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Mocha Maya’s hosts chocolate tasting

Cacao pod, halved, on brown background

Cacao pod, halved, on brown background

SHELBURNE FALLS — Ever smell roasting chocolate?

That’s one of the treats in store for those who come to Mocha Maya’s second-annual Chocolate Tasting on Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. on Bridge Street.

Greg Mori of Forestopia will be there to roast cocao beans and to give demonstrations, at 3 and 5 p.m. on how to produce your own drinking chocolate with home-roasted beans.

Mori, of Shelburne Falls, runs an organization called Forestopia, which is seeking nonprofit status. Its mission is to promote food and other products that are healthy for people and for the planet. The organization offers organically grown and forest-harvested products, including cocoa, coffee, breadnuts, vanilla, natural textile dyes, spices, teas and other goods. Proceeds from the sustainably grown products are reinvested into a fund to support agro-industry, according to Mori.

“Gregory’s goal is to look at saving the rainforest,” said Chris King, co-owner of Mocha Maya’s. “His idea is to bring back some of the products they create. He has several different kinds of chocolate.”

Mocha Maya’s will be serving two kinds of rich hot chocolate on Saturday. For beer lovers, there will be Southern Tier’s Imperial Choklat Stout beer — a chocolate stout that King says has been ranked as “World Class” by BeerAdvocate.com.

King says he’s working with Forestopia and with Michelle Olanyk of Mo’s Fudge Factor to create a Mocha Maya’s candy bar.

Eventually, says King, he would like to work with other Shelburne Falls restaurants and businesses to create a village-wide annual chocolate-tasting event.

Although the main chocolate treat will be beverages, he said chunks of chocolate will be there for tasting, too.

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