Chocolate and Dessert, what more do you want?
This year, the chocolate and dessert lovers among us got a double treat. The Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show for the consuming public was held at Chicago's Navy Pier, followed immediately by the National Chocolate & Dessert Show for industry professionals. There were sweet treats abounding, demonstrations, competitions, special guests and more. Let us just say that we were wowed by the whole sweet scene. Here are a few of our favorite images from the shows. If only we could provide you with scratch 'n sniff chocolate scent, you'd really get the idea!
One of the many amazing cakes from the Cake and Pastry Art Gallery presented by Cake Deco Magazine. There were many delectable entries by master bakers and cake decorators, as well as a demonstration by former Top Chef Just Desserts competitor Chef Malika Ameen.
We loved learning much more about rare and fine chocolates of the world from Julie Bolejack, certified Artisan Chocolatier, whose vision of Chocolate for the Spirit sparked to life while on a retreat in enchanting Sedona, Arizona. She is as much educator as chocolatier, and we loved learning from her.
We've seen plenty of chocolate-covered apples in our day, but we loved the idea of chocolate-covered pears. Especially these half-pounders with quality Belgian chocolate!
Among the many chocolate-covered items, from gummy bears to cookies to marshmallows and more, these chocolate-dipped jalapenos were a real standout!
There were a variety of items that used chocolate essence, including liqueurs, wines and this unusual dark chocolate balsamic vinegar.
We enjoyed sampling the wide variety of products at the shows and one of our favorites was this super-strong rum cake made with a proprietary bit of booze.
There was much to see and do during the show crossroads where the industry met the consuming public. Chef Allain Roby exhibited a 1000 pound all chocolate sculpture of a Chicago saxophone player. Highly skilled sugar artists worked their magic creating several intricate show pieces. The incredible French Pastry School not only displayed several exquisite chocolate sculptures but also showcased many classic techniques of chocolate-making on the demonstration stage for all to see. There was an amateur/student Haunted Cupcake Competition attracting over 45 competitors. And, of course, samples to try of all the sweetness you could manage.
If you love chocolate and desserts, you should be sure to head to the Chicago Fine Chocolate & Dessert Show next year. It hopes to become one of the elite culinary events in the country, and we think it's well on its way!