The Bittersweet History of Chocolate in France

Presented by
Mark Seaman, Master Sugar Artist/Instructor/Judge

Podcast courtesy of WBEZ’s Chicago Amplified

We will partake of a chip of chocolate history when award-winning master sugar artist, teacher, and judge Mark Seaman makes his second appearance before CHC for a bittersweet history lesson on the evolution of chocolate in France. Come join us as we savor the story of the oldest chocolate house in France and of the chocolatiers who indulged the kings of France and Marie Antoinette (who apparently craved more than cake–if only she had said: “Let them eat chocolate.”) Find out how chocolate goes from bean to bar, understand the differences among milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate, and learn how to decipher current chocolate terms such as single origin, single variety, organic, artisanal, fair trade, and more. Chef Seaman will educate your palate to know the difference between a Hershey Bar and a couverture from the shop of a celebrated Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Reference material includes an indulgent sampling of chocolates prepared by the French Pastry School of Chicago.


Chef Mark Seaman teaches in the French Pastry School’s L’Art du Gateau–The Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program. He has received many awards for his wedding cakes, and has been featured on The Food Network, The Travel Channel, and ABC 7 Chicago. In 2009, Chef Seaman opened a new sugar art studio in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood where he holds workshops. Chef Seaman also leads pastry enthusiasts on the “International Pastry Tour,” giving them behind-the-scenes looks into pastry and chocolate kitchens throughout France. (He can be reached at

Program hosted at Lexington College.