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Food & Drink

Fort Pitt museum plans Colonial Chocolate Weekend

| Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 8:30 p.m.
Old-fashioned chocolate preparation will be demonstrated at the Fort Pitt Museum Colonial Chocolate Weekend.
Mars Chocolate North America
Old-fashioned chocolate preparation will be demonstrated at the Fort Pitt Museum Colonial Chocolate Weekend.
Served as a hot beverage, chocolate was shipped to the Colonial Pittsburgh region in large quantities to be enjoyed by the American Indians and European settlers who lived here.
Mars Chocolate North America
Served as a hot beverage, chocolate was shipped to the Colonial Pittsburgh region in large quantities to be enjoyed by the American Indians and European settlers who lived here.

Colonial Chocolate Weekend

History can be a sweet field of study, as a program at the Fort Pitt Museum will show May 10 and 11.

The Colonial Chocolate Weekend at the museum in Point State Park, Downtown, will examine how hot chocolate was as important to colonial Americans as coffee and tea is today. The program is being sponsored by the museum and Mars Chocolate North America. It will kick off from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 10 with a presentation on how chocolate has evolved over the years.

Andrew Gaerte, education manager at the museum, and a representative from Mars will demonstrate the beans-to-beverage story, and visitors will be able to sample a variety of drinks.

On May 11, the first of Summer Saturdays at the Fort, will feature colonial re-enactors roasting coffee and chocolate beans as they prepare buffalo and venison. Activities will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to the May 10 events will be $5 and include access to displays at the fort. May 11 events will be included with admission to the museum, which is $6, $5 for seniors and $3 for ages 6 to 17. Details: 412-281-9285 or apgaerte@heinzhistorycenter.org

Pies for mom

In celebration of Mother's Day, The Pie Place will be offering a kids' baking class May 11. Children age 4 and older will make a ladybug cake for their “special lady” in a class at 10 a.m. Cost is $20 and requires registration. Instructors will be Jessica Gombar and Julie Accamando of The Pie Place.

The Pie Place (www.thepieplace.net) is an independent scratch bakery with two South Hills locations — 1775 N. Highland Road and North Highland Road in Norman Center II. Details: 412-835-4410

Map out your meal

You may have heard advice to dine out less often if you want to weigh less. That's like telling people to leave their cars in the garage if they want to avoid getting into an automobile accident.

Here are ways to avoid menu mishaps:

Menus are maps: Read the menu and listen carefully when servers list the specials. Check out the menu online to help you plan a safe route. If you want to splurge on the fried calamari, choose a grilled entree. If you love sweets, ask to see the dessert menu first so you know where you're headed.

Signal your moves: Be specific about what you want or don't want. For example, “May I have more lemon slices?,” “Can you lightly brush the fish with butter?”

Keep your eyes open: Look around and see what other diners are eating so you get a visual on portion sizes. Way too large? Split the entree or plan to box up half for carryout.

Note road hazards: The fresh baked bread can be hard to resist. Ditto the bowl of olive oil. Did you know that olive oil and butter have the same number of calories? And dipping bread in olive oil can soak up more fat than a thin spread of butter. Mixed green salads are a great starter, but watch out for goat cheese, blue cheese, cheddar cheese and sugar-glazed nuts that can add hundreds of calories.

Look for alternative routes: Be honest when the server asks you how you like your meal. They want to work fast to make you happy. Is the snapper still swimming in butter? Don't suffer in silence. Send it back.

— Staff and wire reports

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