This was my first year to attend
the annual Dallas Chocolate Festival, a spectacular event featuring chocolate
vendors from around the world who came to showcase their delicious treats. My focus on attending (well, besides eating chocolate, of course) was to review the artisan chocolates sold.
It was a mind-boggling event with over 60 booths filled with bean-to-bar chocolates, truffles, a chocolate fountain, baked goods and more.
Noise (60 vendors and hundreds of people vying for chocolate) and the wonderful aroma of chocolate greeted us as we climbed the stairs to the first attraction, an exhibit featuring small-scale machines which showed how chocolate is made.
It was the first time I’d ever seen an actual, roasted chocolate bean, which in itself was fascinating. The demonstrator let me turn the crank on the cracking machine, which cracks the beans to expose the “nibs,” or the meat of the beans.
Next came the winnowing machine which separates the heavier nibs from the light bean skins. Cacao nibs are edible by themselves and are often used to sprinkle on cakes or ice cream, or tossing them into candy brittle instead of nuts. (They’re crunchy tender, yet not sweet).
Cacao nibs can also be tossed in a salad or used as a crust on a savory such as duck breast or fried calamari.Back to the Chocolate Festival…
I interviewed quite a few of the artisan chocolate makers and sellers who all had fascinating stories, and I will share them here as well as include links to their websites.
Note: these reviews are mine personally because I tasted their chocolates and enjoyed them. They are not paid for and never will be. The reviews are strictly to share these unique chocolates with my readers.
If you are a chocolate maker and would like your chocolates to be reviewed, please contact me through my contact page.
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Dandelion Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory in the Mission District of San Francisco. They offer tours of their factory as well as all manner of chocolate pastries and drinks at their cafe. Full review here...
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