By Valerie Jarvie, Contributor
Ooh, la, la! Listen up, chocolate lovers: It’s time for the Dallas Chocolate Festival again! In a recent media preview at Whole Foods’ Park Lane locations, the powers behind the swoon-worthy annual three-day event celebrating all things chocolate unveiled this year’s plans.
Paralleling the exponential growth of the craft chocolate industry, the number of artisan exhibitors participating in the festival has risen, necessitating a move to a larger venue this year.
[Disclosure: The author received a sampling of chocolates at a media preview of this event. The opinions here are her own.]
The 8th annual Dallas Chocolate Festival will kick-off at the F.I.G. (Fashion Industry Gallery, 1807 Ross Ave.) on Sept. 8-9. Guests will meet chocolate artisans, watch live demonstrations of chocolate-making and shop more than 60 vendors — that’s triple the makers who signed on at the event’s inception in 2009.
This year’s official festival begins Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. with a circus- themed Midway Cocktail Party at the F.I.G. Specialty cocktails and wines will complement circus mini-burgers, corndogs and, of course, chocolate treats. Entertainment will include midway-style carnival games and a cake walk with prizes of more than 30 chocolate cakes from Dallas eateries such as FT33, chocolatier Zach Townsend, Chocolate Secrets, The Fairmont Hotel, the Hotel Adolphus and more. Tickets for the opening event are $50. The Fairmont just across the street will host a pre-party happy hour with $5 chocolate specialty drinks, plus premium well drinks, wines and draft beers, from 5 to 7 p.m. and will follow the Midway Party with happy hour again from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m.
On Saturday, festivities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will feature sampling and sale of chocolates, pastries and specialty foods from dozens of producers, from both local and far-flung places. (See the complete list below.) General admission tickets are $35 for adults and $5 for kids. In order to ensure even traffic flow, event admission is ticketed for specific entry times: 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. A VIP 9 a.m. early-admission ticket is $75. Free demonstrations and classes throughout Saturday will include “Strange Chocolate Pairings” with author Megan Giller and “Breaking Down the Chocolate Wall” with Heather Holland. There will also be an interactive children’s area and an exhibit on how chocolate is made.
On Sunday, the festival moves to the Dallas Design District where a limited number of fans can take part in hands-on experiences in classes in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen. Classes are $60 each, or $200 for all four:
9:30 a.m.: Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Making Workshop
Noon: Chocolate Pastry Workshop: Financier Pastries
2:30 p.m: The History of Chocolate: Tasting from Ancient to Modern Times
4:30 p.m.: Tasting Chocolate Like a Judge; The Best of the Best
File under “good to know:” Ticket prices for all of the above include parking.
Dallas Chocolate Festival events typically sell out, so it’s best to book your admission in advance. On the festival’s website, you can purchase tickets and find more info, including details of special lodging rates at the Fairmont Hotel during the event.
Dallas Chocolate Festival
When: Sept. 8-9
Where: Fashion Industry Gallery and Fairmont Hotel
Cost: $35 and up. Purchase tickets here.
Why: Because chocolate!
Here’s a list of the vendors you’ll find offering luscious wares this year:
Amano Artisan Chocolate (Orem, UT), Bisous Bisous Patisserie, Brook Hollow Country Club, Cacao Santa Fe (Santa Fe, NM), Candy People, Chocolate Secrets, Christopher Elbow Chocolates, CocoAndré Chocolatier, Collin College, Crave Popcorn, Dandelion Chocolate (San Francisco, CA), Dallas by Chocolate, Dallas Caramel Company, Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate (Eureka, CA), Dr. Sue’s Chocolate, Eileen’s Pralines, El Centro College, Escazú Artisan Chocolate (Raleigh, NC), EZtemper, Five Mile Chocolate, Fresco Chocolate (Lynden,WA), Fruition Chocolate (Shokan, NY), Great One Cooking Company, Guittard Chocolate, Hello Cocoa (Fayetteville, AR), Hernan (Del Rio, TX), Hoja Verde (Ecuador), Isabelly’s Chocolates and Sweet Treats, Izard Chocolates (Little Rock, AK), Jammit Jam, Kate Weiser, K’UL Chocolates (Minneapolis, MN), Letterpress Chocolate (Los Angeles, CA), Maverick Chocolate Company (Cincinnati, OH), Motokofe, MUCHO Chocolate Museum (Mexico City), My French Recipe, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pacari (Ecuador), Potamac Chocolate (Woodbridge, VA), Raaka Chocolate (Brooklyn, NY), RoRo’s Baking Company, See’s Candies (Carson, CA), SRSLY Chocolate (Austin, TX), Tart-a-licious, Toffee Treats, Wackym’s Kitchen, Wiseman House (Hico, TX), Xocolla (Sugarland, TX), and Yelibelly Chocolates