The Chocolate Case Study

Length: 3 hours (one lab session)

Level: 1st year Materials Science and Engineering course

Aim: To demonstrate the relevance and application of  scientific theories developed in lectures to a single material. To encourage students to use knowledge from a number of lecture courses in another setting.

Key skills: Group work, presentational skills, time management



You will be assigned to groups of 4 – 6 for the session. Each group is presented with a pack of information about chocolate (raw materials, manufacture, properties, marketing data, heat treatments, compositions, structures etc.) and a set of questions to answer. There is too much information for everyone to read everything, hence the you  need to set priorities and allocate tasks to ensure that all the research is completed in time. 

Groups are also required to give a 5 minutes presentation to the class on a given topic, different for each group (e.g. control of taste through composition, structure and processing). You must therefore share your findings from the reading and relate the information to your knowledge from other lectures (e.g. what is shell casting, tempering etc.). A final component to the case study is taste testing of a range of different chocolate samples to illustrate the role of composition (sugar, milk, cocoa levels), particle size etc. This element is designed to be both fun and informative.