Chocolate lovers and history lovers will be together at last at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Both types will have the chance to indulge this weekend with Savour Louisbourg: The History of Chocolate. With a presentation and tour, visitors will learn about how chocolate connects to Louisbourg’s history and how archaeology revealed many things about culture and consumption in the 18th century.
Without giving away too many of the tour’s surprises, Parks Canada historian Anne Marie Lane-Jonah hinted at some of the fascinating facts about the time that the French outpost was thriving. “[Chocolate] was a new colonial food from Central America at the time, and was starting to move through the European Diet. It would have still been unheard of in some circles,” she explained. “Louisbourg was a well-connected trade port…it’s neat to see how it was prepared, how it was served, and who got to try it first.”
Visiting researcher Dr. Louis Grivetti will start with a presentation on the history of chocolate. Dr. Grivetti is Professor Emeritus at the University of California in the department of nutrition, and is co-author of Chocolate: History Culture and Heritage.
Following Grivetti’s lecture, Lane-Jonah will lead a “Chocolate at Louisbourg” tour, where visitors will see chocolate-related artifacts on display. The items for the event will be displayed courtesy of Heidi Moses, from the Fortress of Louisbourg Archaeology Department. Finally, visitors will be treated with a demonstration on preparing 18th-century style French hot chocolate. The day’s activities will conclude with a sampling of the prepared hot chocolate.
Lane-Jonah encouraged people to participate in the unique tour. “It’s a different way of looking at the cosmopolitan life that existed at Lousiburg; the tour is very interactive and done in a way that everyone can relate to,” Lane-Jonah enthused. “It’ll be delicious too,” she added. “We take chocolate for granted today. Here, it was seen as a powerful, medicinal food, used to give energy and fortify people.”
The tour will take place Saturday, June 12 beginning at 1:00pm and ending 4:00pm. Visitors planning to attend should arrive at the Visitor’s Centre in Louisbourg at least half an hour in advance in order to allow time for the bus ride to the site. Admission is $7.40 in addition to the park entrance fee, both of which are payable at the Visitor’s Centre.
For more information on the Fortress of Louisbourg and other Parks Canada sites and events, call (902)733-2280 or visit www.pc.gc.ca .