Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Dallas Chocolate Festival is One Sweet Event

Kids of all ages clamor to learn (and taste) about chocolate
at the 2014 Dallas Chocolate Festival
Dallas Chocolate Festival 2014
by Alison Weinstein

If you have chocolate lovers in your house, the annual Dallas Chocolate Festival is a must. This weekend, I took my 12-year-old “chocolate aficionado,” to The Addison Conference center where the genius of some of the nation’s sweetest chocolatiers and confectionary chefs was on display. Let’s just say he held back with the “What do you think of the new Hershey’s formula?” question during a Q&A with the pro’s.

Learning about the artisan chocolate craft was not only humbling but also ridiculously delicious and fascinating. This was the 5th annual festival presented by whose mission is to “educate Dallas about chocolate one bar at a time.”

The event (totally sold out btw) has become popular not only with local chefs including The Mansion’s Nicolas Blouin, Katherine Clapner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate and former Nobu Executive Pastry Chef Kate Weiser (who just opened her own shop in Trinity Groves) but chocolatiers from all over. Pacari Chocolate from Ecuador, Potomac Chocolate from Virginia and Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company were just a few that made the trek to Big D for the event.

Chocolate fanatics could not only sample and visit one-on-one with chefs but attend roundtable discussions, presentations and classes on items like plantation functionality, bean harvesting and the process of what happens from bean to bar. At the end of the day, my son still gravitated to recipes closest in taste to his favorite Hershey’s bar. He couldn’t quite get his head around bacon, chili or jalapeños in his chocolate (“It’s an acquired taste,” I told him!).

Naturally, I continue to obsess about a recipe inspired by the aroma of Coco Chanel. For the both of us though, one thing is for sure: we will never look at a simple bar of chocolate in the same way again. There is no question; real chocolate making is an art and a true science.

About Alison Weinstein: A freelance writer and TV news producer, Weinstein started her career with Condé Nast Publications and ultimately followed her passion to television news at MSNBC in New York. Now in Dallas for over ten years, Alison has worked with NBC Network’s Southwest Bureau and other major network news divisions as a field producer. Making a difference in the community is also a terrific passion and Alison is honored to serve in leadership roles for Heroes for Children and The Dallas Holocaust Museum. Alison loves spending quality time with her husband, Michael and their two children, Carter & Ashley.