Dr. Leni Sorensen will discuss the history of chocolate from its roots in Mexico to its use in colonial America. This program will be moderated by Dr. Kelley Fanto Deetz, Director of programming, Education, and Visitor Engagement. 

Leni Sorensen was born in California, was a member of the 1960s folk music recording group The Womenfolk, farmed for eight years in South Dakota, and is the mother of four and the grandmother of six. Throughout all those years she cooked, taught cooking, and talked about food; at one time catering to movie crews, at another, starting a tamale business. After moving to Virginia in 1982 she majored in History at Mary Baldwin College and earned her MA/PhD at the College of William and Mary in American Studies. She worked for over thirty years as a university lecturer, museum consultant, hands-on presenter and researcher with a focus on African American slavery, American agriculture, and women’s work in colonial and post-colonial America. Retired from six years as the African American Research Historian at Monticello she now continues to lecture, consult and write on issues of food history and teaches home provisioning and rural life skills from her home in Western Albemarle County. She is currently working on a project to cook all The Virginia House-Wife; documenting the project via digital and online media. 

Virtual program via Zoom.

Funded by Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant, Mars Wrigley.


Registration is required. We invite you to pay as you wish to support lectures like this and future programs at Stratford Hall. A contribution can be made online with your registration or by mail to the following address: Development, Stratford Hall, 483 Great House Road, Stratford, VA 22558.

Free for Friends of Stratford.

After registering for the webinar, attendees will receive an automated confirmation email with connection instructions. We program will take place via Zoom, which is available for free download here

A National Historic Landmark, Stratford Hall is home to the Lees of Virginia and is located in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Nestled along the Potomac River, Stratford Hall’s nearly 2,000 acres comes to life through the presentation and preservation of the 18th-century Great House, vibrant gardens, natural trails revealing breathtaking river views, and the stories of all who lived here.