Chocolate is a substance that’s stable at room temperature and starts to transform—melt—on human contact. That melt is a relationship, one reflected from cacao seed and cocoa bean to the final product, that holds a variety of meanings. That diversity of connection is the inspiration behind The Slow Melt, the first podcast dedicated to a deep exploration of chocolate.
The Slow Melt uses chocolate as the thick, delicious lens through which to explore the world—from flavor and physiology to chemistry and conservation, from global markets and gender to climate change, social justice and beyond—highlighting the people, places and processes behind this $100 billion industry. By better understanding chocolate, we can better appreciate it, more easily identify what we love, and support the makers and producers that create those kinds of bars. Guests include farmers, conservationists, manufacturers, tasting experts, scientists, social justice advocates, chocolate purveyors and, of course, award-winning chocolate makers.
The 23-minute program launched on January 27, 2017, and is distributed biweekly through traditional podcast channels, as well as through the Public Radio Exchange. The program is written and hosted by Simran Sethi, a journalist, former visiting scholar at the University of West Indies’ Cocoa Research Centre, and the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, named one of the best food books of 2016 by Smithsonian. The show is produced by Shawn Corey Campbell and edited by Sáša Woodruff, with production assistance from Katie Ranke.
Simran Sethi is the host, writer and creator of The Slow Melt. Named the environmental “messenger” by Vanity Fair, Simran is a journalist and educator focused on food and social change. She is the author of Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, a book about the story of changes in food and agriculture told through bread, wine, chocolate, coffee and beer. She is based in Denver, CO, and is currently eating obscene amounts of small-batch chocolate in the name of “research.”
Shawn Corey Campbell is the producer of The Slow Melt. He was strolling down the street minding his own business, when the public radio van pulled up, candy was offered, and a 25-year ride through the world of public broadcasting began. His long audio trip began with a flirtation with commercial radio, followed by stints at Alaska Public Radio and NPR in DC and LA. Now, he pushes faders in California at KPCC. The Slow Melt induces guilt over his love of Whoppers, but he likes good chocolate, too.
Sáša Woodruff is the editor of The Slow Melt. She has reported, produced and edited for major news outlets, including NPR, Public Radio International and American Public Media, for more than two decades. An avid cook and baker, she was named a 2016 Viner of the Year by the Taste Awards for her six-second films documenting her European food adventures. When she’s not shooting video or editing audio, you’ll find her in the garden or making strudel dough from scratch. Also, dark chocolate, please.
Katie Ranke is the media manager of The Slow Melt. She has worked as an environmental researcher, artisan chocolatier and social media designer. She is passionate about contributing to projects that support farmers, natural ecosystems and social justice. Katie also guides eco hiking tours on her home island of Kauai, Hawaii. She has transcribed countless hours of interviews around chocolate and is STILL fascinated by the stuff. She is one of those people who loves raw chocolate.
Kim Hawley is the creator of The Slow Melt website and logo. An editor, web designer and photographer dedicated to sustainable food systems, she worked with Simran on Bread, Wine, Chocolate and believes in telling the stories of food and the people who grow it. Kim now helps small businesses grow their brands through website development. Based in Lee’s Summit, MO, she enjoys anything made by Askinosie Chocolate.