National Museum of the American Indian Presents the “Power of Chocolate”

Hands-on Activities, Performances and Cooking Demonstrations Celebrate Chocolate
February 2, 2011
News Release

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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s annualPower of Chocolate” festival will be held Saturday, Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. This celebration of culture, music, dance, art, science and food explores the rich history and ongoing story of chocolate with an assortment of presentations, including spectacular Bolivian dance groups, demonstrations by seldom-seen Kuna artists from Panama who create beautiful molas or cloth appliqués, food demonstrations and a “chocolate talk” about the mythology and history of the cacao plant.

Visitors will learn about the scientific properties of chocolate and deepen their understanding of the cultures and communities that have cultivated this valuable crop. Families and young visitors will also have a chance to experience hands-on activities as they create paper molas, grind cacao beans and froth their own hot chocolate. Richard Hetzler, executive chef of the museum’s acclaimed Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe, will give food demonstrations in the Potomac Atrium of recipes that highlight chocolate, and free samples will be provided while supplies last.   

Rodney Snyder, Mars Chocolate history research director,and other experts from Mars Chocolate North America will talk about the journey the cacao bean takes to become chocolate and how it has evolved throughout cultures, history and its place in contemporary society.

“This annual program will discuss the cultivation, science and cultural use of this popular food,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. “It is one of the many foods that were introduced from the Americas to the world, along with vanilla, corn, beans and others.”                                                         

This project is made possible with support from Mars Chocolate North America, The Inter-American Foundation and the Smithsonian Latino Center.

Visit www.AmericanIndian.si.edu for more information.

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SI-60-2011