On Tuesday night, the Howell Library held an event all about chocolate, as part of the Monmouth County Library’s "Food for Thought What’s on Your Plate?" Series. The event educated attendees on the history of chocolate and allowed them to indulge in various kinds by Dove.
According to branch manager, Dianne Rieth, each library associated with the Monmouth County Library System has been doing different programs. When looking to contribute to her library, she thought of chocolatier, Julie Cangialosi, who she met at Howell Day.
“Julie was sampling out all kinds of chocolates and I thought it would be good to have her,” Rieth said.
In Cangialosi’s presentation, she passed around pieces of a coco bean and explained that chocolate grows on trees. To give the audience a little history, she said chocolate started in the 1100's with the Aztecs. “They used cocoa beans with cornmeal and chili,” she said.
Cangialosi went on to explain that when chocolate started with the Aztecs, they made it into a drink. It was not sweet, but instead -- spicy. Throughout the years chocolate evolved. In the 1900s Frank and Ethel Mars co-founded M&M Mars, starting out of their home in Washington. Due to them, Milky Way, M&Ms, Twix, and the Mars bar among others were created.
According to Cangialosi 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate was is sold annually in the U.S. That makes for $16 billion in sales. She said 400 cocoa beans are needed to make just one pound of chocolate.
One area of her presentation that surprised many in attendance was the health benefits of the sweet treat. James Clark, who came to the presentation from Neptune said he never realized chocolate had positive health benefits. According to Cangialosi, it can help support better oxygen.
“It’s great how chocolate originated and got started. Dark is more healthier. I did not know that -- my wife and I usually have milk chocolate,” Clark said. “We’re going to try dark as an alternative."
Howell resident Anita Adams was throughly enjoying her chocolate dipped in marshmallows. “It’s very good. The dark chocolate isn’t as sweet and neither was the chi. I don’t like sweet,” Adams said.
Cangialosi has been a fan of chocolate for as long as she could remember. She said that when she’s having a bad day, she just pops a piece into her mouth and during the time she’s eating it, she’s feels so much better.
When she was looking for a job, it was only natural for her to gear toward chocolate. Five years ago, she joined Dove Chocolate Discoveries as a chocolatier.