First of all, THANK YOU to all the super engaged and fun flavor loving guests at the very recent 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, Ashland Hills, Ashland OR.The organizers moved it to a roomier venue – and in my opinion, with great success. Way more room and opportunity for everyone to fully get around
and mingle. The previous venue is now too small for this ever-growing destination event.
It marked my fifth year presenting at this yummy Theobroma cacao saturated festival. Each year I’ve given lively & tasty beer and chocolate tastings. We’ve gone from a room that’ll seat 30ish to a tent that seats 45/50ish to (now) a roomy room for 80+.
When people started coming in, 30 minutes before the sessions started, I knew we were in store for more incredible crowds of enthusiasts. I’m happy to report, every single person who was our guest at all three of the sessions was a pure pleasure to have in the room! I especially liked the multi generational families with offspring of varying ages.
With 22+ Friday night, 80 – 100+ Saturday afternoon, and 80 – 100 Sunday, it was a packed crazy good time had by all. Can’t wait to return next year! I’m always humbled by guests who return to my sessions on purpose – so a special thanks to them all.
The sessions ran smooth in large part thanks to my exceptional (not exaggerating here) crew, starting with my second in command for the weekend, Russ. He’s a service professional, kept it all going, gave directions to the hotel staff (who are always fantastic too!), and made my job easy. Hats off to my colleague and occasional assistant Stacy, equally competent, sharp and guest focused. The hotel staff & crew, management and security hired – all of them were smiling, helpful and fun to work in delicious harmony with and for.
So – what’d we have, you may be asking? Good question! Let me whet your whistle with the menus we served. I encourage you to try this at home:
Friday / Always a Classic: Beer + Chocolate Pairing & Tasting
- Standing Stone* Chocolate Stout with chocolate gingerbread cookies & Dagoba** Lemonberry Zest chocolate.
- Barleywine* with shortbread cocoa sticks with Xocolatl** fondue + red raisins
- Milk & Honey* with Scharffen Berger Coconut Macadamia fudge
Saturday / Together Forever: Beer, Wine & Chocolate Tasting
- Barleywine* + Weisingers Syrah with barleywine poached Bosc pears drizzled with unsweetened** fondue and Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle blue
- Chocolate Beer* + Weisingers Sauvignon Blanc with citrus cookies and mandarin oranges
Sunday / Better All The Time: Beer, Chocolate & Cheese Tasting
- Noble Stout* with more Coconut Macadamia fudge + Scharffen Berger sea salt pistachio fudge and unsweetened coconut shavings
- Twin Plunge Double IPA* with Orange** chocolate, mandarin oranges, and rustic french bread crostini topped with Rogue Creamery Cacow Belle cheese & either lemon orange marmalade or cherry citrus jam
- Milk & Honey* with Milk chocolate** and water crackers topped with soft chevre, dusted with Drinking chocolate powder**
I’ll post recipes tomorrow.