Chocolate Festival? So it’s like a festival where you go around and eat chocolate? Well, yes and no. It really depends why you are there.
Last Sunday I went to the Northwest Chocolate Festival and I had a great time full of chocolate and chocolate-related people. if this was last year or any time before that, this would have been a fun time for me to just walk around and have free samples of chocolate. But this year as a food blogger, things were different. I was paying more attention to the brand, where they get their beans from, is it a bean to bar company, is it fair-trade and many other questions.
luckily as I said before, I visited Theo Chocolate Factory and learned a lot about chocolate. Here at the Northwest Chocolate Festival I even learned more. I saw many different chocolate factories and producers with excellent products and some exotic flavors that you can’t imagine.
Now before I start, let’s go through some concepts that I will use in this post:
Bean to Bar: When a company processes the cocoa bean into a product in-house. That means they don’t melt the chocolate from another manufacturer.
Fair-trade: Buying Fair Trade ensure that the product you are getting is a quality product and people who made it (harvest, sew, craft) get a fair deal for the work they have done. It prevents child labor and provides a safe work environment for the producers. In many cases, farmers won”t have to deal with a middleman who doesn’t pay them what they deserve anymore.
Now that we are familiar with two important concepts (these two really do matter to me), let’s look at the companies I liked the most :
Vivra Chocolate: The passion of chocolate was born in Paris and I can easily say that is what makes their product special. As a bean to bar company, Vivra Chocolate works with small batches of cocoa bean which to me means they don’t use any mass manufacture things that makes a chocolate bar “a normal-you can find it anywhere”. Have you ever heard of pumpkin spice chocolate bar? Believe me it’s awesome.
Raaka Chocolate: The first thing that caught my eye was that their chocolate is unroasted, and this is not something that all companies do. When the cocoa bean is not roasted, the whole process of making chocolate changes and as Raaka Chocolate says, the taste and flavor of each region’s cocoa bean will be preserved. Raaka is also a bean to bar company with many other great features.
Cao Chocolates: Based in Miami, Cao Chocolates is also a bean to bar company that produces truffles, bonbons, chocolate covered fruit, and crunchy bars. Their truffle comes in many different flavors including white dreams (Dark Chocolate Ganache rolled with coconut flakes), Cashew land (Dark chocolate ganache coated in salty cashews and white chocolate). I like them a lot because many of their truffles are made with dark chocolate and I love dark chocolate.
Forte Artisan Chocolate: Has three lines of products which are Gusto Choclates, Forte Artisan Chocolate and Volta Craft Chocolates. The one I really loved was Gusto Chocolates which is the line that produces chocolate for savory use, and if you think I’m crazy, I shall tell you that I am not and I’m pretty sure chocolate in savory food makes a great compliment if one knows how and where to use it. This is a brilliant idea and I would definitely love to try it.
Xocolatl Chocolate: A bean to bar company that makes chocolate from small single-origin batches and the most awesome thing about them is that they Just use cacao and organic cane sugar! They’re packaging is really pretty too!
Evolve Chocolate Truffles: This one is so good, there were tree lovely ladies who made all these gorgeous truffles that came in so many different flavors. My favorite was the Bulgarian Rosewater. The chocolate was so soft and the hint of rosewater was just right.
Lillie Belle Chocolate: Such amazing chocolate bars and really cute names! I bought the “The most awesome chocolate bar ever” (yes, that’s the name of the chocolate bar!) and oh my God it really deserves that name! It contains almonds and hazelnuts!
And last but definitely not least was one stall that totally blew my mind with the idea and everything about it. Chococurb Inc. has stolen my heart without doubt. If you haven’t clicked on the link yet, let me tell you what Chococurb is. It’s a chocolate discovery experience arriving at your door on a regular basis, giving you the chance of tasting and enjoying bites and nibbles of the best chocolates across the country without having to look for the best, because it just comes to you easily when you subscribe. Who wouldn’t want that? I know I would prefer to receive a box of exciting chocolate treats every month!
This was an exciting experience for me, will definitely try to go to the next year chocolate festival too. I’ve written more than 800 words about chocolate by now, I sure do need to eat some.