Blind taste testing this week was part of a chocolate-making competition at VIU in partnership with French chocolatier Cacao Barry. (Vancouver Island University photos)

Blind taste testing this week was part of a chocolate-making competition at VIU in partnership with French chocolatier Cacao Barry. (Vancouver Island University photos)

Students coming up with signature VIU chocolate

Blind taste testing this week part of chocolate recipe competition

Vancouver Island University students in Nanaimo competed to create a signature VIU chocolate and win a sweet prize.

VIU is partnering on a contest with French chocolatier Cacao Barry, which works with chefs to customize chocolate recipes from a selection of cocoa beans from around the world. Professional baking and culinary arts students held taste-testing Monday as they tried to earn the chance to co-create an exclusive VIU chocolate.

“Chocolate has a more complex flavour profile than wine and many different components contribute to the taste and texture that make it stand out,” said Ken Harper, VIU baking instructor, in a press release from the university.

Cacao Berry has been a longtime sponsor of VIU’s culinary arts and baking programs, donating 500 kilograms of chocolate every year.

Mark Pennington, Cacao Barry regional sales manager, said in the release that the Or Noir method “enables the chocolatier to predict the … taste, colour, odour and feel of the chocolate profile before the blend has been physically produced.”

VIU students are going to France and Belgium on a field trip next month, and the student who wins the chocolate contest will receive personal instruction at the Cacao Barry facility near Paris at that time.

“Being able to add to your resumé that you co-designed a unique chocolate recipe and received personal training in Paris is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Julie Bradshaw, one of the students competing. “I had been thinking of specializing in making chocolates long before I enrolled in the baking program. I really enjoy doing that, and I’ve learned so much in the program already.”

A portion of the special VIU chocolate will be given to the university’s baking program, but some will also be made into customized bars that will be sold on campus, potentially with packaging created by VIU graphic design students.

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editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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