A Taste of Chocolate with Miss Choco
For most of us, chocolate is associated with pleasure. We use it in lavish desserts, we eat it when we want a treat or a little pick-me-up, or we offer it as a gift on special occasions. But seldom do we think about chocolate as a food that has political, environmental and ethical implications.
Being a tropical plant, chocolate is produced in countries of the South, where environmental norms and working conditions can be vulnerable. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that consumers in the North expect a low-cost product. The industry has responded by mass-marketing chocolate that is often-time of lower quality, unfair and not sustainable.
Karine Chrétien-Guillemette, a.k.a. Miss Choco, is a chocolate lover. But for many years, she has been preoccupied with the way in which we consume chocolate. To develop awareness and raise respect for the product and its artisans, she got right to the reason why we eat chocolate: pleasure!
Miss Choco believes that the senses can be a gateway to start understanding the complex dimensions of chocolate, then leading to a change in consumption habits.
What is Food?
For many years, Karine Chretien Guillemette owned a chocolate shop specialized in bean-to-bar (La Tablette de Miss Choco, Montreal) and imported and distributed several bean-to-bar chocolate brands in Canada. She also hosted numerous chocolate tasting workshops, conferences and pairing events.
As a PhD candidate in food studies at Concordia University, she is now going back to her academic roots in education. Her research focuses on food pedagogy and critical consumer education in the specialty bean-to-bar chocolate industry.