Rich history of chocolate at the Elma Library

Discover the rich history of chocolate — its origins, uses and varieties of flavor and texture. Ethnobotanist Dr. Alfredo Gomez-Beloz will explore these aspects of the much-loved culinary plant and will also provide samples of chocolate at his presentation, “The Botany of Chocolate,” at the Elma Timberland Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1.

As Gomez-Beloz will reveal, chocolate is more than a candy bar, a Valentine’s Day gift or a flavor for your mocha. Chocolate comes from the seeds of the tropical tree named Theobroma cacao and Theobroma means “food of the gods” in Greek.

Ethnobotanists are scientists who study the relationships between cultures and how plants are used, managed and understood across human societies. Dr. Gomez-Beloz received his doctorate in biology and plant sciences from City University of New York/New York Botanical Garden. He also has a Masters of Public Health from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Gomez-Beloz has presented workshops on a variety of ethnobotanical topics and traditional foods and medicine. He has also written magazine and newspaper articles on ethnobotany and traditional medicine and has published research articles in peer-reviewed science journals.

The Elma Timberland Library is located at 118 N First Street, Elma. For more information, contact the library at (360) 482-3737 or visit


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