Choose your own adventure at The Oregon Chocolate Festival
Remember the â€˜Choose your own adventureâ€™ books from the â€˜80â€™s? You know you read a few pages, then in italics at the bottom of the page you get to choose where the rest of the story goes. Like, â€œTo go with the pirates go to page 36, To keep hiding on the ship go to page 56.â€ Shields had the great idea that I write my experience at the Chocolate festival that way. Itâ€™s my first try so be easy on me. Here we go!
Once a year the Ashland Springs Hotel holds a festival of pure delight. A chance to sample some of the best made chocolate in the state. Chocolatiers from as far away as
As I walked into the main lobby of the Ashland Springs Hotel, I was immediately confronted with a huge colorful sculpture, made of solid chocolate. The sculptor is Jeff Shephard, of Lillie Belle farms, Central Point. Wandering around the lobby serving samples of butterscotch and chocolate sauce are the very symbol of Spring and chocolateâ€¦rabbits, not just rabbits, but silly rabbits, I will get to them later.
From the lobby, I got my pass, and headed upstairs to the Grand Ballroom.
To tour the tables outside the Grand Ballroom continue reading.
To go straight to the Grand Ballroom go to paragraph 2.
Outside the ballroom, above the lobby wasâ€¦..well no chocolateâ€¦ no real chocolate that is. The first the delicious morsel I reach to put in my mouth is a ceramic chocolate. Lisa Strout of
Also in the hallway is Emily from our local Emz Blendz with chocolate soap! You can really smell the cocoa butter in it! Mmm, so good for your skin. She was cleverly giving a way little slivers of samples. Next, was soapâ€™s friend in the wax world: candles, chocolate and brownie flavored. Of course scented candles arenâ€™t ground breaking my any means, but all these scents were getting my mouth watering.
Next table was Waterstone spa. There were samples available of cocoa butter scrub and body cream. They were also offering their chocolate inspired treatments at the spa. Chocolate decadence is a 30-minute chocolate mineral bath, followed by an exfoliating chocolate scrub and finish with a chocolate shea butter cream body wrap and chocolate mousse mask. Which made me think: Doesnâ€™t chocolate make you break out?
Okay, enough with the hallâ€¦.time for the Grand Ballroom! All this messing around the hall with chocolate ceramics and chocolate scents is making me want to get the party in my mouth started.
(2) To my left as I walk in is Bransonâ€™s Chocolate from right here in
Moving right along, there is a man giving out samples of vanilla ice cream with a choice of two chocolate sauces: chocolate peppermint and dark chocolate. The man says you can put chocolate sauce on anything! Waffles, bananas, strawberries, brownies, crepes. It makes me stop and think about how much I need to increase the chocolate sauce usage in my life.
After a few uneventful tastings, I come upon a rather dapper man in a tuxedo with a lime green bow and cummerbund. He has a chocolate cocktail concept. His name is Jim Sanders from
As I move to next table, my attention is directed towards the middle of the room, where we have live music being played by a man with a guitar, a young lady playing a violin and a boy playing the saxophone. They were playing all kinds of festive music. I was devouring a sample of a flourless chocolate pudding cake.
To stay in the ballroom and keep tasting chocolate keep reading.
To go into the courtyard go to paragraph 3.
In the corner, what do I spy out of my little eye but another chocolate sculpture, and one of the largest sampling set ups. Itâ€™s KeKau from
Also fascinating were the different shapes some of the chocolatiers would put their chocolates in, my friend picked up one thinking it was a little chocolate grenade, but alas just an easter egg. I stop off at Silly Rabbit Chocolate Company to sample some Blood Orange Basil with Red Chile Flake chocolates. Surprisingly tasty! Also set hopping around mingling are his silly rabbits. â€œBunniesâ€ I cry out, wanting an interview with one, two hop up, serving trays in hand. They tell me that they are working with Silly Rabbit, but also for Relay for Life, for the American Cancer Society. The hourly wage they are earning through Silly Rabbit will be donated. Cute little generous bunnies that they are.
Next up is one of my favorite pairings! Marshmallow and chocolate. Peteâ€™s Gourmet from
(3) I wander into the entryway to the courtyard, where there is guess what? Even more chocolate, but one of my other favorites, wine. Front in center is the beautiful Stephannie Collier with long wavy red hair offering a taste of Rising Sun Farms, wine, along with their Chocolate Mocha Cheese Torta. Yes please! She pours a generous cup with a smile on her face, answering questions about the wine from the crowd. See www.risingsunfarms.com for more of their Cheese Tortas.
Next to Stephannie of Rising Sun Farms, is Jim and his wife from the Chocolate Dude Tempering machines. From
On the other side of the room was Rogue microbrews Chocolate Stout. I love me a good stout, itâ€™s a pretty smooth drink and Dave Chappell, of Rogue was good to check IDâ€™s while he was talking with me. I looked at the woman next to me and said â€œwhat do you think of it?â€ She said. â€œ I donâ€™t know, Iâ€™m a little high.â€
Across from Rogueâ€™s table is a familiar logo; Luluâ€™s Raw Chocolate Alchemy. A product Iâ€™m used to seeing sold at the Chai Hut. What makes her chocolate raw? Lulu only uses raw, organic ingredients for her chocolate. Her ingredients are Fair Trade and from eco-aware sources. The chocolate is sweetened with raw Agave Nectar and includes Maca root, a Peruvian superfood. Her chocolates come in flavors like; Velvet, Peppermint crunch, cayenne kiss, vanilla rose and lavender blueberry. See www.luluschocolate.com
As I wander out of the courtyard and back into the ballroom to get to a few tables that were a bit too crowded for me earlier, I find myself at
Phew, by this time all the chocolate and wine, is making me want to take a nice little afternoon nap. I straighten up when I see officer Marcus Williams in full uniform walking next to me. Heâ€™s brought his daughter to festival, as we chatting a lady comes up with a little girl. She says the girl has lost her parents, and wants to know if the officer will help her find them. Officer Williams, smiles and has his daughter take the girls hand as they head downstairs to find mom.
Well the festival is starting to wind down as it approaches 4pm. I gather my companions and head downstairs. I come out of the Ashland Springs Hotel and walk out onto the sunny sidewalk. I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much chocolate in my life, and I don’t regret a single piece of it!