Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Friends Go Chocolate Walking

I've been going to The Brown County Humane Society's Chocolate Walk for years and so have others. Today We're going to meet a few of the folks I've introduced to the event and who have either continued coming or have considered coming back for various reasons. Remember if you want to join the event, get a lot of chocolate, a very good walk, and help out pets, you can buy your tickets here.

With that in mind, let's meet three women who have attended the charity event with me and discover if they have continued and why they have continued taking part in the annual fundraiser.

The Brown County Humane Society has been hosting a Chocolate Walk since 2008 but the Chocolate wasn't created until 2009 so we've missed one of these events. For most of the walks, I have been accompanied by a dear friend of mine, our very own Chocolate Coconut Acolyte whom early readers voted to be our very first official co-author here on the blog. Today, Lisa has agreed to answer some questions about her experiences with the walk.

Lisa, thank you for talking with us about the Chocolate Walk.

Let’s start a bit before the walk, how did  you get involved with The Chocolate Cult?

I saw your author’s table at InConJunction (local SciFi/Fantasy convention).  The Chocolate Cult was still a very new creation at the time and you were promoting it along with your books.  It sounded  interesting and when I went home that night, I looked it up.  I really enjoyed the content, both the reviews as well as various stories about chocolate.  At that time you were looking for someone to help you with the chocolate/coconut reviews. I “auditioned” and was awarded the spot. I’ve enjoyed being able to sample the various chocolates (except for the chocolate/curry/coconut bar) and appreciate the opportunity to share my own opinions about chocolate.

I believe we went to the 2009 Chocolate Walk, am I remembering correctly? Just you and I?

Wow, it’s been long enough that I have to count backwards on my fingers.  Yes, 2009 is what I came up with.

What do you remember about your first time at the Chocolate Walk?

Seeing parts of Nashville, IN that I’d not seen before. Talking about how/why you’d started blog. Talking about your books. And the incredibly rude vendor who had the chocolate covered espresso beans and yelled at a young girl.  I was glad to see that he wasn’t asked to participate after that year. And I remember eating virtually every sample right after we’d gotten them.  Big mistake! Fortunately we learned from our experience and haven’t repeated that mistake.

Why do you keep coming with me to the event?

First, there’s the chocolate in so many different presentations.  I look forward to seeing what creations the vendors are offering.  And I like that there are some vendors who participate and give out the same product every year.  If that one store quits giving out chocolate caramels, I may not go back.    I really like seeing the creativity that goes into the products.  There’s a day spa that provided chocolate body scrub last year and a pet accessory store that made carob treats since chocolate is toxic to dogs.  There’s ice cream stand that always has fun offerings.  I remember the year they did Tootsie Roll ice cream and it really did taste like the candy, even down to that “twangy” aftertaste.

Second, I like the commaraderie (sic).  It’s fun to see you and talk about our shared interests. And Brown County in the fall is lovely.  We’ve been blessed every year to have good weather for it and I hope our good fortune continues. I like that I now feel like I’m a veteran chocolate walker and we can plan our route accordingly.

There have been some years you haven't been able to come with me to The Chocolate Walk and I've missed you. How many of these walks have you participated with?

I’ve only missed 2013 because 3 days prior to the event, I’d been told I had no cartiledge (sic) in my left knee and shouldn’t be doing that much walking. I did considering taking my chances and doing it anyway but since I needed a cane to get around with by then, I chose to stay home.  2014, however, I was back in action with my replacement knee. 

I know you've attended other chocolate charity events in other cities. What have you done and how does the Brown County Humane Society’s event compare to those?

I try to participate in the Chocolate Fest in Indianapolis, which benefits Young Audiences of Indiana.  The format is a little different for that event.  You purchase a ticket which you can then exchange for a chocolate confection from any of the vendors.  The vendors come from a wide variety of institutions including chocolate shops, restaurants, food markets and culinary schools so the choices run the gamut. So you’ll find things like truffles, tortes, tarts, and even hot beverages.  In addition to the fund raiser, there is an optional competition for the vedors.  A few years ago the Ivy Tech State College culinary arts students won the competition, beating out veteran chefs from well known restaurants.

Give newbies some advice about the Chocolate Walk. What things do they need to do to make it a good experience?

1.  Dress appropriately. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot and wear
 layers.  Indiana weather in November can be very eratic. The temperature can change by as much as 20 degrees.  

2.  Plan on taking some items home to eat later.  I usually bring several snack sized zip top baggies, a permanent marker to ID the sample and a tote bag or back pack to carry them in.  Also you are not required to take all the offerings.  Most of the vendors are happy to tell you if their confections have common allergens (peanuts, soy beans, tree nuts, etc) so you can avoid those.

3. Take your time.  There’s no prize for getting through the route the fastest. 

4. This should go without saying but thank the vendors (okay that makes it a good experience for the vendors more than the participants but it encourages them to be a part of the event for coming years.

Do you plan to return to Nashville this November for their 9th Chocolate Walk?

I purchased my tickets earlier this week and I plan to continue attending for as long as I can.  BCHS finds “furever” homes for hundreds of animals every year.

Thank you, Lisa, for your time and your support of the event.

You’re very welcome.  It’s been a pleasure.
One year (2010) at The Chocolate Walk in Nashville, Indiana, I had a larger group go with Lisa and I, and Erica was among that group. While others who went that year have been haphazard in going back, Erica has found a great use of the event as a gift. Today she's going to tell us about that as well as share her experiences at the event.

Erica, thank you for talking with us today.

I believe you were part of the big group of people I had go to the Chocolate Walk with me in 2010, is that correct?

I'm not sure. I know that was my first year. I think I was part of the group but rode up separately with my boyfriend at the time.

What do you remember about your first time at the Chocolate Walk?

How naive I was. I thought going around thirty-plus shops to get chocolate would be a piece of cake (pardon the pun). Boy was I in surprise! The second year, my motto became, "Do it for the animals!" 

I recall that you told me that you often get tickets to the charity walk for a friend and then you two (or more) go to it together. Is that correct and if so, how did you think of doing that because it is a great idea?

Yes, for about the last three or four years I have been getting a ticket for my friend Kat as a birthday present. We both have birthday's in October (mine at the beginning, her's at the end), we both were cat mom's, and we love chocolate. I thought it was the perfect gift. We could spend the day together, eat lots of treats, and do something good for cats, dogs and other animals helped by the BCHS (Brown County Humane Society). 

Each year we get together in the morning, drive down, take our time doing the walk, have a leisurely lunch, and we even have a tradition of ending the walk with gemstone mining at Copperhead Creek Gem Mine. 

You have pets, has being a pet mother contributed to your willingness to keep attending and supporting the Nashville Chocolate Walk?

Absolutely!  I love cats. I have two of my own. I recently had to say goodbye to my third cat, who had been with me for nineteen years. However, being a responsible pet owner (or "mom") means knowing your limit. There are only so many "fur babies" one can adopt and provide the love and care they deserve. However, that doesn't mean I don't want to do more.  

I love participating in this walk because I know the proceeds got the BCHS which does so much to help cats and dogs find forever homes. Plus, they also provide services to people who have animals but need additional help such as; spay and neuter, housing and food assistance, pet supplies, etc... 

Plus, I secretly get a thrill visiting with the shelter dogs the BCHS brings to the walk. I like dogs, because of my cats I'm not a good home for one, but I do like seeing the ones brought out to meet everyone during the big occasion. 

How many years have you attended the Chocolate Walk?

Oh, I think maybe six years now? 

What is your favorite treat to get during the walk?

There're so many choices! I don't know. Often it's the surprises I like the most. The unexpected treats that are unique to each year; like one year someone had brownie bacon concoction that was just amazing! 

Give newbies some advice about the Chocolate Walk. What three things do they need to do to make it a good experience?

Bring a doggie bag! (Pun intended this time!) Seriously, bring a bag or basket. You definitely want to bring something to store all the treats you will NOT be able to eat. There are just so many goodies handed out that you will hit your limit. Pace yourself. Decide what has to gobble up then and there and what can wait until later.  

Do you plan to return to Nashville this November for their 9th Chocolate Walk?

Yep! I'll be there! 

Thank you, Erica, for talking with us and for your support of the Brown County Humane Society through their Chocolate Walk in November.

If you are regular reader of The Chocolate Cult, you might remember an interview with and recipe from Gina Brown for a couple of years back. She has been to this charity event with me so I wanted to interview again about it.

Let's start a bit before the walk, how did you get involved with The Chocolate Cult?

I learned about The Chocolate Cult through my son.  (Our former Chocolate Mocha Acolyte who helped us with coffee and chocolate reviews for several years.)

I believe we went to the 2014 Chocolate Walk, am I remembering correctly? You, your son, and I?

I think it was 2013. We were supposed to attend in 2014 but I fell and ended up with a sprained ankle. 

What did you think about that Chocolate Walk? Did you have a good time?

It was a blast! I remember it being a really nice day. Everyone we met was super nice. Great event for a great cause. And of course there was chocolate everywhere. 

I don't think you've returned to the Chocolate Walk down in Nashville. Is there something that the event is not doing or is doing that is preventing you from returning?

The only thing preventing me from attending each year is distance. We live about 2 hours south. I think it’s an awesome event though!

You are a professional chef and teacher so I can imagine you appreciate the work that might go into preparing all of the treats for this event. What chocolate goodie do you think would be a good idea for a business to offer to 1500 walkers?

Oh gosh. I really don’t know. I think if I was making something…..maybe… I would do some sort of granola. I’d make something on the healthier side with grains, dried fruits, nuts, honey and of course chocolate. It would give the walkers the energy to keep moving! 

Give newbies some advice about the Chocolate Walk. What three things do they need to do to make it a good experience?

1. Don’t start out hungry. Have a light breakfast with some good protein. This will keep you from wanting to eat every single piece of chocolate. And it will give you great energy for the walk.

2. Save some chocolate for later. Eating all your chocolate at the event may cause two ailments: a possible tummy ache, and sadness when you later realize that you’ve eaten all your chocolate.

3. Go with a friend. They more the merrier in this pretty little town!

Do you plan to return to Nashville this November for their 9th Chocolate Walk?

I do! Let’s see if I can follow my own advice and not eat every single chocolate while on the walk! Looking forward to a lovely event!

So, Sisters and Brothers. Are you going join us on on the Brown County Humane Society Chocolate Walk?

Do you attend charity events that feature chocolate in your part of the world? Let me know about them.


Gina Brown said...

Thank you so much for your work and blog! This is such a great event! Looking for to it!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

I'm so happy you're going again, Gina. Maybe we'll run into each other there.

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