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'The Dark Side of Chocolate' film + chocolate tasting

Plan on giving your Valentine chocolate in the next few days?

Well, you may want to think about what type of chocolate.

In the documentary "The Dark Side of Chocolate," which will be screened at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington this weekend, filmmakers uncover how thousands of children in West Africa are purchased or stolen from their parents and enslaved on cocoa farms.

Some of the hidden footage obtained in Mali reveals small children working illegally in the cocoa fields in the neighboring Ivory Coast, where they cut down the cacoa pods and carry heavy loads.

After  the screening, one of the film's makers,  U. Roberto Romano, will discuss the film, and Roxanne Browning, a chocolate sommelier, will lead a small chocolate tasting of Ecuadorean chocolate from a Direct Trade chocolate producer, The Kallari Association.

"Chocolate is something everybody loves, but it’s also a big business," says Dylan Skolnick, co-director at Cinema Arts Centre. "We’re enjoying the inexpensive chocolate on this end, but this film explores the exploitation that is taking place . . . Some of the people working in the cocoa fields are kids as young as 7 years old.”

The film screening and tasting is part of the "Let’s Eat! Films on Food" series in partnership with Slow Food Huntington. The series pairs films about food and beverage with tastings.

Skolnick says he hopes this film will urge people to consider buying fair-trade chocolate. While it may be a few dollars more expensive, "you think about what impact you’re having on the world and it can be worth it," he says.

WHEN and WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington

COST: $13 ($9 members)

INFO: 631-423-7611 or cinemaartscentre.org

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