Chocolate Aficionados to Gather for Second Annual Event
Jan 30, 2015 04:02PM
● By Jill Cueni Cohen
Chocolate is serious business in western Pennsylvania. In fact, it’s SO serious that the Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau has set aside one special day in which to celebrate everything chocolate. On Saturday, March 7, the second annual Celebration of Chocolate will take place at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township’s Cranberry Woods.
According to Amy Pack, director of tourism development, the high number of chocolate-related businesses, from confectioners to bakeries and actual chocolatiers, called for a local event designed to let everyone just all-out worship this marvelous food in a variety of ways. “Last year’s event featured nearly 40 vendors and attracted more than 1,000 people,” said Pack, noting that hourly chocolate demonstrations by local confectioners and chefs will be held in the on-site auditorium in order to allow even more people to participate.
“Last year’s event received an overwhelming response from the vendors and the community,” she added. “Chocolate wine, chocolate beer, chocolate bacon, chocolate sauces, fudge…people will be amazed with all the ways that chocolate can be used.”
Heather Sprague, director of marketing and events for the Enchanted Olive in Zelienople, said that she’s looking forward to this year’s celebration and promises to bring plenty of chocolate pasta to the event. “We sold out of it last year,” she recalled, adding that the pasta, which is made with cocoa powder, doesn’t taste as chocolaty as it smells. “When you cook chocolate pasta, the aroma is incredible, but it has a rich flavor that goes great with cream sauces, like Alfredo.”
The Enchanted Olive’s booth will also have lots of dark chocolate balsamic vinegar to sell, along with other vinegars that pair nicely with the flavor of chocolate, including strawberry, raspberry and blueberry. “There are a lot of savory sauces that can be made with chocolate,” Sprague said, adding that the demonstrations will make people think differently about cooking with chocolate. “It’s not just for dessert.”
A great family event, this year’s Celebration of Chocolate will include a children’s activity area, a chocolate fountain, and Willy Wonka will even make an appearance for the Golden Ticket raffle.
The event runs from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and under. Adults can save $1 off their ticket by bringing a nonperishable food item that will be donated to Gleaner’s Food Bank.