Archive for September, 2013
On Saturday, Sarah and I went to the Chocolate Festival.
It was truly a dream come true! As a long-time lover of everything chocolate, I was super excited about the festival. I learned so much! Not about chocolate, but about how to survive at a chocolate festival 🙂
There are some simples rules I plan to follow in the future (and believe me—I will be back next year).
1. Get there early
Sarah and I arrived shortly after it opened, got our wrist bracelets and headed in.
We started walking around and tasting the chocolate, getting slightly frustrated when we were stuck behind people who actually had questions about the chocolate (we just wanted to taste the samples—how could they not know the danger of standing between women and chocolate??). We realized when we came back after lunch, that the small lines in the morning were NOTHING compared to the craziness in the afternoon! It was so crowded we could barely walk. So, get there early 🙂
2. You can’t try all the chocolate.
There’s too much available to try everything, so you need to use some discretion when choosing what to sample. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate—usually prefer white or sometimes milk. Sarah likes the same, so we started skipping tables that only had dark chocolate. Also, there’s really no point to trying plain chocolate. It’s much more fun to try the interesting combinations or fun truffles they have available.
3. Not all chocolates are created equal.
You should come prepared to experience some interesting flavors—both good and bad. I learned that it is possible for someone to make white chocolate that tastes like dark chocolate. I have no idea why anyone would want to do this—it was definitely an unpleasant surprise for me. But it can be fun to be brave and try new things. For example, the habanero salted caramels I sampled were fabulous!
4. Vegan chocolate doesn’t count.
I’m sorry, but it was just plain awful. It didn’t even taste like chocolate. It tasted like oil and cocoa powder. And not in a good way. And the woman kept telling me it was “healthy.” Saying that a chocolate is “healthy”—it’s just—grr—I’m speechless–no one wants that! The chocolate doesn’t even like being described that way! Good grief! And, frankly, I’m no longer comfortable referring to it as chocolate. Henceforth, I will call it not-chocolate. So, in the future, I will avoid all not-chocolate. I’m just glad they had a couple gourmet vinegar samples to try at the next stand. Phew!
5. There are classes!
Sarah and I didn’t notice this area until the afternoon. And the only class we could make was a vegan ganache making class. No interest in learning to make not-chocolate. There was no way that we were doing that. Not. A. Chance.
Next year, we will be a little more prepared for what we’d like to do, But the best part was that I found some new chocolate makers that I love! My personal favorite was George Paul Chocolates (hint, hint Anson): http://www.georgepaulchocolates.com/
They had some nice and interesting flavors available in milk and white chocolate. And they also make some really good caramels (including the habanero salted caramel).
The other big hit for us was Cocotutti, Sarah’s favorite (hint, hint Dave):
They made some really good truffles! I liked the spicy ones, like the hot chocolate and the thai spice. I also actually liked the raspberry one, and I don’t generally like fruit with my chocolate.
Can’t wait until next year 🙂