Inside a secret chocolate garden built to avoid the cocoa crisis
Give chocolate a chance to fight
By Alison George
Read and keep secrets. One might call the town of 60km west of London for example. Exotic is certainly not the word. But hidden in a walled garden on the south side of town is a special and unique destination. Without a huge white tent here, chocolate would run into a bumpy road – not marshmallow. This is the international cocoa quarantine center.
Chocolate is the world’s most popular food: seven million tons a year worldwide, and Asian consumers are beginning to like it. However, supply is far from guaranteed. Most of the world’s commercial cocoa plants are from a few clones made in the 1940s, and so far have proved that they are productive enough to meet demand. But that leads to the risk of genetic diversity,
Love the sea urchin? Then develop your own fake version at home. Recently, we’ve seen big research LABS grow hamburgers and meatballs, but now Japan’s Shojinmeat program is teaching people how to do it at home.
The program has attracted a large number of people, including high school students in the fridge to develop seashells, and a woman who works in a fish market during the day and raises sea urchin at night. Another group recently added a small piece of foie gras, which they split into six different ways. Yuki Hanyu, founder of Shojinmeat, said: “the problem is that none of us know the taste of the real thing. But he must have done well, he said: foie gras has a lot of sweetness. “It’s definitely a taste of food.”
Cultivating meat at home can be more environmentally friendly and does not involve killing animals. Whether in commercial laboratory or in someone’s home in the kitchen of planting, cultivation of meat requires the same basic ingredients: few cells to grow meat, an edible structure can let their growth, others can be used to nourish them. The rest is improvisation. The Shojinmeat team was surprised to find that some cells grew well when some of the nutrients were supplied by sports drinks
“I think we’re really at an interesting moment,” said Paul Mozdziak, a professor of physiology at North Carolina State University. He says the success of the project depends on how much support is provided.
Shojinmeat has now released instructions on how to build a small bioreactor at home to produce meat, and has released a meat cookbook online. Meat may have been around for a while before our grocery stores, but Shojinmeat is asking people to explore the future. “I would say that for me, the meat of the dream culture will be a nice sirloin steak with exactly the same flavor characteristics,” Mozdziak said. “After that, we tried dinosaurs.”