By Ally Grubman
This past week, we went to Musee du Chocolat in the 10th arrondissement. Within the museum, we were able to walk around, learn about the history and process of chocolate making, and my favorite part, make our own chocolate bars and chocolate-dipped goodies.
We were given the opportunity to dip marshmallows, candied orange slices, and chocolate squares in milk or dark chocolate and decorate them however we wanted to. We then made and decorated our own chocolate bars, getting fancy and mixing different types of chocolates. This was a fun and yummy experience for all of us!
From an NBB perspective, I learned and feel more confident about my knowledge of chocolate and how it affects the brain. Specifically, within our neuroethics class, we have been talking about drugs and how some have the capability to change or enhance moods. Chocolate is also known to be addictive, something else that it can have in common with certain types of drugs. Wong and Lua (2014) found that chocolate has an incredibly complex relationship with the brain and the way in which it affects an individual’s mood. Each individual is different and can be affected in their own unique and inspiring way. This was something that I found immensely interesting and wondered about after our trip to the Musee du Chocolat. Additionally, Macht and Mueller (2007) found that it was specifically the palatability of the chocolate that immediately improved negative mood within their study conducted on 48 healthy men and women. This reminded me of our assigned article 1 from our NBB402W class, which discussed the effect that cheese has on the HPA axis and stress. Both showed that the palatability of specific foods has the ability to either reduce stress or enhance mood. This is clearly a topic of research that is important for everyone to look at with a closer eye and hope that it is true!
The chocolate museum was a great experience because it taught me a lot about chocolate and piqued my curiosity about the topic. It was also very fun to be able to learn how chocolate is made and see how it was done by a professional. Plus, the goodie bag of chocolates was not bad either! Overall, I think I speak for everyone in the class when I say we really enjoyed the Musee du Chocolat and would recommend it to anyone visiting Paris!
Macht, M., & Mueller, J. (2007). Immediate effects of chocolate on experimentally induced mood states. Appetite, 49(3), 667–674. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2007.05.004
Wong, S. Y., & Lua, P. L. (2011). Chocolate: food for moods. Malaysian Journal of Nutrition, 17(2), 259–269.