Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Festival of Chocolate, West Palm Beach, Fla: Pics and Tastes

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate! I love the stuff, especially if I'm in a hall full of chocolate with a few hundred other people. 

Cocoa pods in the raw
At The Festival of Chocolate, in West Palm Beach, I started my tour with a "Wine and Chocolate" workshop. Gary Dinstuhl of Guittard Chocolate Co., CA, was very educational and humorous. My favorite pairing was an earthy Peruvian select origin with a rich Langhe Wine from Italy.

Gary Dinstuhl holding up two cocoa pods

Once I recovered my senses, I waddled back to the main hall to see what other cocoa inspired treats awaited me. There were fabulous sculptures.

The ones from the Notter School of Pastry Arts reminded me of the movie: Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

Created by students at Notter School of Pastry Arts

One of my favorite booths was Double Dare You of Chateau Confections from Winter Park, FL.

Their items tested my adventurousness with chocolate covered gator jerky, hand-dipped whole jalapeno peppers, and chocolate coated crickets.

I tried two out of three: crickets and jerky. The bugs won. I loved their crunchy texture and taste.

Cricket piece broken in half

I made one last tasting stop at The Olive Tap booth to try their balsamic vinegar from Italy.  It really tasted like its name.

 The Cupcake Cottage, Royal Palm Beach, won Best Chocolate Cupcake in show and was runner- up to Best-in-Show.

Veteran Archie Bourne of Schakolad Chocolate Factory, Tampa, won Best-in-Show for his Italian Amaretto Truffle

I had a fun time and I look forward to next year's show.

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