Valentines' Day will be twice as nice this year at Historic Deerfield. On Saturday, February 14, 2009, bring your loved ones and sweethearts to celebrate the sixth annual American Heritage Chocolate Celebration, a popular event that explores the connections between American History and chocolate.
New this year will be a demonstration and lecture by Chris Fox, Curator of Fort Ticonderoga, titled "Chocolate and its Role in the Military." This lecture will explore why chocolate was a necessity for early American soldiers on the move.
Another special addition is the new exhibition "Stimulating Beverages: Tea, Coffee, and Chocolate Wares at Historic Deerfield." This exhibition will explore the fascinating role played by caffeinated beverages in early New England, through an examination of Historic Deerfield's vast collection of hot beverage wares. Recent acquisitions of an English creamware chocolate stand and a copper chocolate pot with its original wooden chocolate mill will be featured. The exhibition will be on view through August 9, 2009.
A rich array of chocolate foods and beverages made by the Deerfield Inn cooks will also be on sale throughout the day. Last years goodies included a dense chocolate torte and a wide variety of fruits dipped in melted American Heritage Chocolate®.
Back by popular demand will be chocolate demonstrations by Susan McLellan Plaisted, Proprietress of Heart to Hearth Cookery, working over the open hearth in Hall Tavern. She and her assistant Robin Dowdell will roast cacao nibs, winnow the beans, grind chocolate with different spices on a heated metate, and prepare hot chocolate in the manner of the 18th century.
Also in Hall Tavern, Historic Deerfield's open hearth cooks will discuss "How Cacao Grows" with photographic panels and hands-on displays. The cooks will educate our audience about where cacao (the plant that produces chocolate) grows, midges which pollinate the flowers, the nature of cacao pods, and how the beans are processed for shipment to the chocolate factory. Supporting these demonstrations are presentations on "A Short History of Chocolate in Latin America," "Sweet Concoctions: Chocolate in Early America," and "Chocolate and Its Role in the Military."
Tasting American Heritage Chocolate is also an essential part of this special event. This year complimentary tastings of Mars' American Heritage Chocolate will be offered. Experience chocolate as our ancestors had with American Heritage Chocolate. This product has been formulated by Mars Inc., the Celebration's sponsor, in conjunction with historians at Colonial Williamsburg, Fort Ticonderoga, and the Colonial Chocolate Society to reproduce the taste, texture, and spiciness of a Colonial American recipe. To date, it is only available at seven historic locations across the country including the Historic Deerfield gift shop!
Rounding out the day's activities are a horse-drawn wagon ride, historic house tours, and family-friendly, hands-on craft activities. The American Heritage Chocolate Celebration has been generously sponsored by the Historic Division of Mars/Masterfoods USA.
For more information about this event or a detailed schedule of the 2009 American Heritage Chocolate Celebration, please visit www.historic-deerfield.org or call 413-775-7214.