What do you call a virtual weekend, featuring over 30 chocolate makers and chocolatiers from around the world? Correct: The Dallas Chocolate Festival.
So, chocolate lovers, it is time to buy your All-Access Festival Pass ($50) as this annual do-not-miss choco-filled event runs September 12 and 13. And, very importantly, the deadline to purchase full-access festival tickets, including a no doubt delicious box of artisanal chocolates, is September 2.
Organizers DallasChocolate.org are delivering the same beloved elements as the original Festival but, in this most unusual of years, the mouthwatering tastings, interactive and engaging educational programs, and live chats have all been retooled so they can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.
Virtual festivalgoers will be immersed in the wonderful world of chocolate all weekend long—starting with their hand-delivered box of artisanal chocolate samples from over 30 chocolate companies across the globe. Attendees will also have the opportunity to learn every element of chocolate-making, with live virtual demonstrations, discussions, guided tastings, and factory tours led by expert chefs and chocolate makers. Plus, exhibitors will also be able to video chat and text with in real time.
As a quick taster, here are a few of the class and demonstration highlights. (Check the festival website for the full schedule.)
Saturday, Sept. 12, 11am: Chef Susan Notter, Making Chocolate Bars at Home
Graduating culinary school in England, Susan Notter has coached and won high-level pastry competitions; taught and directed departments at the International School of Confectionary Arts, Culinard, and YTI Career Institute (a prominent Pennsylvania trade school); appeared on several Food Network shows; and created chocolates in Lucerne and Zurich. Join Chef Susan as she demonstrates how to make chocolate bars at home using fine Swiss Felchlin chocolate.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 12noon: Chef Zach Townsend, Baking with Fine Chocolate
Chef Zach Townsend, one of Dallas’ foremost authorities on working with chocolate, will educate, enlighten and excite participants about the world of chocolate in this fun and informative class. Chef Zach studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and The French Pastry School in Chicago before founding Dallas Chocolate Classes and Pure Chocolate Desserts by Zach. He is also a magazine contributor, dessert consultant, and French-to-English translator of cookbooks.
Saturday, Sept. 12, 4pm: Carla D. Martin, PhD, What Makes Chocolate “Good?”
The Founder and Executive Director of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI), Carla D. Martin is a Lecturer in the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Carla will lead an informative, conscious-arousing chocolate tasting while diving into the history and culture of the multi-billion-dollar business of cacao and chocolate. The chocolate box which is part of the full-access festival pass includes chocolate samples for this guided class.
Sunday, Sept. 13, 11am: Chef Brian Donaghy, Simple Techniques for Chocolate at Home
Chef Brian Donaghy is the Corporate Chocolatier and Chocolate Program Manager at Tomric Systems, Inc., a pioneer in the design, manufacture, distribution and sale of chocolate molds, equipment, packaging, tools and utensils. Follow along as Chef Brian shares his wealth of knowledge to make the oftentimes complex topic of making chocolate ganache at home simple and fun.
Sunday, Sept. 13, 4pm: Ben Rasmussen, Bean-to-Bar in an Absurdly Small Chocolate Factory
Ben Rasmussen is the chocolate maker and owner of Potomac Chocolate, the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Take a cyber step inside his absurdly small workshop for a tour to see how he transforms raw cacao into award-winning craft chocolate.
Cover photo Kathy Tran