When mathematics student Martin Ghaidarov and his friends whipped up the idea to create a chocolate club at Drexel in 2009, it had more to do with his sweet tooth than an interest in chocolate production, he said.
Three years later, the current senior says the time he’s invested in the Drexel Chocolate Terminators (DCT) has garnered a much deeper appreciation for all aspects of the sweet and creamy treat.
“There’s a lot of evolution in the mindset of a chocolate eater when they join the club—including myself,” Ghairadov said. “It can be a good thing to think about where my food is coming from, but you don’t realize its true importance until you are actually eating that special chocolate, discussing it with the group. If I read about it on Wikipedia, it’s just not the same as sampling at the meetings.”
Ghairadov says that’s the main function of the DCT: to gather club members and guests, taste various chocolates and discuss everything about them, from their tastes to their origins.
“It’s not like we go to 7-Eleven and pick up a bunch of commercial chocolate bars,” Ghairadov said. “We like to buy chocolate with different ingredients or unique back stories.”
Ghairadov said DCT members have a special interest in tasting fair trade and organic chocolate.
“One of my favorites was a type of chocolate in little squares, each with a small story about the community in Ecuador where it was made,” Ghairadov said. “A margin of the profits went to the family, in a small area far away that we probably wouldn’t be thinking about otherwise. And it helped that the chocolate was really delicious.”
Good flavor is always a factor when it comes to selecting chocolates for the tastings. Ghairadov said while he’s partial to milk chocolate, he’s learning to love dark chocolate for its health benefits.
“We try to have a wide variety of chocolate at our events, because really, each piece is a conversation starter,” Ghairadov said. “In many of our minds before, it was like chocolate just grew on trees in the wrapper, and Hershey was plucking them. The club tastings are a way for us to open our minds and our tastes.”
Ghairadov said DCT holds events once or twice per quarter. For more information on how to get involved, email the club leaders at firstname.lastname@example.org.