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Although you might not be able to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, you can take a stroll down the chocolate trail Saturday evening at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island (JCMI).

JCMI is hosting an “On the Chocolate Trail” event featuring Deborah Prinz, rabbi and author of “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao.”

Prinz has spent the last decade studying the history of chocolate and its connection to Jewish history, an idea that came to her during a trip to Paris.

“I have always loved sweet things. I happened upon a chocolate store when we were traveling in Paris (and) picked up the company literature – which I happened to be able to read in my high school French – (and I learned) that Jews brought chocolate making to France,” she said. “That started my interest in collecting stories about chocolate and religions. That research and travel led to 'On the Chocolate Trail'.”

Now she travels around the world sharing her knowledge of and passion for the delectable treat. During tomorrow night’s event, Prinz will share stories of her adventures, explain the historical relationship between chocolate and Jews and answer any questions from the audience.

And as an added treat, Prinz will also be sharing samples of chocolate creations made using recipes from her book.

“I hope that people will attend the event to learn the amazing connections between chocolate and religions,” she said. “When guests partake in the reception and eat the delicious chocolate treats created from the contemporary and historical recipes in 'On the Chocolate Trail,' they will be taking part in an expedition into Jewish and religious history. The evening melds an enjoyment of chocolate with an exploration food history, travel and Judaism, unwrapping tantalizing new themes.”

When asked what her all-time favorite chocolate treat is, Prinz had a tough time committing to just one; after all, she’s devoted her life to the melt-in-your-mouth morsel.

“There are so many,” she said. “Chocolate-covered espresso beans, a quality dark chocolate bar, a fresh chocolate babka just to start...”

Prinz was the senior rabbi of Temple Adat Shalom in Poway, Calif. for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, she was the rabbi of a synagogue in Bergen County, N.J. and also the assistant rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan.

IF YOU GO

Where: Jewish Congregation of Marco Island, 991 Winterberry Drive

When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $20 for JCMI member, $25 for non-members

Information: 239-642-0800

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