What Makes Chocolate “Good”?


Feb 11, 2020, 6:00 pm


Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Carla D. Martin, Founder and Executive Director, Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute; Lecturer, Harvard University

The social and environmental values underlying artisanal chocolate production have become increasingly important in its marketing. Good taste is paramount, of course, but how does one measure “social goodness,” and what additional value does it add for the consumer? Chocolate makers’ interests often diverge from those of cacao producers, and industry stakeholders have not clearly addressed these concerns. Carla Martin examined the cacao-chocolate industry and highlighted the often- conflicting goals that can create gaps in social and environmental responsibility. The program included a chocolate tasting. Chocolate samples were available for sale.

Presented by the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and the Harvard Museum of Natural History, in collaboration with gâté comme des filles and Taza Chocolate. Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge.  Free event parking at the 52 Oxford Street Garage. This program is recommended for guests over 18 years of age. Visit hmsc.harvard.edu for event details.

Related exhibition: Resetting the Table: Food and Our Changing Tastes.

Carla D. Martin, PhD, is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute and a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Carla is a social anthropologist whose current research focuses on ethics, quality, and politics in cacao and chocolate and draws on several years of domestic and international ethnographic experience. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Transition Magazine, Social Dynamics, The Root, US History Scene, Sodade Magazine, Socio.hu, The Savannah Review, and edited volumes. She lectures widely and has taught extensively in African and African American Studies, critical food studies, social anthropology, and ethnomusicology, and has received numerous awards in recognition of excellence in teaching and research. Find her online at carladmartin.com and @carladmartin. 

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