Event Review: DallasChocolate.org Chocolate Conference & Festival
© The Flash List | September 30, 2012
It may have been Quicky the 1970’s Nesquik Bunny that first introduced us to things “rich and thick and choco-lik” (see video); but it’s Sander Wolf, founder of DallasChocolate.org, that now helps keep us choco-educated and sweet-tooth indulged. (Because … well, we’re pretty cuckoo for cocoa.)
This weekend’s annual DallasChocolate.org Chocolate Conference & Festival consisted of two main components:
At the conference, attendees learned about the history and use of fine chocolate during classes such as "3 Barks in 30 Minutes" taught by Dr. Sue Williams, Baking with Fine Chocolate by Zach Townsend, and Technical Chocolate by Colin Gasko. Madame Cocoa Adrienne Newman returned this year as the engaging mistress of ceremonies for roundtable discussions and audience Q&A sessions with chocolatiers and chocolate makers from across the country such as Chocolates El Rey, Valrhona, Callebaut, Amano, Tejas, Potomac, and Rogue Chocolatier.
The adjoining festival was a large room of wall-to-wall chocolate where some of the area’s best chocolatiers showcased their latest creations and featured fresh innovations within the chocolate industry. Guests were able to meet the chefs, sample a range of fine chocolates, and interact directly with trade professionals in a relaxed environment.
We know you won’t want to wait until next year’s event to get your hands on these wonderful confections; and with top chocolatiers right here in our own backyard, you certainly don’t have to.
Artisan Stacy Johnson of Elegantly Chocolate makes beautiful and velvety smooth confections packaged in exquisitely decorated boxes. Her light, fluffy, handmade marshmallows dipped in chocolate happily reminded us of Easter morning, and the chocolate-covered pralines (of exactly-right consistency) made everyone in our group close their eyes and express, “Oh. Mmmm...”
CocoAndré Chocolatier Andrea Pedraza and her daughter Cindy served up their almond-coated Amaretto Di Amore truffles (which we could’ve eaten by the handfuls like popcorn), Stephen Smith treated us to Oaxacan Spice truffles and rosemary caramels by nib chocolates, and M.L. Dubay of Toffee Treats let us know that her candy is now mixed into one of Henry's Homemade Ice Cream flavors. Other delicacies included flaky pastries by Collin College, signature truffle cake by The Dark Chocolate Bakery, and a variety of easy-to-share bites from bark chocolate.
For a walk on the wilder side, Annie Rupani of Cacao & Cardamom presented a stunningly gorgeous array of handmade truffles in out-of-the-ordinary flavors such as guava tamarind, cardamom rose, and even Szechuan peppercorn.
Troy Easton of Sublime Chocolate brought along his unique new chocolate ‘caviar’ creation as well as a tasty milk chocolate covered curry ganache with toasted coconut; and the spunky Katherine Clapner, owner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate, made a Flower Child truffle with Bergamot, orange, and geranium as well as a Perique and Ngyambu tobacco truffle rolled in powdered sugar.
… as in, we could eat these chocolates every day!
We’re almost convinced that we could live out the rest of our days on just a steady diet of Mocha Crunch from Wiseman House Chocolates (crushed Colombian coffee beans covered in dark Belgian chocolate) along with their almond-encrusted, real-butter, mouth-wateringly delicious toffee. Chef/Owner Kevin Wenzel offers quality artisan products “made by real people in a community environment which cares about integrity, each other, and the products they make.”
When necessary, we can always supplement that with one (or several) of Kate Weiser’s 30 flavors of luxuriously creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, hand-painted chocolate bonbons from Chocolate Secrets. We’ve tried pieces filled with flavors such as coconut lime, ancho chile, mint, and lavender, as well as PB&J, Absinthe, and sea salt caramel; and we cannot recommend them enough.
So start nibbling to find your own personal preferences!
For more information about DallasChocolate, visit them online at DallasChocolate.org