I was honored to have the opportunity to travel to Japan in November 2023 to participate in the 6th Annual Sakeology event hosted by Niigata University, Niigata Prefecture, and the Niigata Sake Brewers Association. Niigata is located about 150 miles northwest of Tokyo, bordering the Sea of Japan. The region is known for its rice cultivation and high-quality spring water that flows down from the neighboring mountains — two critical ingredients for producing sake!
Pieces of dried mango rest on the bottom of a black opaque goblet. Next to it, another glass contains apricot jam. Leticia Cardoso Madureira Tavares, a second-year Ph.D. student in biosystems engineering, brings the glasses up to her nose one at a time to take a sniff.
An academic institution’s ebbs and flows are ever-changing and comforting in their regularity. Students recently celebrated at various commencement ceremonies, and we wish them the best as they move on to new adventures and challenges. The campus has returned to its quiet summer atmosphere as activities slow down.
Chocolate and wine are more similar than one might think. For example, chocolate and wine are both fermented, can be analyzed for tasting notes and other sensory descriptors like tannins, and are produced worldwide. With so many different styles and origins of wine and chocolate, tasters can have a lot of fun deciphering which kinds of wines and chocolates best pair together to create a divine sensory experience.
I grew up in Los Angeles, so my childhood was not marked by many experiences surrounding agriculture. Many students who attend UC Davis come from similar backgrounds, so UC Davis is where students like me are exposed to the plethora of sciences and niches under the umbrella of agriculture. Personally, my passion for wine and grapes was found when I attended UC Davis, something I had never been exposed to previously. Meanwhile, some find their passion for goats, or what Ben Rupchis calls the “gateway livestock,” for students foraying into agriculture.
What makes a cup of coffee or an energy bar enjoyable is usually more than just the taste. The surrounding environment may also influence the experience.
With that in mind, the Department of Food Science and Technology at University of California, Davis has constructed a new multi-sensory immersive room that can be used for product development, innovation and research.