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USU's Aggie Chocolate Factory Celebrates its First Chocolate Expo

Wednesday, Oct. 02, 2019

Aggie Chocolate Factory chocolate

The Aggie Chocolate Factory processes bean-to-bar chocolate from organic and sustainably grown cacao and sugar.

A USU food science student teaching a guest

USU food science students taught guests at the expo about the steps involved in making chocolate.

Ted Erickson holds his first-place winnings.

Ted Erickson won 1st place honors in one of the Chocolate Creation competition with his beautiful, rum-flavored confections.

The Aggie Chocolate Factory at Utah State University held its inaugural Aggie Chocolate Expo during USU’s 2019 Homecoming week. A chocolate creation competition was open to students and the community along with samples from the Aggie Chocolate Factory, the Aggie Creamery, student booths and community vendors. USU food science researchers, local chocolatiers and internationally recognized chocolate makers conducted short presentations on the science, art and business of chocolate making throughout the day.

“Here at the Chocolate Factory, our mandate is to do community outreach, to teach, to educate, to do research, to get people excited about food science,” said Steve Shelton, manager of the Aggie Chocolate Factory. "It's a pretty cool way to learn science. You could learn a lot of chemistry in a chemistry lab or you can learn chemistry in a chocolate lab. Which one is better? You know, I think I would go with the chocolate lab where you get to eat your experiments.”

USU food science alumna Alex Funk is the research and development manager at Blommer Chocolate in Chicago, Il. She conducted a presentation about chocolate flavor and was among the judges for the chocolate creation competition.  

"This wasn't here when I was a student, and this would have been amazing,” Funk said. “But I love the growth that I'm seeing, especially in the food science program. I think a lot of people don't always know about the food science program here. I love to see it highlighted, especially with the community outreach of this program.”

Shelton said the first Aggie Chocolate Expo was a success and there are plans to make the expo an annual event. More than 40 cooks and candy makers entered the Chocolate Creations competition, divided between recipes using only Aggie chocolate and those using other brands of chocolate.

Aggie Chocolate Category

  • 1st Place: Smoked Chocolate Rubbed Brisket – Michelle Merrill
  • 2nd Place: Chokito – Zachary Cooper and Thaís Silva
  • 3rd Place: Aggie Chocolate Bunt Cake – Tara Black
  • 4th Place: Mocha Swiss Roll – Wesley Hill
  • 5th Place: Crunch Cake – Zach Cooper and Thaís Silva

Other Chocolate Category 

  • 1st Place: Pezones de Venus – Ted Ereckson
  • 2nd Place: Samoan Cheesecake – Erin Jessen
  • 3rd Place: Pistachio Truffles – Linda Sergent
  • 4th Place: Chocolate Almond Fudge Fantasy Cake – Mary Stauffer 
  • 5th Place: Browned Butter Brownies – Erin Jessen

Learn more about the Aggie Chocolate Factory and the Expo at


  • - Bronson Teichert, Multimedia Marketing Manager, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences/USU Extension

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