Typography

W_-_Newberry_Chocolate_1_IMG_2526_copyTen-year-old Parker Stevens, right, reacts to the unexpected bitter flavor of Mayan chocolate, a not-so-sweet member of the chocolate family.

 NEWBERRY – It didn’t take too long for a handful of attendants to volunteer at the Newberry Branch Library when chocolate was involved.

Newberry residents got the chance to taste and interact with the sweet candy at the library on Wednesday when Gainesville chocolatier Kay Owens and her assistants presented The Mystery and History of Chocolate, a production that has been traveling around Alachua County libraries this past month.

The presentation at the Newberry branch was one of the smaller performances, Owens said, but she still thought the show went well and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Tuesday’s presentation at the Millhopper Branch Library on Tuesday brought in over 60 spectators, she said. The opening presentation at the Alachua County Library Headquarters earlier this summer drew over 100.

“We’ve been drawing big crowds,” Owens said.

The informative performance was interactive and asking for several volunteers from the audience. Newberry’s 10-year-old Parker Stevens raised his hand high when the crew asked for a brave volunteer.

He was called to the front of the room to try Mayan chocolate, an early chocolate that contains cornstarch and very little sugar. Parker said his favorite type of chocolate was the type that was mixed with peanut butter. One spoonful of the special Mayan chocolate and the look on his face changed to one of disgust.

“Oh, my gosh,” he said, “it tasted like oatmeal.”

The first chocolatiers, the Mayans, didn’t have sugar and milk to mix in to the now traditionally sweet confection, Owens explained to the audience.

Even adults enjoyed and learned from the show.

“I didn’t realize they discovered it,” Melissa Bass said of the Mayans. The 33-year-old Newberry resident is no stranger to chocolate. She had stayed at The Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania, where they had chocolate scented body wash and shampoos in each room.

Another spectator and volunteer, West Palm Beach 16-year-old Gaby Gianoli, first attended one of the performances this week because her sister, 21-year-old Francesca, was one of Owens’s assistants.

Gaby attended both the show at the Millhopper library as well as the performance at Newberry’s library. She was in town for a month, but was more than happy to go to the performances, where chocolate was given out at the end.

“I got lucky that she does this,” Gaby said of her sister’s work with Owens.

Besides educating the audience about the history behind chocolate and advocating the preservation of cacao trees, Owens also makes chocolate.

Owens said she plans on opening up her own chocolate shop called Drenched in Chocolate this September in the Millhopper area in Gainesville.

Email mharvard@alachuatoday.com

W_-_Newberry_Chocolate_1_IMG_2526_copyTen-year-old Parker Stevens, right, reacts to the unexpected bitter flavor of Mayan chocolate, a not-so-sweet member of the chocolate family.

 NEWBERRY – It didn’t take too long for a handful of attendants to volunteer at the Newberry Branch Library when chocolate was involved.

Newberry residents got the chance to taste and interact with the sweet candy at the library on Wednesday when Gainesville chocolatier Kay Owens and her assistants presented The Mystery and History of Chocolate, a production that has been traveling around Alachua County libraries this past month.

The presentation at the Newberry branch was one of the smaller performances, Owens said, but she still thought the show went well and the kids seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Tuesday’s presentation at the Millhopper Branch Library on Tuesday brought in over 60 spectators, she said. The opening presentation at the Alachua County Library Headquarters earlier this summer drew over 100.

“We’ve been drawing big crowds,” Owens said.

The informative performance was interactive and asking for several volunteers from the audience. Newberry’s 10-year-old Parker Stevens raised his hand high when the crew asked for a brave volunteer.

He was called to the front of the room to try Mayan chocolate, an early chocolate that contains cornstarch and very little sugar. Parker said his favorite type of chocolate was the type that was mixed with peanut butter. One spoonful of the special Mayan chocolate and the look on his face changed to one of disgust.

“Oh, my gosh,” he said, “it tasted like oatmeal.”

The first chocolatiers, the Mayans, didn’t have sugar and milk to mix in to the now traditionally sweet confection, Owens explained to the audience.

Even adults enjoyed and learned from the show.

“I didn’t realize they discovered it,” Melissa Bass said of the Mayans. The 33-year-old Newberry resident is no stranger to chocolate. She had stayed at The Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania, where they had chocolate scented body wash and shampoos in each room.

Another spectator and volunteer, West Palm Beach 16-year-old Gaby Gianoli, first attended one of the performances this week because her sister, 21-year-old Francesca, was one of Owens’s assistants.

Gaby attended both the show at the Millhopper library as well as the performance at Newberry’s library. She was in town for a month, but was more than happy to go to the performances, where chocolate was given out at the end.

“I got lucky that she does this,” Gaby said of her sister’s work with Owens.

Besides educating the audience about the history behind chocolate and advocating the preservation of cacao trees, Owens also makes chocolate.

Owens said she plans on opening up her own chocolate shop called Drenched in Chocolate this September in the Millhopper area in Gainesville.

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