Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Art of Chocolate 2014 Reviewed

The Art of Chocolate is the highlight of my town's Week of Chocolate and this year we were able to send one of the many folks who help your Chocolate Priestess bring this blog to you every week because the event organizers (LifeDesigns) gave us two free tickets.  The photos were taken by Derek and the words are from Emilie (edited by me between two emails she sent me post event).  Note that this is just a small sampling of the photos I was sent for the event so I just tried to match up photos with the text.

The museum has three floors with galleries.
We stayed until about 7pm, after getting there at 5:30.  It got quite crowded.  I think that they could have encouraged people to head upstairs. Several people didn't realize they could go to the second floor.  We did have fun.  I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had not been so crowded and if people had been a bit nicer about not bumping into me (or just apologizing when they did.)  It is very painful for me when people elbow me in the back or step on my foot, because of my medical issues.  But, really, I don't think it is acceptable to run into people and not say anything, whether you can tell they have a medical condition or not.  The crowding was the main reason we left early.  It was difficult to see all of the items in the art auction because of the crowds.  

1st floor looking into gallery
I did not see many people taking advantage of the tours.  It was not terribly clear that you could.  One lady who was in charge of rounding up people for tours seemed, instead, to be trying to keep people out of the galleries.  Her body language and expression was much more that of a guard than of a docent--people thought she was there to keep them out.  And she stood right in front of the sign that said there would be tours at set times.  Not the best job of promoting the museum!  I overheard someone say "It would be cool if we could go look in the museum."  

View to 1st floor check in back
In all, the event was enjoyable but the spread of information was just not that good.  People didn't know they could go upstairs.  It was unclear what line you were supposed to use to enter ("Ticket holders" actually meant "Will call" and not people who had their tickets in hand.  THOSE people were supposed to get in the "buy tickets" line.)  



Some people didn't get tickets to use for voting for their favorite chefs or art works (from the auction.)  Some people got them but didn't know what to do with them.  One chef didn't even know there was a competition. I think all this information could have been provided in the little brochure we were given on entry, which really only listed sponsors.  If there had been more information about the event in there people would have read it and the sponsors would have gotten more attention, too.  

There was no artist actually working in chocolate at the event, they just had a painting in chocolate already completed.  I have to admit, I was a little disappointed there were no men painted with chocolate :-) but there was a lady in a sort of toga with white chocolate splattered on it.  Pretty, but not quite the same thing.  The singer was terrific.  He was a classically trained opera singer but he also sang some pop songs, and his voice easily filled the entire space.  I did not get a chance to get his name, unfortunately.  Another thing that should have been in the brochure, I guess.



Despite all of my gripes, it was a pleasant event.  There were lots of tasty chocolate treats to sample.  The desserts were diverse, delicious, and had great eye appeal.  The samples were of generous size.  The savory snacks were very good, and a nice counterpoint to the sweets.  We did not try any of the alcoholic beverages, but there were Godiva chocolate martinis and wine, which were served in generous quantities.  

The most amazing chocolate treat was from the Rainbow Bakery.  They had mini cupcakes with chocolate cake, rosemary icing, drizzled with salted caramel.  Honestly, I don't even like rosemary that much, but these were amazing.  Very intense flavors, with good mouthfeel, and well-balanced.  I don't know how they did it, since all their products are vegan, and butter is usually the best thing for carrying flavor.  I was really impressed. 




There was also a dazzlingly intense, moist chocolate cake truffle from The Rail. I may have to go there just to check out the desserts sometime.




I have been to The Art of Chocolate the previous three years as part of my volunteer work at the Museum as a Docent so I always was there at closing.  I'm very glad that Emilie and Derek were able to go and report on this event for 2014.  I hope I'll be able to connect with each of the businesses who were there and perhaps feature their creations in future months here on The Chocolate Cult.  There are still two more events in this Week of Chocolate (Posh Ganache and Chocolate Prom) so go check them out please.

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