Colonial Williamsburg is presenting Beer Brewing Mysteries and Chocolate Making Secrets as part of their Historic Foodways program this fall and winter. Williamsburg invites visitors to “Discover the History of Two Guilty Pleasures,” but there’s no need to feel guilty while enjoying these historical presentations.
Beer was a common drink for many people in the 18th century. Everyday beer was called “small beer” which was made by boiling molasses, hops and wheat bran, straining it, then later adding yeast. Corn stalks or pumpkins were sometimes substituted for the expensive malted barley. The process of brewing beer will be demonstrated on in the Governor’s Palace Scullery on October 9 and 24, and November 20, 2010.
Historic Foodways journeymen will use reproductions of 18th century kitchen tools to demonstrate “The Secrets of the Chocolate Maker.” Raw cocoa beans are processed into chocolate and formed into chocolate. Chocolate was served as a hot drink, often for breakfast. The first recorded use of chocolate that Williamsburg researchers have found documents College of William and Mary President James Blair serving hot chocolate to visiting Burgesses. Chocolate was also provided as part of the rations for the army. This program will be presented on the first Tuesdays of the month from October to March 2011.
Colonial Williamsburg has been involved in research into the historical making and use of chocolate, as well as incorporating this research into programs for visitors to their living history town. Several museums, Mars Incorporated, and University of California-Davis are involved in this partnership. The results, The American Heritage chocolate products, are served at the R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse, and are available in the stores.
Colonial Williamsburg makes a great weekend getaway for those in the Washington, D.C. area. This is a wonderful way to get kids interested in history. As the proverb goes, “The way to a child’s mind is through the stomach.”
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