The Hermitage celebrates chocolate

The Hermitage celebrates chocolate

Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 8:00 pm

NASHVILLE — Chocolate has been woven through the fabric of American culture for centuries. With its origin in the rain forests of Central and South America at least 3,500 years ago, chocolate’s rich history is intertwined in the stories of our ancestors. As the leader in cocoa and chocolate history, cocoa sustainability and cocoa science, The Historic Division of Mars, part of Mars Chocolate North America, brings the history of chocolate to life through lectures, tastings and interactive demonstrations.
The Hermitage has partnered with The Historic Division of Mars for one such demonstration on Saturday at 11 a.m. when they present “Chocolate: A Uniquely American Food.” A team of Mars Chocolate History Ambassadors will tell the historical bean-to-beverage story using authentic tools, including live cocoa pods, cocoa beans and nibs; a hot stone metate; winnowing baskets; chocolate drink pots and stirrers throughout the afternoon. Observers will be able to touch, taste, smell and experience chocolate as it was enjoyed by America’s founding fathers at every demonstration by sampling American Heritage Chocolate® drink. American Heritage Chocolate® is an authentic colonial-style chocolate recipe that is made by Mars Chocolate North America.
”Chocolate has been enjoyed exclusively as a drink for thousands of years and that is how it would have been served at The Hermitage when Andrew Jackson resided here,” noted Rodney Snyder, Chocolate History Director, Mars Chocolate North America. “It only emerged as the confection we know and love today in the last 150 years.”
“Our ancestors’ passion for chocolate perhaps equaled ours today even though it was less readily available to them,” said Howard Kittell, president and CEO, The Hermitage.  “We are thrilled to collaborate with the Mars Chocolate History Ambassadors to host this event and glimpse how our predecessors enjoyed and tasted chocolate in their time.  Being a ‘chocolaholic’ myself, I eager to attend this event.”
In addition, The Hermitage and The Historic Division of Mars will host a giveaway on Twitter this week. Each day through Thursday, The Historic Division of Mars will be posting a giveaway tweet via its official Twitter handle, @Choc_History, asking users to re-tweet it in order to enter the giveaway. A special hashtag, #ChocHistory, will be used to track the entries. Each day, a randomly selected winner will receive American Heritage Chocolate and two free tickets to The Hermitage.
The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, is one of the largest and most visited presidential homes in the United States. In 1856, the State of Tennessee purchased the property from the Jackson family, entrusting it to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1889 to operate as one of America’s first historic site museums. Today, The Hermitage is a 1,120-acre National Historic Landmark with over 30 historic buildings, including restored slave cabins. Thanks to efforts of this nonprofit organization, the mansion is the most accurately preserved early presidential home in the country. The Hermitage is a national model for authenticity, conservation, and historic preservation. In recent years, new interpretive initiatives and educational programs such as archaeology and the history of slavery have enhanced the experience of some 180,000 annual visitors, including 30,000 schoolchildren, from all 50 states and many foreign countries; in fact, we interpret the Hermitage mansion in five foreign languages. The property also receives 30,000 annual visits from the local community, including over 1,000 children who play Little League baseball at The Hermitage’s Rotary Park. The Hermitage is a “Partner Place” with the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and a site along the National Park Service’s Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Published in The Messenger 11.7.12

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