Attention all chocolate aficionados: your chance to savor fine chocolates, make your own chocolate bar and whip up your own chocolate dessert is just a little more than a week away!
The fourth annual Dallas Chocolate Conference & Festival presented by DallasChocolate.org will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26 and Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Addison Conference Centre.
Sander Wolf, Dallas Chocolate Conference & Festival organizer and DallasChocolate.org founder, says he started the event to showcase local chocolatiers who were making outstanding chocolate.
“I started the event after discovering small-batch craft bean-to-bar chocolate for the first time. I figured that if I didn’t know about it that I probably wasn’t the only one,” he says. “I wanted to make sure that all great local chocolatiers were also involved, so we started the Chocolate Conference & Festival. There’s some really good stuff going on with chocolate in Dallas that’s sort of been going on under the radar. I want to give all those crafts people a bigger voice.”
Wolf’s intentions are evident in the long list of excellent pastry chefs who will be in attendance.
James Beard award-winning author, chef and culinary historian Maricel Presilla; Valrhona Chocolate pastry chef Derek Poirier; and popular Dallas pastry chef David Collier are just a few of the chocolate masters guests will get to see.
The Chocolate Conference & Festival will feature a main hall with a “room of wall-to-wall chocolate” where guests will get to select and sample the sweet stuff from more than 20 chocolatiers. Wolf says guests should come to the event with an open mind (and palate) and plan on spending quite a bit of time in order to avoid an overwhelming experience.
“This year, we have at least two dozen different chocolate makers and chocolatiers that are sampling out their stuff. Guests should seek out one of them that they’ve never even heard of before and find out what they’re all about—every chocolatier does something a little differently from the others,” he explains. “It can be a bit of sensory overload if you rush, but the event is set up so that you can take your time and really enjoy the chocolate and meet the artisans.”
The Chocolate Conference will kick off the fest at 10 a.m. on Saturday, with the “Chocolatiers’ Roundtable,” where guests will get to take part in a panel discussion with all participating chocolatiers.
Some of the chocolate makers featured this year include: local chocolatier, Bark Chocolate; local artisan maker, Elegantly Chocolate; Houston-based chocolate, Tejas Chocolate; California-based maker, Dandelion Chocolate; and Venezuelan chocolate, Chocolates El Rey.
In-between chocolate tastings, you want to make sure you check out some of the classes and presentations that will be taking place during the festival. Wolf says the classes are a must this year.
“Make sure not to miss the series of classes that we’re doing all day that are included in the price of admission,” he says. “We’ve got local chocolatiers teaching classes about everything from where chocolate comes from to how to bake modern deserts with it.”
All classes are on a first-come, first-seated basis. Classes and presentations will include: “Baking with Chocolate” with Derek Poirier and Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach’s Zach Townsend; “My Life in Chocolate” presentation with Maricel Presilla; “Beyond Chocolate Cake: Modern Chocolate Desserts” featuring David Collier and Collin College pastry professor and Texas Chef Association Pastry Chef of the Year, Michelle Brown; and “Chocolate Shop 101” with chocolatiers Kate Weiser and Troy Easton.
If you want a more intense session with some chocolate experts, this year’s event will include “two limited space, hands-on chocolate workshops” on Sunday, Oct. 27. These events—“Bean-To-Bar Chocolate-Making” and “Delicious Chocolate Dessert-Making Class”—will not be held at the Addison Conference Centre and are offered for an additional cost of $125.
Tickets to this year’s Dallas Chocolate Conference & Festival range from $20-$50. The price of admission includes 10 coupons for chocolate samples. For more information on this event or to purchase tickets, please visit DallasChocolate.org.