River Grove library brings chocolate lovers together
Radana Shanahan, owner of La Maaison de Bonbon chocolate shop in Forest Park, led a chocolate tasting Feb. 7 at the River Grove Public Library, including a discussion of differences in the quality, taste and technique of making chocolate. | Rob Hart~Sun-T
Updated: February 14, 2013 8:08AM
RIVER GROVE — Residents braved the cold last week for a little history — and a little taste — of chocolate.
Radana Shanahan, owner of La Maaison de Bonbon, a chocolate shop in Forest Park, led a presentation at the River Grove Public Library about the various kinds of chocolate produced, their varying tastes and the history behind the cocoa bean and making chocolate.
Shanahan provided various kinds of chocolates for the participants to taste and enjoy at the Feb. 7 event at the library, 8638 W. Grand Ave.
Marissa Tartaglia, assistant head of circulation at the library, organized the event because Valentines Day was just around the corner.
“I stopped in her (Shanahan) shop and she has the most amazing chocolates,” she said, so she figured it would make for an interesting library program for adults.
“Everyone needs a little something sweet before Valentines Day,” she said.
Along with Shanahan’s chocolate creme (her made-from-scratch specialty), she brought various kinds of chocolates for people to sample: chocolate-covered almonds, three different kinds of dark chocolate, chocolate with bits of bacon inside, milk-chocolate-covered gummy bears, milk chocolate made with a hint of sea salt and much more.
She can tell, just by tasting it, where different kinds of fine chocolate have been produced. She said what we consider chocolate that can be bought at any grocery store can’t stand up to what is sold in a shop specializing in finer chocolates.
Shanahan talked about the different tastes and textures different kinds of chocolates produce when made and when eaten. She also talked about the history of chocolate, which is made from the cocoa bean. The Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency and as food and drink for the privileged.
Those in attendance at the tasting enjoyed the chance to sample some good chocolate as well.
Lynn Poepp of Elmwood Park enjoyed the milk chocolate with sea salt.
“It was a nice little contrast,” she said. “I think my favorite was the milk chocolate with caramel inside.”
Jean Rak of Franklin said the event was a nice learning experience.
“I learned a lot that I didn’t know about chocolate,” she said. “I enjoyed the class -- especially the samples.”
Shanahan said chocolate helps improve a person’s mood.
“I have happy people coming in (my business) or looking for something to make them happy,” she said.