Beer & Chocolate

It’s that time of year again – the Oregon Chocolate Festival is coming right up. And yours truly is again presenting lively & delicious chocolate and beer tasting sessions.

For the past 5 years (this year = 6th) it’s been a pleasure to be part of this event at the invite of my fine colleague, Karolina of the Neuman Hotel Group. As I look back at the previous years, I like what I see.

OCF 2012

2012: First year invited to the festival by Karolina. My Fine Husband is a brewer in the same town and he was invited to make a beer for and talk at the Friday night Chocolate Makers dinner. Yum! I was lucky enough to go along and enjoy the hospitality and get a glimpse of what was ahead. We also were given a booth in exchange for my presentation, wherein we sold WEB goodies.

It’s always fun to see returning guests like Michelle.

2013: On the grow – the festival keeps attracting return guests and new guests into the flavor fold. I’m invited back thanks to our success last year and it’s a great time again, this time with an even fuller room (2 sessions, one Sat & Sun) that last year. Returning guests provide a humbling bonus.

Felicia enjoys the festival, with a fresh beer in hand.

2014: Getting bigger! And our last year in the actual room inside the hotel. We’re bursting at the seams and I give away a few tickets to the event – even better to help the Hotel generate more enthusiasm for a consistently well run and well done event. Felicia is the Winner and I’m so glad to have her the other 40 – 50 guests for each session. The Hotel Group has a terrific team, year over year, too so that makes the life of a presenter so much easier and more fun.

2015: Last year at the Ashland Springs Hotel, Downtown Ashland. In the tent we had a ball with as many guests would fit on Saturday, as well as a robust audience on Sunday too. Still with chairs only, we can snugly fit 60ish guests seated, with a few standing in the back. Thankfully I had enough of everything to serve the groups. Even better, my filmmaker Sean and PR pro Erika are in the house to capture all this tasty fun (clip above).

Join us at the Hills for the Festival

2016: We made a big leap forward to the new location, Ashland Hills Hotel, where the room can seat significantly more. We set up for 80 (seats & tables) and had big overflow of likely 100 = 120! While it’s a thrill to get that many people in the room who want to take part, it’s a disappointment to not be able to fully serve everyone who wanted to be there.  Big thanks to my team, Stacy & Russ, for working with the NHG crew to make it sing for me and our fine guests. I also gave away some private beer & chocolate tasting sessions (only 1 of 3 was redeemed…).

Soon: March 3 – 5, 2017. We’ll seat 100 people only, making sure that those who get there in good time have a literal seat and chair to enjoy the fun. Saturday & Sunday will allow for two different sessions, separate menus and as likely a few surprises. I’m deep into the throes of menu planning and development – creating a fun and delicious & enlightening menu for the 100 guests we’ll have Saturday and the other 100 we’ll have Sunday. Plus Karolina has given me the opportunity to be the moderator of a panel of beverage & food specialists – can’t wait!

Paula, Cassie, Ginger & Karolina are ready for you to join the fun!

Why am I walking down this chocolate memory lane today? Because in a world of sometimes feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything some days, these events are incredibly tangible and real. They’re like my fairway: a successful event like this helps me keep moving forward, knowing what I do matters.

  • Thanks to all the guests – one timers, repeats and stalwarts.
  • Thank you to Karolina and my crews – you make it all the better and successful for everyone.
  • Thank you for my flavor partners, including Dagoba Organic Chocolate and Larry/Brewer and others.

I’m relishing the upcoming festival and hope to see you there. Here’s the agenda. Please, come join us.

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Beer Writer John Holl To Visit Southern Oregon

I’m thrilled to announce that John Holl, accomplished beer writer, author, colleague and friend is coming to Southern Oregon to do some book events around his latest release – The American Craft Beer Cookbook.

Join us for a Cookbook signing with John Holl

Join us for a Cookbook signing with John Holl

John’s great fun to be with, is an educated professional beer community member and travels about sharing, teaching, judging and overall encouraging the enjoyment of beer, delicious beer.

Here’s the mash for Monday 16 September 2013:

  • 2 Public events in Ashland – one at Standing Stone Brewing Company and one at a local bookstore.
  • Private event: We’re hosting John at our home for a fun, tasty and casual house book party!!! If you are or plan to be in the area and would like to join us, call me directly. It’ll be in the evening and he’ll be available to chat, buy and sign books and have a great time. I’ll make a few of the recipes in the book for guests to nosh on, My Fine Husband will serve fresh beer.

Anytime we can help support colleagues and friends doing things that are good for the entire community, we’re ready to do so.

Cheers to John, cheers to good books, cooking, beer, and a tasty time for all.

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The Eagle (Van) Has Landed

Looking out our deck in Ashland

Looking out our deck in Ashland

Thanks to everyone who followed the Home Free Tour of 2009. It was unbelievably incredible – and that’s an understatement to get to see this marvelous country of ours, meet remarkable people, savor great beer and good food, see the sites, talk with so many generous and kind folks.

There are now tons of stats in the arsenal to help WEB as well. We visited  well over 30 breweries on the route, traveled over 15,000 miles, met dozens of great people and have plans to return to several of the places we stayed. By the time we figured our way around town, it was time to move along.

I’ll cover the breweries in the coming weeks as well as other stories beer related to help us all continue to sustain and grow support of the beer community at large.

For now, know the welcome mat is out and ready in Ashland Oregon, where we landed. It’s gorgeous, wonderful to wake up to mountains as I have wanted to do for years, and breathe it all in.

With a good beer of course…there are 2 breweries in town already. Standing Stone and Caldera.

Cheers!

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