustainable and ethical cacao and the importance to choose the right ingredients.
Is there a better way than a fully equipped chocolate lab, the right ingredients, and a class eager to learn how to make their favorite treat? Wekiva Chocolate Lab boasts a stocked pantry, including cacao butter, nibs, and Tahitian vanilla beans. All of these were supplied to the students of Wekiva High School by Cocoa Supply to help create future chocolate magicians.
With an extensive chocolate inventory and a brief introduction to the farms and cacao process from the beans to cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder by the President and Founder of CocoaSupply, students got to learn the origin of the cocoa beans of one of the best origins in the world. Cocoa Supply prides itself in sourcing some of the best quality cocoa from ethical and sustainable small farms.
Cocoa Education Is a Life Lesson
Chocolate is exciting, and pairing it with education is a brilliant way to teach and foster innovation. This chocolate lab initiative enables the students to enjoy hands-on learning. Lessons in chocolate tempering, baking, and executing some chocolatey recipes add new life skills for the students.
With the rich history associated with chocolate, students not only learn about the basis of chocolate making, such as grinding the nibs, adding the cocoa butter, the sugar, vanilla…in other words, the true meaning of bean-to-bar chocolate. But they can also dive deep into other related topics including geography, botany, farming, and more. This also raises questions pertaining to farm slavery, child labor, and human trafficking in certain origins, and the importance of not promoting this horrendous, inhuman practice by only purchasing from ethical sources.
The Wekiva Chocolate Lab not only serves as a place for creative freedom and innovative discoveries; but also teaches the students an important lesson. With Cocoa Supply as an integral part of their chocolaty experiments, students develop an understanding of ethical cocoa sources.
The Future in Chocolate
Will the world ever see something like Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight? You never know! But with a chocolate lab equipped with the best ingredients, run by some of the most inspiring young chocolate enthusiasts at Wekiva High School, the dream does not seem very far-fetched.