Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been a favourite with children around the world for half a century, and it had the same riveting effect on the 55 youngsters who turned up for a reading from the children’s classic, followed by a chocolate-tasting session, on Monday.
Titled Chocolate Inventions, the children’s literature session was conducted by chocolatier Zeba Kohli at Kitab Khana, Fort, as part of the Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, and sought to answer the question: How does chocolate make its way to your refrigerator?
The session began with Kohli holding up a map to show where cocoa is grown, then using charts to show how chocolate is made.
"Children, chocolate and the desire to fulfill their fantasies about chocolate are what brought me here," said Kohli.
Lubaina Bandukwala, curator of the children’s literature of the festival, added that the session was built around a book about a chocolate factory as a way of drawing children in to appreciate reading, literature and language. "It’s important for kids to understand the joy of good language," she added.
The reading was followed by a chocolate-tasting session much appreciated by the little ones.
"This kind of event really helps a child break out of his routine and try something new," said Kavita Lobo, 36, a marketing professional and mother of two boys, aged seven and four. "We live in Chembur and there is nothing like his there, which is why I brought my sons all the way here."
Her elder son, Mikhail, said he loved the session "because there was science in it… and now I know how chocolate is made".
For businessman Drupad Vora, 48, a Cuffe Parade resident who attended with his 10-year-old daughter, the session was a chance to expose his child to world different from the daily cartoons and video games.
"Children meet new people and other kids at such events, then they talk about it in school and, as a consequence, educate many more," he said.
Added entrepreneur Yogini Sonawala, 43, a Grant Road resident: "My daughter had been hearing about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory from her elder sister and this session was the perfect way to introduce Dahl’s world to her."