My good friend John Jessup from the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau picked me up from Grand Traverse Resort last Sunday and took me to Downtown TC for the Traverse City Chocolate Festival. First, we stopped at one of my favorite shops, Fustini's Oils and Vinegars. I must give them a plug, as they have some of the finest offerings in flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. If they allowed it, I would literally pour the Red Apple Balsamic Vinegar right from the spout into my mouth. *drool*
Back to the Chocolate Fest... I was in awe of the City Opera House, which has been renovated over the last seven years. The gold inlays in the ceiling and wraparound balcony were truly a sight to see. Picture me with my jaw dropped, looking up at the ceiling until John snapped me out of the trance.
I was also intrigued by the number of chocolatiers that have made their home in Northern Michigan. It made much more sense when I saw the local wineries that participated in the festival, showcasing their port and other sweet, dessert wines. Chocolate + Wine = Match Made in Heaven
One of the highlights was watching a demonstration from a local chocolatier, whose name escapes me at the moment, making fresh truffles... and then she passed them out for all to taste. I suppose this is why I have forgotten which shop she represented. I was too mezmerized by the explosion of fresh, warm chocolate melting in my mouth to see which company she was from.
Another highlight was talking to one of the creators of True North Vodka from the Grand Traverse Distillery. I mean, I know a little bit about wine, but am clueless about vodka. I learned so much about the production of this fine spirit. They use only rye grown in northern Michigan to make their vodka and are distributing in all Meijers and working on a deal with Costco. They were sampling a chocolate vodka, made with cacao beans which rested on the bottom of the bottle. Thankfully, they only sampled about a half an ounce. By the time we visited them, my cheeks were already red from all of the chocolate and wine we were trying.
Some of the chocolatiers in attendance included:
- Charles Layton Chocolates
- The Chocolate Den
- Chocolate Exotica
- Forest Confections
- Grocer's Daughter Chocolate
- Jacques Torres Chocolate
- Here's a list of other vendors that participated
I certainly had a wonderful time and left with quite the sugar buzz that kept me going for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, when my conference began.
A BIG thank you goes out to John for introducing me to this fun (and yummy!) festival. As the weather warms up, I can't wait to chronicle the other festivals and events that Matt and I attend. I promise to take pictures of any future events. I was counting on the TC Chocolate Fest website to have more photos that I could borrow for this post, but I came up short.
OK, back to looking for my camera cord...