NW Chocolate Festival Highlights

Fun.  Educational. Inspiring. Chocolate everywhere.

I am so thankful that Brian Cisneros, Brie Muolton, and Kate Selting had the inspiration and follow through to bring the NW Chocolate Festival to Seattle.  By gathering all of the chocolatiers, chocolate makers, and confectioners together in one place they have given us a gift that is virtually impossible to find anywhere else.

A big thank you is also due to the sponsors. 

Here are the gems I found this year...

Fresh Cacao Pods

Bill Fredericks uses a machete to open a cacao pod
Inside a fresh cacao pod

Bill Fredericks (aka The Chocolate Man) had freshly picked cacao pods flown in just for the event.  To be able to see a fresh cacao pod split open with a machete, taste the fresh white fleshy part (it tastes like a lemony melon), and see cacao beans before the fermentation, drying, and roasting stage.

Save the Forests
Kate, a NW Chocolate Festival organizer, spoke about how chocolate is saving the tropical forests.  Some of the countries in chocolate growing regions have realized that cacao is a national treasure growing among  areas that they have been clear cutting and have since stopped those practices.  Save the forest, eat more chocolate!

The Chocolate Masquerade Ball and Dessert Competition
A wild night of celebrating everything that can be done with chocolate while sampling desserts and drinks plus a vote for your favorite chocolate dessert.

The dessert winners were:
Judges choice:  Anise Ganache Filled Fig - by Sebastian and Dominica Falcon of Chocolopolis

Peoples choice:  Petite Opera Torte - 3 layers of chocolate biscuit filled with chocolate mousse, coffee, Bavarian creme and espresso creme, garnished with a marbled chocolate tile by Coastal Mist chef Kevin Shaw

The Chocolate Makers, Chocolatiers, and Confectioners
To be able to talk to the people who make the various chocolate bars, confections, and desserts while sampling the chocolate that they have worked so hard to create is my favorite part of the festival.  You hear about their inspiration (carrots and chocolate...how did that happen?), how they make their chocolate different, and see their passion.

Thank you to each and every person who worked hard, traveled, shared your samples, and participated.  Here are the people I had a chance to meet listed in no particular order...

Intrigue Chocolate  Aaron Barthel, 114 flavors of  fresh truffles crafted in the French tradition.

Vibrant Chocolate  Mike Arcuri.  Chocolates fortified with essential vitamins.

The Chocolate Conspiracy   Raw Artisan Chocolate made with honey.

Taza Chocolate  Stone ground chocolate plus new chocolate covered nuts and nibs.

Ritual Chocolate  Anna Davies and Robbie Stout.  Just two ingredients featuring beans from Costa Rica.

Forte   Karen Neugebauer.  Bars, caramels, truffles, sculptures, and now debuting Fortuanto No 4 from cacao beans previously believed to be extinct.  A rare find!

Madecasse Brett Beach.  Fabulous story behind the company and how they make a difference.  All beans, manufacturing, and ingredients are from Madagascar.

Chocovision  Tempering machines.  Where technology meets productivity.  Ian Lazarus came from NY to see rain in the Pacific NW.

Kallari  Judy Logback.  Farmer owned.  Produced by a coalition of 850 Kichwa families in the Napo region of the Ecuadorian Amazon.  Saving the rain forest and making fine chocolate.

DeVries Chocolate Steve Devries gives chocolate tours in South America and makes an 80% chocolate with "just enough sugar so it doesn't bite your head off".  Watch for those bars to debut soon.

Fresco numbers their chocolates and clearly marks the bean, roast, and conch on their packaging.

Holy Cannoli   Adrienne Bandlow says " A cannoli a day makes life better."  Watch for her shop opening in Seattle's Belltown neighborhood on Nov 14th.

Parfait  Adria Shimada with her Organic Artisan Ice Cream and caramel sauces with no corn syrup.  Home delivery available in the Seattle area!!!!  The chocolate chai ice cream was delicious!

Chocolate Shop Chocolate Red Wine  Chocolate flavored wine.

The Chocolate Man Bill Fredericks will be opening a store front in Lake Forest Park WA soon.

Indaphoria  Eclectically spiced chocolate bars by hand. 

Dandelion Chocoalte  Todd and Cam make pure, beautifully packaged chocolate bars.

Bargello Bakery and Confections Wendy Tinker.  Smoked Habanero Caramels.  Watch for the Where's Wendy twitter contest.

Madre Chocolate  From Hawaii.   Dave has two separate lines of chocolate, one from Hawaii with inclusions like Passion Fruit, and another to celebrate the origin of chocolate from ancient civilizations with inclusions such as popped amaranth.   The Chipotle/Allspice bar is quite nice.

Carters Chocoaltes  Matt Carter from Port Orchard sampled some of his caramels and chocolates.

Snake and Butterfly  Bars and confections.  Their Salted Bourbon Caramels caught my attention.

Indi Chocolate  Chocolate lotions and scrubs, and a few edible chocolates too.

Amano  Art Pollard came with  award winning chocolates and truffles plus  cookies and brownies too.

Hotcakes Autumn was serving up smoked chocolate, vegan salted caramel sauce and more.

Escazu   All the way from North Carolina!  My tasting notes say "really creamy".

Chocolates by George  George has some spicy Chocolate Hot Lips truffles.

Peaks Custard  Beth stirs up a delicious, creamy frozen custard.

Choc-O-Broc  Kimberly McKisson makes a chocolate broccoli ganache.

Olive and Sinclair  Scott Witherow  Southern stone ground chocolate bars made with brown sugar.

Stirs the Soul  All organic, vegan, raw, and allergy free chocolate bars. 

The Chocolate Box was serving up hot chocolate.

Costal Mist Fine Chocolates and Desserts

Ykchaua Very interesting flavors of brittle such as curry and nibs plus fudge sauce.

Mindo Chocolate Makers  Chocolate made from Ecuadorian Nacional Beans.

Brevin's Solid Gold Fudge

I took way too many photos to post here.  Watch for photos to be uploaded to our Finding Chocolate Facebook page.

Next year the NW Chocolate Festival will be held on Oct 27 and 28.  Mark your calendar now and watch for tickets to go on sale!


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