The Sweet Taste of Science – Chocolate Week

I love topics like this; I can carry out my own “experiments” while I write the article. Many bags of Maltesers were harmed in the making of this series.

Chocolate is serious business, not only for an industry worth nearly $5 billion a year in the US, but also for consumers. In fact, people take chocolate so seriously it has even lead to riots. The Spanish town of Chiapa Real was so enamoured with chocolate that the locals were asking their maids to bring them chocolate during Mass at the local church. The bishop, who was strongly opposed to chocolate (as were several churches of the time), made moves to stop the practice, leading to swords being drawn in the church. The situation was only resolved when the bishop was suddenly taken ill and died – the suspicion being he drank a glass of poisoned chocolate.


So what is it about this simple food which makes people so fanatical? This series of articles will look at the science behind making chocolate, why people are so enamoured with it, and the health benefits it provides.


Welcome to “Chocolate Week”.


nom nom nom



Big thanks to my good friends at the RiAus ( for allowing me to crash their “Gluttony – The Science of Chocolate” lecture, and their speakers; Brendan Somerville, the chief taster from Haigh’s, and Dr Robyn Vast, postdoctoral fellow at the CSIRO. It was just lucky timing – I had planned to write about this topic before they announced their event


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