Everyone else would be running “Help” Beatles-style towards a chocolate extravaganza, but me? I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to last with my low sugar tolerance. Look, I like chocolate, especially a 71 percent bittersweet, but one of those bars can last in my fridge for months. When I get a craving, I eat one square, maybe two if it’s a true chocolate emergency.
I think I acquitted myself well. My friend Ayeshee and I tore that place up. Sorta. I’m gonna blame that sugar consumption on very shaky hands — so bad that many of my photos were unusable. Yup, I’m sticking with that story.
What stood out for me?
XT Patisserie’s Kalamansi puree chocolate
I always prefer dark chocolate, but this Philippino lime-flavored piece in ivoire ganache and filled in white couverture (what? I don’t know) kept me guessing. Good or bad? I’m not sure. I need to try another piece.
Christopher Michael Chocolates – Sizzling bacon bar
I’m not off the bacon or pork belly bandwagon yet, and may never be as long as it’s done well. My first introduction to bacon and chocolate was the lovely Vosges Mo Bacon Bar, which is quite good with bacon-y flavor, but missed the crisp, meatiness of bacon. I thought maybe this Christopher Michael offering might fulfill that textural lack, but was disappointed.
As you can see, it wasn’t the most appetizing presentation. And although the bacon-to-chocolate flavor ratio worked for me, thumbs down on the sizzle-giving pop rocks candy. Not a good mouthfeel with those flavors. Am I the only one who didn’t really like this novelty?
Among all the sweets, this crunchy, bite-sized pretzel nugget was my salty respite — dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in buttery-salty toffee chips. Apparently CJ also makes this treat on a stick, a food delivery system which, as you know, always makes food taste better.
Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream
The Chocolate Salon had touted a wine tasting, but neglected to tell my disappointed palate that it would be dessert wines. Sigh. I know, I know. I should have realized. I mean, I was in Sweets Central, but still … Anyway, I had my typical problems choking down the Electra Orange Muscat from Quady Winery. Boo! But Ayeshee loved it. Yea!
Luckily for me, a few feet away was the Vermeer Dutch Chocolate Cream table. The dude there fancied himself a bartender, an identity which I was only too happy to grant him since he was making teeny but tasty chocolate martinis with the Vermeer and Blue Angel Vodka (preferably to that saccharine chocolate milk liquor that Dove was trying to hawk). Equipped with chocolate mustache, I effectively disguised myself so I could go back for seconds. Because a chocolate mustache will not make you conspicuous.
My favorite by far surprised even me since I can live perfectly well without eating or even thinking about marshmallows, but the Plush Puffs were a different story. Much better than your ordinary Stay Puft non-rampaging man. In particular, the S’mores flavor was excellent, not too sweet with plenty of graham cracker flavor and just a touch of chocolate. The sterno toasting cans were genius.
It’s just a matter of time before true entertainment in the form of bands (Willy and the Wonkas?), fondue dunking booths or this Sexual Chocolate guy will invade the chocolate salon, but until then, I still had plenty to admire. Besides the mini seminars, I also caught this guy at the AF-squared Chocolatiers table handing out fudge:
Within this lounge-y offshoot were the liquors I mentioned above, Swirls Cupcakes and three entries in The Chocolate Chef Competition, two of which you can check out below.
I survived! No Chocolate Fever spots. Not only that, I kind of loved this experience. The world of chocolate is my friend, not my frenemy, and I know now how to best approach the intimidating salon. For next year, I will pack sandwich baggies for pieces I don’t finish, a CamelBak wearable hydration unit, toothbrush & toothpaste and a salt lick.