By Sarah Carberry (MWCC Public Relations Representative)
On January 28th 2010 the ACS Metro Women’s Chemist Committee held their winter meeting at The Chocolate Path in Montclair, NJ. There were 35 women present from a variety of scientific backgrounds. Over half of the women were new attendees and most were interested in networking and getting more involved in both the MWCC and the NJ local section. The owner of the store, Susan Fine, gave us an in depth history of chocolate and she rationalized the health benefits of dark chocolate. Chocolate (the dark variety) is actually fairly good for you and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants of any food. She also explained that chocolate is made up of approximately 1,200 different chemicals, which is why it has not yet been synthesized in a laboratory.
When we first arrived we were invited to try some European sipping chocolate and also sampled some of the best sellers; dark chocolate truffles and a panko bread crumb bar. As we learned about the history and health benefits of chocolate we tasted several types of chocolate. The group was a little impatient when he were instructed not to eat the chocolate, we should first hold the chocolate and rub and smell it, then we could put it in our mouths, but don’t chew. We then took a tour around the chocolate world, going from the Ecuador to Madagascar to Granada, and finally we tried a stone-ground chocolate made with beans from the Dominican Republic. We finished with a Kakawa Beans – which are whole roasted cocoa beans coated in layers of white, milk and dark chocolates, then coated in cocoa powder – every form of chocolate in one bite. Everyone had their favorites and we all learned a lot about this tasty health food.