Culinary Sagacity

~Thought for Food~

The Cathayans believed that the soul or mind is located not in the head but in the stomach.

Doubtless this explains why they fret so much about the preparation and serving of food.

It may also explain why their memories are so much better than ours.

Information is stored not in the finite head, but in the expandable stomach.

--Cyrus Spitama in Gore Vidal's Creation

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mixing Purpose with Pleasure at the Global Giving Circle's Chocolate Tasting Extravaganza

On Valentine's Day, before my romantic dinner at home, I made my way to Side Bar in Union Square to attend the inaugural fundraiser for the Global Giving Circle, a Chocolate Tasting Extravaganza benefitting Project Hope & Fairness, which in turn works for fair trade in the cacao growing industry. A long-time supporter of fair trade coffee, I didn't hesitate at the invitation to attend this benefit for fair trade in yet another industry I couldn't live without, the cacao bean industry.

While just the first event for the Global Giving Circle, this new group of highly motivated philanthropists managed to secure donations of chocolates from NYC's top chocolatiers, including Jacques Torres, Marie Belle, and Vosges. What's more, the Global Giving Circle's Chocolate Tasting Extravaganza drew in a crowd that even the organizers couldn't have anticipated. I'd like to thank Shawna Dressler, Jill Bluming and Jennifer Kohanim for their evident hard work and tenacity in making the Global Giving Circle's premier event such a huge success. Not only were the myriad chocolates a crowd pleaser, but there was indeed a crowd to please!

Always one for mixing purpose with pleasure, I especially appreciated the Global Giving Circle's idea to host a chocolate-tasting fundraiser for the benefit of those who suffer for our chocolate enjoyment—the farmers who grow cacao beans for much less than a living wage. I believe that we can eat chocolate guilt-free, but my idea of guilt doesn't come from calories, it comes from knowing that fair trade is not industry standard. Kudos to the Global Giving Circle and Project Hope & Fairness for working to ensure that chocolate is as good for the growers as it is for us consumers.

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