Lucky 13: Oregon Chocolate Festival Beer & Chocolate Menu

One of our fine team members getting the goods plated…

Mmmmmmmm

Ahhhhhhhhh

Ooooooooo!!

Robust crowd sounds abounded last weekend at the 13th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, held at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Resort in Ashland Oregon. It was my 6th year presenting and they’ve come a loooooong way since they started. They’ve continued to see increased attendance, invite a variety of tasty and engaging vendors, host a line-up of educational presentations and have even added a run.

Six years ago when I started giving the classes, I literally didn’t know any chocolate makers. So – about twenty minutes before my talk, I ran around the festival floor, introducing myself and asking, “would you like me to feature your chocolates?” to a handful of vendors.

Great crew (slightly chocolate-goofy!) helping out

Dagoba was one of those vendors and they’ve become a long-term partner for me – and I’m so grateful and glad! World class organic chocolate, variety of flavors and styles (drinking chocolate powder, bars and so forth) and very easy to work with. Props to Jill and the Dagoba crew for their continued support. If you were there and liked the chocolates, be sure to let them know (they graciously give [read: donate] the goods each year).

This year was so much fun, as usual – because of the guests who come to partake of all the fest offers. And I’d like to give a special shout out to all the fine flavor lovers who attended one of my two Beer & Chocolate Classes! Thanks for everyone who came back and thanks to every one who experienced it for the first time.

My thanks as well to the fine volunteers from The Hospitality Club at Southern Oregon University, Asante, and the world class staff with the Neuman Hotel Group who makes sure everything is smooth and fabulous for me and our guests every year. To my captains, Katrina & Larry – you rocked it! Till next year ~

Love live the Festival!!

Here are the menus we enjoyed.

Saturday:

  • Standing Stone Brewing (all beers deliciously made by their brewer Larry Chase) Milk Chocolate Ale + Polenta with Dagoba Superberry + fresh blueberries & strawberries
  • Twin Plunge Double IPA + Dagoba Orange &  Lemonberry bars
  • Chocolate Porter + Ginger cookies with Dagoba Chai drinking chocolate & Xolcolatl chocolate chevre

Sunday:

  • Chocolate Porter + Dagoba Milk Chocolate bar
  • Twin Plunge + Lemonberry polenta & lemon zest
  • Milk Chocolate Ale + Ginger cookies with Dagoba Chai drinking chocolate & Authentic chocolate chevre

Recipes:

Chocolate Polenta

I made a large batch of polenta (to feed 100!) for each day. Essentially 12 cups of water + 4 cups of polenta; adding 2 bars of chocolate to each batch + 1 cup cream (not milk – it’ll separate). You can add more as desired – and I didn’t add any sugar at all, so the results were lovely and mild. Enhance and play with them as you wish.

Chocolate Chevre

Since I love love love goat cheeses, it was an easy pick to enhance chevre with the drinking chocolate powers. Allow the cheese to reach room temp and soften a bit more. When they’re room temp, sprinkle in the chocolate as desired. I highly recommend you add, mix & taste – following this pattern until you reach the flavor target desired.

Ginger cookies in testing mode

Ginger Cookies (on which we spread the chevre)

Yield = approximately 108 with a size 60 scoop dollops cut in half

Beat together until creamy: 1 + 1/8 c bacon fat* and 1.5 c sugar (mixing white and brown is a delight!)

Add: .25 c malt syrup or molasses + 2 large eggs

Sift together: 3 c flour, 1 t salt, 3 t baking soda, 1 heaping t powdered ginger, pinch cayenne, 1 heaping t cinnamon and .5 c Dagoba Drinking Chocolate powder of choice

Add dry ingredients to the wet, combine completely and don’t overbeat the batter.

Scoop or spoon out as desired. Note – with the bacon fat, they’ll spread so be conservative unless you want wide and flat cookies! Chilling the dough after mixed and before baking may help retard spread somewhat.

Bake at 350 for only 9 minutes; they can dry out and be really crumbly (if you like that style of cookie, go for it). Remove from the over after 9 minutes, cool for 1 minute, and remove to cooling racks. They cool and harden quickly too; store in airtight container. I surmise they’d freeze okay – and are always best fresh!

*I use Beeler’s 2# packages of bacon cuttings; it’s really low in salt and simple high quality bacon and a great value.

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Experimenting With Beer In Your Kitchen

Beer is an ingredient. So is Chocolate.

That’s how I sometimes view it – as a component, rather than limiting it to a glass for drinking. To limit is to cut off future opportunities and my taste buds don’t appreciate that!

Willing Dagoba chocolate volunteers, ready for duty!

So into the kitchen I’ll go this weekend to develop a menu and likely new recipes for the coming Oregon Chocolate Festival. While the sessions I lead would be successful with straight forward beer & chocolate, I’m more ambitious than that….preferring to come up with new ways to use tasty foods.

Come join us for the festival.

And if you run a food oriented event and are looking for a lively and crowd pleasing presenter, call me anytime. T’is always a pleasure to enlighten taste buds + brains with fun people.

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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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Travel, Travel Everywhere….Upcoming Happenings Including TEDxNapaValley

Join us for the following upcoming workshops and events.

  1. Oregon Chocolate Festival 3/6 – 8/15

For the fourth year running Ginger has been invited back to conduct beer and chocolate tastings at this flavor filled festival.

Saturday: 1 – 2 pm featuring Oakshire Brewing beer + Dagoba Chocolate Sunday 2 – 3 pm featuring Standing Stone Brewing beer = Dagoba Chocolate

Pouring BeerIt’s a pleasure to fill the rooms, provide lively education about beer and chocolate as edible partners, and be at the lovely historic Ashland Springs Hotel. Fest founder and organizer Karolina and her crew put forth a worthwhile, relaxing and delicious event.

Full details can be found here.

  1. Ashland Chamber of Commerce Business Workshop 3/11/15

Dana and the team at the Ashland Chamber are putting on an afternoon of 3 business-focused sessions – full details can be found by clicking here.

Ginger will present Say What?! 10 Do’s and Don’ts To Amplify Your Marketing. Members and non-members are encouraged to attend.

  1. Business Builders workshop #2: How Goal Setting Is Killing Your Success.
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CiderCon Chicago 2015

Fest Ginger at Taste small Gail Oberst Powerhouse Loren Fogelman and Ginger have partnered for this big value series, with Loren leading this session. Words of Wealth started the series and #3 will be Pow!! Right in the Wallet, the Power of the Customer Experience lead by Ginger 4/9/15.

Info and registration information is available here.

  1. WESO Showcase 3/12/15

WESO is all about supporting women business entrepreneurs. For the 13th year in a row, their signature Showcase event is happening in Medford, OR and welcomes women and men who want to keep growing their business endeavors. Set up for successful education, networking, fun and support of a local charity, this free 3-hour event will be chockfull of value.

Agenda and details are here.

  1. TEDxNapaValley 4/12/15

Ginger is thrilled and honored to be among those selected to present at TEDxNapaValley 2015. The theme of the event is Redefining Success and she’s speaking about how Gender Equity supports the theme. Hosted at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Center, 14 speakers will be presenting.

Tickets and full details are available here.

  1. Marketing Beer To Women 4/14/15

Delivering signature and singular research data on the female consumer, Ginger is conducting a action packed info filled education session immediately prior to CBC this year in Portland, OR. All people and businesses that realize the enormous impact the female buyer and consumer has on the beer industry should register and attend this event. Limited seating.

Sign up today with this link.

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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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