FLCC to host talk on chocolate

Finger Lakes Community College will host an insider’s look at the chocolate industry.

“Cracking Open the Cocoa Bean” will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 7, in Studio 14 at the college’s main campus, 3325 Marvin Sands Drive.

The event includes talks by the owner of a cocoa bean company in Ghana and a Rochester chocolatier about ethical farming and business practices. The event is free and open to the public.

The leadership at Laughing Gull Chocolates on East Main Street in Rochester will open the program to discuss principles behind their business. For example, the business buys from Latin American farms that use sustainable farming practices and provide fair wages, and they train youths at their store to contribute to workforce development. Founder and chief chocolatier Lindsay Tarnoff started the business in Rhode Island in 2014 then moved it to Rochester where she was joined by Allison Zukoski, chief financial officer, and Karla Boyle, chief operating officer and a former FLCC student.

The second speaker is Steven Wallace, who founded the Omanhene Cocoa Bean Company in Ghana in 1991. Wallace first learned about cocoa farming in Ghana as a 16-year-old exchange student and began thinking about not only growing cocoa in Ghana, but making the end product — a chocolate bar — there as well.

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