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|
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!