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ETZ Talk: Jews and Chocolate: An Unexpected Journey into the World of Cacao with Alex Voynow (in-person and online)

Sunday, December 11, 2022 17 Kislev 5783

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Alex Voynow, self-proclaimed as the world's only professionally-trained Jewish Food Educator and Chocolate Maker, will guide us through the winding historical and ethnobotanical story of how we've ended up giving out gold-wrapped chocolate gelt on Chanukah. We'll discuss the botany of cacao, the intricacies of the chocolate-making process, the history of the Spanish inquisition and Sephardi diaspora, the creation of cacao as a new world cash crop, and the origins of Chanukah gelt. This ETZ Talk is complemented by a hands-on bean-to-gelt workshop offered by Alex later that day.

Alex Voynow is a Jewish, land-based educator, organizer, facilitator, and historian. Since graduating from Vassar College in 2015 with a degree in Cultural Geography, Alex has been working and living at the intersection of ecology, food, and ancestral Jewish cultural practice. He is a former program coordinator at the Jewish Farm School, historian and educator at the Jewish Farmer Network, and wilderness educator at Eden Village West and Wilderness Torah. And, he is a former chocolate maker at Dandelion Chocolate, a "bean-to-bar" chocolate company whose chocolate is consistently ranked among the best in the world. Besides chocolate and Judaism, Alex is a wilderness guide, youth mentor, and chef based in the Santa Cruz mountains.

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