Yenra : Chocolate : What is in Chocolate? : Chocolate chemistry explanation

Cocoa Pod

The Institute of Food Research is serving chocolate-coated chemistry at the Science Museum on Wednesday 12 March.

Concepts such as "polymorphism" and "super-cooling" will be broken down to bite size pieces with the help of the Food of the Gods.

"Chocolate commands attention", says Zoe Dunford at the Institute of Food Research. "It also provides an interesting model to see how molecules stack together to create different forms. Like carbon, which is found in nature as powder, graphite and diamonds, the fat molecules in chocolate can crystallise in a number of different ways. Only one of these forms results in chocolate with the desired snap, gloss, melting point, texture and shrinkage on solidifying".

"Chocolate is a good example of something which people of all ages love, but which has a complex scientific basis to its structure", says Dr Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North and Chair of the Science and Technology Select Committee. "After liquorice allsorts it is my favourite indulgence -- and it should remain an occasional treat."

Visitors will also be able to learn about the raw materials of chocolate, including cocoa beans, cocoa nibs and cocoa butter. A cocoa pod from the Caribbean will be on display.