The Chocolate Conservatory

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FCCI is honored to introduce The Chocolate Conservatory, a singular event for the specialty cacao-chocolate community to engage in deep discussion on pressing issues and collaborative workshopping of shared challenges. Founded in 2018, The Chocolate Conservatory gathers together engaged industry professionals to work closely with a diverse and talented group of creative actors from specialty food and academia, providing an opportunity for constructive dialogue. For two days, Conservatory attendees experience the intensity - and challenge - of understanding the present state of the industry and co-designing its future. The program is complemented by sensory experiences designed to educate and inspire as new ideas and future collaborations emerge. The Conservatory's setting on the Harvard University campus and amid New England's growing chocolate scene provides an ideal environment for discussing projects, sharing insights, getting to know colleagues, and becoming acquainted with the next generation of significant work in cacao and chocolate.

Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute Harvard University Department of African and African American Studies Harvard University Center for African Studies Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies


Innovative and emerging research and education on specialty cacao and chocolate are at the core of the conference. The Chocolate Conservatory features daily lectures by academic experts on topics driven by community interest, as well as professional presentations on impact-driven industry projects. Discussions between speakers and attendees follow these presentations, creating space for meaningful interaction. Afternoon workshops focused on solving industry problems foster in-depth cooperation and forward action. Groups are kept small to facilitate discussion and allow for a focus on specific aspects of the craft of specialty cacao and chocolate. Sensory activities prepared by culinary professionals take place throughout the day and into the night. The outcomes of these discussions - ideas, challenges, and solutions - are reviewed, recorded, and distributed for take-away after each event. The Chocolate Conservatory is designed to offer a forum through which the cacao-chocolate community can progress collaboratively and in real-time.


The Chocolate Conservatory aims to facilitate international, intergenerational conversations around ethics and quality in cacao and chocolate, as well as to widely share the most innovative ideas that emerge during the event. The first Chocolate Conservatory will be hosted in collaboration with Harvard University, with subsequent events to follow in Ecuador and Ghana. At the first event, attendees will hail from the realms of cacao production, trade, chocolate manufacturing, retail, hospitality, specialty food, anthropology, agricultural economics, business studies, and development studies. We anticipate participant representation from Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America, and Asia.

Attendance is open to academics and industry members with a demonstrated focus on specialty cacao and chocolate, and requires an application, pre-registration, and a fee. The event will accommodate speakers of multiple languages with translation as needed.

If you are serious about participating in the development of a robust specialty cacao and chocolate industry, this event is for you. The schedule is filled with networking, academic guidance, industry project presentation and critique, and sensory experiences, all designed to energize participants toward professional and collaborative growth.

Dates and location

The conference will take place from Thursday, October 11 to Friday, October 12, 2018, at Harvard University's campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Speakers and guests

The Chocolate Conservatory will feature academic lectures by four scholars, three industry panels with over a dozen professionals, multiple collaborative workshops, and several interactive sensory activities. In addition to their academic and industry accomplishments, each speaker and workshop facilitator has been specifically chosen for their skill at guiding developing thinkers in the cacao-chocolate space.

See the 2018 schedule for details.


Admissions for The Chocolate Conservatory have now closed.

Registrants have been asked to agree to our standards of conduct.

New England Chocolate Festival

The Chocolate Conservatory precedes the New England Chocolate Festival, to be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Participants in The Chocolate Conservatory are encouraged to avail themselves of the community-building possibilities of the Festival as well.

Travel and accommodations

The Harvard Square area has a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, AirBnb, and VRBO. The Conservatory will take place in Harvard Square, Cambridge, on the MBTA subway Red Line. The nearest airport is Boston Logan International (BOS).

We are grateful for the material support of the following organizations:

Allagash Brewing Company Bonnat Chocolatier Boston International Food Film Festivals Cacao de Origen Cambridge Brewing Company Cambridge Food Lab
Champagne Bureau Culinary Institute of America Dandelion Chocolate Equal Exchange Formaggio Kitchen Govino
Institute of Culinary Education Lake Champlain Chocolates Rebel Rebel Sirene Artisan Chocolate Makers Taza Chocolate Zorzal Cacao