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The Secret Life of Chocolate: Part 4

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 7, 2011

The last part of The Secret Life of Chocolate, the D block, adds more of a social context to chocolate’s use. Louis Grivetti tells us of a few notable events where chocolate was featured (I bet you didn’t know about its role on Mount Everest). I finish off the show profiling a chocolatier in my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA, Mackenzies Chocolates. Owner Ian Mackenzie explains the process behind making molded chocolates – and they have quite a few molds there (check out the shot of the wall of molds in the show)!

One of the hardest things overall was just keeping the show from being an hour or so long. There is so much about chocolate beyond that it is delicious. (Case in point: the book that Grivetti and Shapiro co-edited, Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage, was 900 pages or so long.) Because this show was also part of my Honors thesis, I went to town on the background research, so I had to work on not getting too carried away.

I realized I have not given a shout out to some others who helped out in particular – my incredibly patient anchors Kayla Harrity and Lynn Herman, my also-incredibly-patient primary director and go-to person when I was clueless, Stephanie Greenland, and teacher Marsha Della-Giustina. Special thanks to Tim and Carrie for showing me how to do editing tricks that I had NO idea existed and putting up with me consistently staying five minutes over closing time every night. A shout out to Anna Waldman-Brown and the MIT Lab for Chocolate Science for letting me come over really late at night to shoot the science bits (and borrow a double boiler!). Of course other people helped too, but I’m not going to go bad-Oscar-speech-style and list every single one of them here.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this show as much as I enjoyed producing it (and yes, despite all the near-sleepless nights and stress, I did enjoy it). If you found something particularly interesting, feel free to say so in the comments for that particular block – I’d love to hear it!

And I apologize if I now have you craving chocolate… I ate far, far too much this semester myself! (The things one must do in the name of research…)

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 7, 2011 at 1:12 AM

The Secret Life of Chocolate: Part 3

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 7, 2011

Part 3 (the C block) of The Secret Life of Chocolate localizes chocolate to Boston (where Emerson College is located), and as it turns out, chocolate actually goes WAY back in Beantown. Reporter Megan Lamontagne (who can do awesome standups) joins in live to take us to the locations of a few of history’s chocolate hotspots. I also hopped on one of the chocolate walking tours (yes, such things exist… in fact, there are two companies that do them in Boston, if you can believe there’s that kind of a demand!) to see what they had to offer. I round out the block by showing you how Serenade Chocolatier in Brookline, MA makes 14-inch-tall candy-filled Easter eggs.

I was glad I got to localize this block, because Boston really does have a diverse range of chocolate connections. I really only touched on some of them – there are quite a few. One thing I’d change – and it was just because I ran out of time – was I’d find other clips to add to the beginning and end of Megan’s package so the live shot wouldn’t look like a jump from one place to another. That’s me being critical of my work. She was great though – it was SO COLD when we shot her standups and I had her outside for well over an hour traipsing around downtown Boston.

Check out the last part of the show! (And Parts 1 and 2 if you haven’t already!)

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 7, 2011 at 12:43 AM

The Secret Life of Chocolate: Part 2

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 6, 2011

Presumably you’ve already seen Part 1 of this show – now I’ll introduce you to the B block of the show. In Part 2, I focus on where chocolate comes from.

Reporter Anaridis Rodriguez joins in live to talk about the Cacao Genome Database, which is the online site for the Cacao Genome Project. It includes a sequenced and annotated genome that researchers can use. Howard-Yana Shapiro breaks down what the project means for the cacao plant and the farmers who grow it. MIT Lab for Chocolate Science president Anna Waldman-Brown talks about her experience on the cacao co-op Kallari in Ecuador, and reporter Lindsay Burrill takes you behind the scenes at Taza Chocolate Factory in Somerville, MA. I round out the block with a trip to Blue Tierra Chocolate Cafe in South Boston, where owner Jen Turner does some of the most interesting chocolate decorating I’ve ever seen.

Challenges in this block were keeping the show flowing because it was such a package-heavy block. I had to do a lot of cutting out, especially in the reporter pieces after they came in. Also, keeping it from getting boring was key (and I hope I succeeded…. it’s hard for me to tell because I’m such a science junkie!). I’m still surprised with the content I got though – especially finding the cacao plant to shoot at the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens. It’s hard to find actual cacao plants in these parts…

Check out my posts on the next two parts of the series!

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 7, 2011 at 12:20 AM

The Secret Life of Chocolate: Part 1

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By Cat Viglienzoni — May 6, 2011

It’s FINALLY HERE! And by ‘it’ I mean the chocolate show that has been in the works since February.

This show was my primary academic time commitment this semester (outside of my internship). It was my show for my Broadcast Practicum class, my capstone for my journalism major. We were given the assignment to produce a show that was roughly a half hour long, with four blocks, and at least four reporters (two live and two self-contained). In our class, our teacher assigned the positions for each show.

This block gives a (very, very condensed) version of chocolate’s history before we get into some of the logistics behind making chocolate (including, yes, a demo from one of my reporters, the cooking host extraordinaire Justine Frostad). I profile Chocolee Chocolates in the South End of Boston and the chocolate classes that owner Lee Napoli holds there.

Without further ado, I introduce you to Part 1 of The Secret Life of Chocolate. (This was the A block of my show.)

I did nearly everything for my show – all the shooting and graphics, and nearly all the writing and editing – as well as four additional reporter pieces for the show (one at the end of each block). And because the material was so specialized, it was a challenge sometimes setting up and getting to everything while also trying to keep on top of my other schoolwork. I also one-man-banded all of the shooting, with the exception of about two cases (where my reporters were on camera and I was behind the lens).

One of the challenges I faced in the first part of the show was how to visually deal with the lack of video for the history portion. Because television obviously relies so much on visuals, I couldn’t leave the same shot (the anchors talking) on the screen for too long. I ended up making graphics, but if I’d had more time I’d have found a way to give them more motion so it was less static. Overall, I felt my writing for the show could have been better – I didn’t get to spend as much time on that as I would have liked.

Overall, it looks WAY better than I thought it would though. Please check out the rest of the parts on the other Secret Life of Chocolate blog posts – there’s interesting material in each block!

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Written by Cat Viglienzoni

May 6, 2011 at 11:21 PM