This past weekend, Drew and I went to Chocolate Fest at Fairchild Tropical Gardens. I don’t think either of us have ever tried so much chocolate! There were so many vendors giving samples of their products and so many cooking demonstrations that ended with samples – by the end I could not eat it any more. Drew was kind enough to take my samples so that I would not have to eat them or through them away 🙂
One of my favorite demonstrations was by the Mars Company, they have a division called American Heritage, that researches and educates Americans about the history of chocolate in the Americas, and in particular, in the US during colonial times, Their presentation ended with a sample of hot chocolate from a 1706 recipe! It tasted, amazing, and was completely natural and dairy free. Just pure chocolate, about 8 spices (secret recipe) and a tiny bit of sugar. Sugar was very pricy in the 18th century, so recipes did not call for a lot.
My other favorite part was the cooking demo by Short Chef, a true New Yorker who now lives in Miami and works with schools to educate children on healthy eating and cooking. Due to his own health problems and the loss of several family members from heart disease, he changed his career path as a chef to focus on healthy eating and educating children. He prepared for us a wonderful salad that included a chocolate and papaya dressing…..it was so yummy!
But maybe the best part was that Drew decided to plant a cacao plant in his backyard. It’s really a rain forest plant, so Miami can be a little to cold and windy in the winter and a little too sunny in the summer for it – but it’s worth a try!
Below are some pictures and recipes. Enjoy!
then, after digging through several feet of limestone rock, Drew planted the cacao plant…it will take several years before we get chocolate, but how good will that taste, knowing how much work and time went into it!
Below are also some products that we learned about that are worth mentioning:
Cannot recommend this chocolate enough, it is a 1706 recipe, all natural, no preservatives, low in sugar, dairy free and would make a great gift. Click here to see where you can purchase online
A few of the authors that contributed to this cookbook were at the festival and had samples of some of their recipes, they were all, without exception, outstanding! There is one called ‘Best-Ever Carrot Cake’ – and it just might be, we tried it, trust us. Click here for their Amazon link
Chocolate Spice Bark (serves 36)
16 Ounces of 70% Bitter Sweet Chocolate
1 tsp curry
8 ounces Dried Pineapple
8 ounces Toasted Almonds
1 small Orange Zested
1. Coat a 9 by 12.5 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the ends
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler, add spices
3. Pour into baking sheet and spread in an even layer
4. Immediately sprinkle toppings over chocolate, refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, peel off paper and break into pieces
Other spice combos: Star Anise, Mango and Macadamia Nuts
Summer Salad with Chocolate and Papaya Dressing
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
6 cups of mixed greens
1/3 cup candied almonds
1 large papaya cleaned and cut into pieces
1 ounce semi sweet chocolate curls (create curls by running a vegetable peeler over the edge of a piece of chocolate