Chocolate for Life

By Sandra Scott


On our recent trip to Lancaster, PA, my husband, John, and I checked into the Artist’s Inn in Terre Hill and immediate felt at home. The Victorian B&B is on a quiet street in a quiet town where the most common noise is the clip-clop of the Amish horse and buggies.

The next day, after a leisurely gourmet breakfast at the Artist’s Inn, we headed to Lititz, which quickly became our favorite town and the smell of chocolate in the air had a lot to do with it! The factory responsible for the delicious smell was Wilbur Chocolate where Wilbur Buds were the inspiration for the Hershey Kiss. The factory has a show kitchen where we watched ladies hand-dipping chocolate. The museum displays early chocolate making equipment and an informative video tells about the discovery of the “Food of the Gods” by the Spanish explorers who then spread the love of chocolate across the world.

Next to Wilbur Chocolate is the Tourist Information Office where we picked up a brochure for a walking tour of Main Street, which is lined with 18th century buildings. Our goal was the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, the home of America’s first pretzel bakery. One of the wonderful things about the factory is that it was founded in 1861 in the same location and is maintained by the fifth generation of the Sturgis family. We joined the tour where Carol, our guide, showed us how to make the pretzels, which symbolize hands at prayer. We left with a bag of caramel filled chocolate covered pretzels.

On the way back to the car we could not resist stopping for lunch at Cafe Chocolate. A wise choice. John had toasted a peanut butter and banana panini with dark chocolate, while I opted for Chile Con Chocolate, Oaxacan style. It was a delicious lunch but meeting the owner, Selina Man, made it more special. Selina is an amazing woman who exudes happiness and energy. From Hong Kong to Toronto to Princeton to Lititz, her personal journey is amazing.

Selina is the founder and chief chocolate officer of Cafe Chocolate, which specializes in organic, dark, and fairly traded chocolates, food, and drinks. She came to Lancaster County to be the chief operating officer of Ten Thousand Villages, a fair-trade business enterprise of more than a hundred retail gift shops owned by the Mennonite Central Committee. For ten years before that, she was head of international operations for a Wall Street firm that rates insurance companies. Before coming to the US from Canada, Selina had worked as the chief of finance for a hospital, administered a government program for Vietnamese refugee women, and started her own vegetarian bistro business. Selina was born and brought up in Hong Kong and finished undergraduate studies at York University in Toronto. She did her doctoral studies in Asian economics at Princeton University and has lived and worked in Japan, Australia, NZ and UK. An amazing journey from Hong Kong to Litnitz, PA!

Selina says, “Chocolate is for Life—for the life of the people who grow it, the life of the rainforests that sustain it, and the life of people who eat the real thing! Between 40 and 50 million people in some of the world’s poorest countries depend on cocoa for their livelihood. Typically, cocoa is grown on a family farm with family members providing the farm labor.”

We are well aware of the benefits of eating chocolate but seldom think about the benefits to the people who produce the cocoa.

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Sandra Scott is a frequent contributor to travel publications and to Creators Syndicate
and has co-authored two books on local history. She lives in Mexico, NY.

Photos by Sandra and J. J. Scott.


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