The Wilton Historical Society is again offering its very popular chocolate-making workshops, one for kids in grades K-8 on Saturday, Feb. 7 from 2-3 p.m. and one for adults on Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 7-8 p.m..
Of course the Historical Society puts a historical spin on it, noting that while our colonial forefathers had to make do with a rather gritty version of our beloved hot chocolate, and no chocolate candies (they were not common until the mid-1800’s), program participants will get to make something extra nice for their Valentines–delicious, professional-looking chocolates and an origami-style box to put them in!
The American colonists were quick to begin making chocolate. The first factory was opened by James Baker and John Hannon in 1765 at a water-powered mill on the Neponset River near Boston. Their product, Baker’s Chocolate, was a hard cake of chocolate and sugar which the colonists ground up and frothed with boiling water. It was a luxury, and in hardscrabble colonial Wilton the Betts Store may not have stocked it at all. Coffee and tea houses sold hot chocolate. During the Revolutionary War it was considered a patriotic drink as it was made locally and not taxed by the Crown.
According to chocolate historians at Colonial Williamsburg, chocolate was believed to aid digestion, promote longevity, help lung ailments, energize the body, cure hangovers, suppress cough, and stimulate the libido. For that reason, the Virginia Almanac of 1770 cautioned women against it, warning “the fair sex to be in a particular manner careful how they meddle with romances, chocolate, novels, and the like” especially in the spring, as those were all “inflamers” and “very dangerous.”
Over time, chocolate making processes improved dramatically. Chocolate bars for eating were developed in the 1840s, and with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, became widely available. The first heart-shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day was created in 1861, and milk chocolate was invented in 1875.
Kids’ Chocolate-Making Session
The fun and easy one-hour session on Feb. 7 will make use of an extensive collection of small, charming chocolate molds. Hearts, flowers, a multitude of animals, and stars are just some of the shapes that will be on hand.
Registration is required and space is limited. Please register by email or call 203.762.7257 to reserve your place. Materials fee is $5 per members’ child, $10 for non-members’ child. Please note: This is not a drop-off program.
Adult Chocolate-Making Session
Wine and chocolate is a delightful combination. Ladies who gather at the Wilton Historical Society on Feb. 11 will have an opportunity to try their hand at making molded chocolates for Valentine’s Day; the evening will be even more enjoyable as wine and other beverages will be served. Beautiful, professional candies will be made. The artisanal chocolate provided is very high quality and worthy of being savored by discerning sweethearts, and will make a lovely gift for that special someone. A variety of mold shapes, including hearts and flowers, will be used.
Registration is required and space is limited. Please register by email or call 203.762.7257 to reserve your place. Fee is $20 for members, $25 for non-members.