Scoop: School of Yum

Students hunger for homework at Theo's Chocolate Academy

Category: Eat + Drink Articles


   It’s no accident that biting into chocolate is blissful. “There is so much rich history and science to the experience of chocolate,” explains Dr. Kristy Leissle, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in the economics of cocoa trade and the culture of chocolate in Ghana and Britain. The “Dean of Beans” (yes, her official title) at Theo Chocolate—the Seattle company that has gained fame for roasting fair-trade and organic cacao beans to produce award-winning chocolate—Leissle is the brain behind Chocolate Academy, a collection of thematically grouped courses that serves as Theo’s newest product line, launching this spring (courses from $55; for schedule and registration, call 206.632.5100 or go to

Leissle’s commitment to the Chocolate Academy becoming a “leading institute of chocolate learning” is evident in the breadth of the curriculum and innovative faculty. From a Chocolate Science series taught by Theo’s resident biochemist, Dr. Andy McShea (“Chocolate for Nerds: The Biochemistry of Flavor” is one class in this section), to a roll-up-your-sleeves Art of Chocolate Making roster (one can sign up for “Homemade Chocolate: Reviving an Ancient Tradition”), all courses run about two hours and are experiential, involving tasting and demonstrations. Limited enrollment ensures an intimate learning environment (and enough samples for everyone) at Theo’s historic landmark headquarters in the heart of Fremont.