Chocolate tasting leads to chocolate shopping and of course buying chocolate.
How do you choose what you are going to buy at the festival?
Here is what I do. This will give you an idea of how much of a chocolate geek I am.
PREPARE BEFORE YOU GO
First, before I go to the festival web site and print out the company names of all of the exhibitors. Leave space for more exhibitors that may have signed up late and didn't make it onto the list on the web site and leave space to take notes next to each name.
Also, before I go to the festival I check my own chocolate pantry to see where the gaps are. Will I need chocolate for any upcoming recipes? Mood swings? Just to share? Make a list.
One more list. Do you need any gifts for the near future? Make a list of the hostess gifts, congratulations, birthdays, and even Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers you will need. If you put a little thought into your chocolate gifts you can find something that really makes someone feel special. For instance, I will be able to get some chocolate from Hawaii at the festival as a gift for a friend who moved to Seattle from Hawaii. I think she will appreciate that.
If chocolate bars are stored well (sealed at approx 70 degrees) they should last through the holidays. Confections may not last that long however you will be able to identify the ones that you would like to have for that future occasion and you may even be able to pre-order at the festival so fresh confections are sent to you or available for pick-up when you need them.
AT THE FESTIVAL
As you go around the room, sample chocolate, talk to the chocolate makers, take notes. Did you like the texture, flavor, inclusions? Did anything stand out? If you know you have found a winner buy it right then and there! Many times the small craft chocolate makers run out of inventory at the festival so don't delay.
After you have seen and tasted it all, go back and check off your shopping lists to make sure you have everything that you need, then go back one more time and make sure you have enough for your own chocolate stash!
Here is a quick 30 second video with showing some chocolate and some people you might see at the festival this weekend.
I hope to see you there!!