Upper School La Chocolaterie Winterim

By Katie Fournier '14

  • Making chocolate treats at a student’s house. (Photo: Katie Fournier ’14)
  • Chocolate lollipops hand-made by students. (Photo: Hannah Skutt ’14)
  • Chocolate-covered marshmallows hand-dipped by students. (Photo: Hannah Skutt ’14)
  • Drinking chocolate from Cacao. (Photo: Katie Fournier ’14)
  • Inside Moonstruck Chocolate on 23rd St. (Photo: Katie Fournier ’14)
  • The morning group all hard at work making chocolate treats. (Photo: Hannah Skutt ’14)

During Catlin Gabel’s annual Winterim week, a group of 18 students and three teachers ventured into Portland to learn about the various aspects of making and selling chocolate and to sample delicious chocolate products.

At the beginning of the week students engaged in a group-building relay game using chocolate before launching into a discussion about the history of chocolate and the basics of sustainable and fair-trade chocolate production.

The first outing for students included visits to Tea Chai Te for a special house blend chocolate tea and, later, samples of specialty truffles at Moonstruck on 23rd St. in Portland.

On the next day of the workshop, the group spent the morning watching the iconic movie “Chocolat” before taking public transportation to the Multnomah County library to find recipes that included chocolate to make the next day in smaller groups.

At the end of the second day, the group enjoyed a taste of drinking chocolate from Portland’s popular Cacao chocolate shop. Students chose from three distinct flavors: dark chocolate, milk chocolate with cinnamon, or dark chocolate with spices.

Finally, the group stopped by Ruby Jewel Scoops on an unseasonably sunny afternoon for ice cream before heading back to Catlin Gabel.

The next day the group split into two: one group baked, cooked, and concocted chocolate treats, while the other group spent time with Jeremy Karp, owner of Batch PDX.

Group one began in the morning with senior Mckenzie Spooner’s drinking chocolate, followed by chocolate birthday cake from the “Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook,” along with various other treats doused in chocolate. Group two then repeated the cycle in the afternoon by making candy.

At Karp’s small chocolate factory, students had the opportunity to sample several of his most popular truffles, as well as a few that are not yet sold to the public.

Karp also demonstrated the process of making chocolate truffles using equal parts machine, handiwork, and tasting. Most importantly, he shared his personal knowledge of the industry and his enthusiasm for the trade.

The last day of the workshop was dedicated to a scavenger hunt that encompassed the entire city, requiring six groups to search for the best chocolate ice cream, cake, cookies, croissant, mocha, and donut in Portland. At the end of the scavenger hunt, the groups shared their findings with the rest of the students, and even enjoyed samples of the favorite treats.

Those outside of a specific Winterim group do not always get the chance to learn about each student’s experiences in detail, but the La Chocolaterie Winterim definitely gave students a tasty and fun-filled experience.