West Valley student wins competition, gets to design chocolate bar

Feb 1, 2024, 6:08 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2024, 7:17 am

Gricelda Arzaluz and another student in the factory. (KSL TV's Mike Anderson)...

Gricelda Arzaluz and another student in the factory. (KSL TV's Mike Anderson)

(KSL TV's Mike Anderson)

LOGAN — Nearly everyone loves chocolate, but few people get a chance to create their own chocolate bar. Utah State University partnered with a school in West Valley City to let students there compete for that chance.

“We read ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ and then at some point in the book, I announce to them this project,” Mark Sanderson said.

Mark Sanderson is a teacher at American One English Schools in West Valley, and one year, he decided, why not take that a step further?

“By having a competition, kids or students take the reading more seriously,” Sanderson said.

A little chocolate indulgence can take you a long way. Gricelda Arzaluz is here from Mexico City, Mexico. She’s learning the process from bean to bar at Utah State University’s Aggie Chocolate Factory, but what actually got her to Utah was a chance to learn English.

Gricelda Arzaluz and another student in the factory.

Gricelda Arzaluz and another student in the factory. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

Arzaluz got to make her winning chocolate bar idea on Thursday.

“Pistachios from my childhood and chocolate from my whole life,” Arzaluz said.

"The Gracy Bite" chocolate bites created by USU students.

“The Gracy Bite” chocolate bites created by students. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

While the idea may be simple, the process is complex: winnowing, grinding, roasting, running it through a melanger, and then pouring it.

“A moment to make it real, to make it touchable and tasted,” Arzaluz said.

It is a big deal to see your creation become real, just like the stuff here at the store. It’s why the folks at the factory want to expand this program eventually to a statewide competition. The experience is about more than a taste for Arzaluz, it is a flood of memories.

"Thistle Rose" chocolate bars created by USU students.

“Thistle Rose” chocolate bars created by students. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

The Gracy Bite comes from a nickname Gricelda Arzaluz’s husband gave her.

“But my dad shared with me pistachios in my childhood,” Arzaluz said. “I wish my dad could taste it.”

It’s an example of why the folks here say chocolate always seems to hold a special place in people’s hearts.

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West Valley student wins competition, gets to design chocolate bar