‘Chocolate’ returns to Field

13 Oct

Chocolate Around the WorldCan’t get enough chocolate? Then head to the Field Museum in Chicago.

The blockbuster exhibit “Chocolate: Around the World” — which sold more than 360,000 tickets in its first Field run in 2002 — is back.

Since its original iteration, only “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” in 2006-07 and “Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship” in 2009 sold more special tickets at the Field.

“Chocolate” has traveled to 22 other American museums in the past nine years and will head out internationally after its current Field run is up in January, said John McCarter, Field president and chief executive officer.

He added that “Chocolate” combines both the Field’s focus on anthropology and natural history with its look at the origins of cacao and the role chocolate played in a variety of cultures during hundreds of years.

“This is one of the great combination stories,” he said.

From the humble cacao beans, which look like large raw almonds, to a vintage chocolate mold shaped like a rabbit driving a scooter, “Chocolate” aims to present a macro and micro look at a food that Americans, on average, consume 12 pounds of every year.

Gary Feinman, one of the “Chocolate” exhibition curators, said people were drawn as much to the exhibit’s story as the subject matter.

“Everybody loves chocolate,” he said. “The story is great, and the exhibits are about stories.”

Little has changed in the exhibit since it first premiered at the Field.

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Among the new items featured are excavated ceramic vessels in which chocolate residue was found. This helps explain how chocolate was used.

There is also an update on troubling conditions at African cocoa farms.

“There are issues with child labor, the labor conditions,” Feinman said. “There are still issues but I think there’s more consciousness about some of the problems.”

Feinman, whose research on pre-Hispanic Middle American people is focused on the area around Oaxaca, Mexico, said even now, cocoa beans are a revered symbol at an archeological site he studies.

“At a contemporary shrine people leave an offering, cacao beans wrapped in banana leaves,” he said.

Article posted by Spencer Samaroo, Managing Director, Moo-Lolly-Bar
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Source and Photo: Herald News

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