Beer & Chocolate Tasting at the 2015 Oregon Chocolate Festival

Mmmmmm…Chocolate and Beer – what a lovely coupling!

Enthusiastic OR Chocolate Fest Beer + Chocolate class attendees

Enthusiastic OR Chocolate Fest Beer + Chocolate class attendees

So went two successful highly tasty and entertaining classes to that end last weekend at the 11th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. Karolina Lavagnino, Sales & Marketing Director of the Neuman Hotel Group, started the fest 11 years ago to create excitement and business in the shoulder season between winter and spring.

I started giving the tasting classes 4 years ago with immediate success. The rooms fill quickly with enthusiastic people, open to trying new combinations and thinking in new ways about what we eat and drink.

This year we were moved into an outdoor tent to seat up to 65+, up from the 40 seats in previous years. And WOW!! The rush to get in felt like a concert was going down. Both days our fantastic security pro Stephanie helped us with the flow, and Ben, Dana and Christa (crew from the Springs) were spot on with their assistance.

Here’s the menu we enjoyed:

Ginger & Stephanie ready for the crowds!

Ginger & Stephanie ready for the crowds!

Saturday: Oakshire Brewing Beers with Dagoba Chocolates

  • Amber + Milk
  • Watershed IPA + Lavender Blueberry
  • Espresso Stout + Dark

Sunday: Standing Stone Brewing Beers with Dagoba Chocolates

Pairing beer and chocolate is so easy, fun, and simple that it’s amazing more people are new to it. Experiment at home: get chocolates and beer – a variety of both – and invite some friends over to sip, nibble, and explore.

The best palate starts with an open mind.

See you at the fest next year!!

  • Thanks to all the energetic and very fun guests. Come see us next year – and know we’re available to hire for your private and business events as well.
  • Thanks to the Hotel Crew. Everyone from security and service, organizers to staff is super helpful, upbeat, and competent.
  • Thanks to Sean Marc Nipper, Reel House Films Filmmaker, and Erika Bishop, Producer, for their efforts Sunday in capturing the fun on film.
  • Thanks to My Fine Husband for his assistance and unflagging support.

 

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Great Flavor Partners, Beer & Chocolate

People file in…anticipating flavor and fun…they’re happily satisfied.

So went our annual Beer & Chocolate Tasting sessions at the recently concluded 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. The whip sharp and inspiring Karolina of Ashland Springs Hotel (Neuman Hotel Group) started the festival 10 years ago to create a shoulder season event for residents and visitors alike. Suffice it to say: it’s been a big success.

Ashland is home to 23K+ permanent residents, a few thousand University students and innumerable visitors every year. A festival of this caliber is a pleasure to be a part of – Karolina and her fantastic assistant Paula along with the entire crew (Gina, Charlie, Gigi, and dozens more staff) are a joy to collaborate with.

Find a local beer class - and take it!

Find a local beer class – and take it!

When I approached Karolina 3+ years ago to inquire about adding their first ever beer and chocolate session, she was ready to embrace it – new, interesting, and attractive to the hundreds of guests that visit the fest. Some of them year after year after year, from far and near.

I love teaching. The lightbulb moments, the opportunity to open minds and pleasing palates, the myriad people you meet and the comfortable and accommodating setting are all reasons the love continues. Teaching in an ideal setting helps make it the best it can be for the guests too, never mind the presenters (!).

Get out and support your local festivals. Attend as a paying guest, volunteer to help, and spread the word.

Here are the menus for the 2 sessions we gave this year. Hope to see you in class next year!

Great Flavor Partners: Beer & Chocolate

Saturday

  1. Milk and Honey Ale with Roseberry
  2. Twin Plunge IPA with Lavender Blueberry
  3. Humboldt Fog
  4. Hop Night Cascadian Dark with Mint

Sunday

  1. Steel Cut Stout with classic Dark
  2. Noble Stout with New Moon
  3. Truffle Tremor
  4. Milk and Honey with Eclipse
  5. BONUS: award-winning Amber (with whatever was remaining!)

A great time was had by all – thanks to all the guests, new and returning. Cheers til next time –

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Winner of 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival Ticket Giveaway

In a highly scientific and competitive contest, we are happy to announce that the flavor lover Felicia Reninger has won the giveaway of 2 tickets to the 2014 Oregon Chocolate Festival, March 8 & 9, 2014. Congratulations Felicia!

In asking for help to choose, Twittersphere community member @cingoodwoman chose #2 without knowing anything else other than to pick a number – see I told you: highly scientific. And I was glad for help as I wanted to give all three finalists free tickets!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival - having a ball!

Cassie, Ginger & Karolina at the 2013 Chocolate Festival – having a ball!

The complementary tickets from the venerable Karolina, originator of the festival and amazing Marketing Director of the Ashland Springs Hotel. Our many thanks.

In the spirit of fun and sharing, I wanted to share the top three contenders and their creative entries (which is what we asked for).

1. Sasha Tokareff

I need 2 free tickets to the OCF! Oregon Chocolate Fest! I need them because my boyfriend lives in Boston and chocolate is the only thing keeping me sane!”

2. Felicia Reninger

“Yes! I would like the two tickets to the chocolate festival! I attended last years event, all by myself, but the sorrow of going alone was soon forgotten. I was drunk on chocolate and forgot my loneliness! This year my sister said she would go with me, and it would be awesome to surprise her with a ticket.”

(Also, Ginger’s beer and chocolate tasting class inspired my homebrew. Been pairing and tasting ever since!)”

3. Mary Sharbatz

“YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF ๐Ÿ™‚ I have not been to one of Ginger’s Beer & Chocolate classes yet, and I’d love to go to this festival! Sounds divine ๐Ÿ™‚ Ashland is calling my name. I have never won anything before, and to be chosen would feel so great, like I hit the jackpot!”

Thank you to everyone who entered. I sure hope to do it again next year. All the finalists are encouraged to come find me and take a photo at the fest – I’ll have some goodies for all three.

In the meantime, know that this tasty festival happens this weekend, starting with a fancy dinner Friday night, Saturday & Sunday are the festival and I’ll be there Saturday (12-1) & Sunday (1145-1245) giving Beer & Chocolate classes (3rd year running). You can register for them here – and they’re free. Heck of a value to be sure.

Cheers & chocolate to you ~

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Oregon Chocolate Festival 2014 Ticket Giveaway

If you’d like two complementary tickets to the uber luscious and fun 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival happening March 8 & 9, Ashland OR, then speak up!!

Here’s the mash:

  1. Get to our Contact page, scroll down to General Inquiries (past the Media Inquiries)
  2. Fill it out specifying you “YES! I want to Win 2 Tickets to the OCF” in the How Can We Help You space.
  3. Include full first and last name, email address and one good fun reason we should give them to you.
  4. Entries taken until Sunday March 2nd.

We’ll draw a winner randomly from all entries – women & men are encouraged to enter. The only thing that would trump the random selection process is if someone gets super creative with an entry. Extra weight to creativity!

Festival Link here.

p.s. We’ll be offering our usual tasty Beer & Chocolate classes Saturday & Sunday too – register here.

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Oregon Chocolate Festival: 1st Ever Beer & Chocolate Pairing

Women Enjoying Beer presented the first ever Beer & Chocolate pairing session at the 8th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival held last weekend in Ashland, OR. Our gracious and enthusiastic hosts, lead by the famazing Karolina, made being a presenter and vendor easy and fun.

Thanks to the guests who enjoyed an hour’s worth of lively tasting, conversating and questions. We featured 3 flavorful West coast beers matched with 3 delicious local chocolate makers.

Judging by the enthusiasm of the attendees I’d say we had a big success on our taste buds.

Many thanks to the generous supply of beer from the brewers and Lark’s Restaurant in the Hotel as well as the chocolate companies. The Hotel staff and volunteers from SOU were a big help as well.

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