Thursday, July 24, 2014

What I Saw: Mast Brothers Factory Tour and Chocolate Tasting


Sunday morning I surprised Jon with a trip to Mast Brothers Chocolate for a factory tour and chocolate tasting. We saw how their chocolate was made, from roasting the cacao beans to packaging the bars. We also got to taste the chocolate at different stages of the process. They offered us samples of the roasted cacao, chocolate from the conches that were grinding the cacao and sugar, and finally five different kinds of their chocolate. 


Aside from the chocolate bars that have ingredients such as sea salt or coffee beans, the chocolate consists of only cacao and sugar. It allows the flavor of the beans and the subtleties between them to come through and produces a beautiful, high quality bar of chocolate.

Tours are available on Friday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday mornings. If you have some free time, grab a buddy and take this tour. And be prepared to sample a lot of chocolate!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pride + ACT UP

The crowd on Christopher Street.

NYC's Pride Parade is one of the biggest parties of the year. This year Jon, myself and some of our friends volunteered with ACT UP and somehow ended up on the float for the entire parade. Originally the plan was to stay only for a few hours but we ended up staying until the very end. It was crazy and exciting and SO MUCH FUN! I'm thankful to have had the experience.


Do you know about ACT UP? I was extremely proud to be volunteering with them last weekend.

(From The Body)

"ACT UP, the commonly used acronym for the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, is a grassroots AIDS organization associated with nonviolent civil disobedience. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, ACT UP became the standard-bearer for protest against governmental and societal indifference to the AIDS epidemic...

From its inception, ACT UP has had a considerable impact on AIDS-related public policy. ACT UP successfully used its nonviolent, direct-action approach to force the FDA to accelerate drug trials for AIDS and to consider ACT UP's "parallel track" proposal. Under this proposal, people with AIDS are given drugs before they are approved by the time-consuming and bureaucracy-ridden FDA approval process. ACT UP's protests also led Burroughs Wellcome to dramatically reduce the price of AZT. Other pharmaceutical companies have been shamed into cutting the prices of drugs that have demonstrated effectiveness in helping people with AIDS."

You can see these important moments in ACT UP's history and evolution by watching How to Survive a Plague.