Another chocolate show has come and gone, and I'm happy to say that from what I could tell, it went even better than last year. Then again, I didn't make it to all of this year's. Friday afternoon I fell ill, and subsequently spent all of Saturday in bed, missing out on the second half of the show, as well as that evening's B-52's concert downtown. But at least I can tell you about the show up through Friday.
The show actually started this year on Thursday evening, with a VIP night. If you were looking to experience the show without any children, then that was the night to go. I was there, but I spent my time at the door, taking peoples' tickets. Those tickets were significantly more expensive than the rest of the evening, but I could swear that a good couple of hundred people thought that the extra few bucks were worth it.
Thursday night was supposed to be ages 18 and up only, but that didn't stop a lot of people from bringing their kids anyway. One mom even seemed to have instructed her children to hide behind her as she handed us her tickets. She obviously knew the rules, and being Utahn, decided to try and flout them rather than follow them. Other people didn't seem to know the rule, despite the fact that it was printed right on the ticket.
I also volunteered all day Friday, but the organizers kindly gave me the first couple of hours off, so that I could experience the show as well. I got there early, and was inside the showroom before the doors opened. I found myself in a circle with Matt Caputo of Tony Caputo's (they have the largest selection of chocolate in the state), Art Pollard of Amano Chocolate, and Chris Blue, owner of the newly-opened Chocolatier Blue. They were discussing an article involving Raymond Lammers, executive pastry chef of Stein Eriksen Lodge. It was interesting to listen to these three professionals, who I think are on the forefront of putting Utah on the chocolate map.
I walked around and tasted a lot of chocolate, and occassionally other sweets. There was a lot of bad chocolate there. There was a fair amount of pretty mediochre chocolate there. And of course, there was a bit of really good chocolate. Most of the really good chocolate was showcased at the booths manned by the aforementioned professionals. In fact, expect upcoming articles about at least of couple of them.
I also tasted some honey there, fresh from Lehi, UT. It was actually some of the best honey I've ever tasted. I almost bought some. Keep in mind that I've never really been a big fan of the taste of honey, and I really liked this stuff. Check out Knight Honey if you ever get a chance. And let me know if you find their website.
I got to help out Ruth Kendrick with her ganache class, and after that her neice Susan LaHargoue's chocolate class for kids. Both are amazing teachers, and it's always a joy to help them in class, even if all I did for Susan's class was prep work beforehand.
It was good to see Tony Caputo's have a booth there. They also handled the chocolate tastings this year, which I regrettably was unable to attend. I found out on Friday that they were apparently there because of my review from last year's show. One of the show staff ran across the post and tried contacting the vendors mentioned both by me, and in the comments. Caputos's was apparently the only one who took them up on it, and from what I heard from Matt, they were glad they did. Liberty Heights Fresh, Pirate O's and Baker's C&C didn't bother to show up. I think this is critical. All of the business that could have gone to them at the show went to Caputo's instead.
It was a good show, and I regret having to have missed it on Saturday. I think I would have been happy to just spend both days wandering around the booths, and watching cooking demos and taking classes. Mel Henderson did a good job with things this year, and I'm already excited to see how she pulls things together next year.