Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chocolate Galore

Another post about chocolate proves how much I love this food.

I was thrilled to attend Ghirardelli Square's 14th annual chocolate festival yesterday! I invited quite many friends that shared my chocolate obsession along with me, and we were completely satisfied. Overwhelmed even.

The festival gathered 40 chocolate-related vendors together to benefit Project Open Hand. It's free to attend, but it costs $20 for 15 tastings you could use at the vendors. Fortunately for my friends and I, we received free tasting tickets, courtesy of Cadillac Ride & Drive. Thank you Cadillac!
The following pictures reflect my highlights of the festival:
At the Main Stage: Icecream Sundae Eating Contest for Kids! I believe there were six contestants, and they weren't allowed to use their hands. The sundae was eight scoops of icecream with whipped cream, nuts..basically all the works! Those kids probably walked off with brain freeze and sugar high afterwards. This was so fun to watch! The winner won a Ghirardelli chocolate gift basket (as he/she doesn't have enough sweets already...). By the picture above, guess who the winner was?
At the Cadillac Ride & Drive tent: make your own Ghirardelli sundaes! Start off with traditional vanilla icecream, choose a drizzling topping and top it off with whipped cream, nuts and a maraschino cherry! I chose Ghirardelli's famous specialty: hot fudge. It was a small simple treat to start off our day!
At the Cost Plus World Market's Wine & Chocolate Lounge: 72% cacao dark chocolate square, spicy tortilla chips and chocolate covered peanut butter-filled pretzel bites. The bitter dark chocolate (at only 4.25 gm fat & 55 cals) was perfect to pair with red wine (a wine glass costs $5, so we didn't go for it), and the chips and pretzel bites were a 3-S (sweet, savory and spicy) combo! And I'm not usually a fan of peanut butter outside of PB sandwiches. I had to get a second serving.

Plus, Cost Plus World Market gave us free $5 coupons! I'll be shopping there soon.
At the Boomerang Australian Vodka tent: Chocolate Martinis! Yummy chocolate concoctions. The vodka rolls down smoothly with a sweet chocolate finish. Boomerang Vodka is 5x distilled - very pure, ultra-smooth and elegant. Definitely a good cocktail to include in your chocolate & wine parties.

Side note: One of my friends noticed someone using all of his tastings at this tent!
At the Rustic Bakery: The title says it all. This looked absolutely delicious! I didn't get a chance to try it, but one of my friends liked it! It looks like a fresh donut hole drizzled in cream and chocolate. It's comfort food for the sweet tooth.
According to, crème anglaise is made by whipping egg yolks and sugar together until it turns white, then slowly adding hot milk and cooking until thick. It's usually flavored with vanilla. It's used as a dessert sauce and a base for crème brûlée! Yum!
At the Sterling Confections tent: Sterling Truffle Bars! They served long decorated Toblerone-like bars. They were confectionary chocolate bars. I bet they make a popular gift during Christmas!
At the Island Breeze Macaroon & More tent: Chocolate Drizzled Coconut Macaroons! I chose the white chocolate & cranberry combo. It was sweet, tart and coconutty. A good treat to eat for a tea party!
At the Mary Louise Butters Brownies tent: Assorted Brownies! They were generous, because they gave us 2 brownies per tasting. The selections were orange, rose, ginger and chipotle. I chose the last two (ginger on left, chipotle on right). I liked that the brownies had chunks of ginger and chipotle; I could taste the strong flavors really well. My favorite was the chipotle, as the chipotle spice went really well with chocolate. Care to have a spicy dessert?
At one of the Ghirardelli tents: Decadent Drinking Chocolate! This is no ordinary hot chocolate. It was literally chocolate liquor! My friends and I couldn't finish our small 4 oz. cups; it was too decadent for us. I tried dipping a chocolate covered almond biscotti to finish it... but it didn't help much. I had to throw it away, which saddens me because I hate wasting food.
At the McCormick & Kuleto's tent: Mini Chocolate Truffle Cakes! They were assembled on-site for the whipped cream and assorted berries (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) as toppings. I chose the raspberry truffle cake. The chocolate truffle was semisweet, the tart was flakey and the raspberry was a sweet "cherry on top"! This booth was very popular; there were 3 lines for it!
Last but not least, my favorite tasting was at Gelateria Naia's tent. They generously served fresh gelato waffle cones: Stracciatella (Italian's version of chocolate chip icecream) and Ferrero Rocher. Gelato is a healthier alternative to icecream, because it has a higher milk to cream ratio than icecream (less fat). Plus, gelato is churned more slowly than icecream, which makes it more dense to intensify its flavors (less air). Gelato is served fresh while icecream is served frozen. [Info from]
Since FR is one of my favorite chocolates growing up, I had to choose it! It tasted exactly like FR in a frozen creamy treat. This completed my chocolate indulgence for the day. I chomped it up before I realized that I forgot to take a picture of it!
To learn more about the chocolate festival, visit

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