The area’s premier sweets event returns this week
The first time Ann Berry-Kline organized the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival nine years ago, she had no idea how much interest there would be, so she held it at the Attic, a relatively small teahouse on Pacific Avenue at the time—too small, it turned out, to hold the number of people around here who love chocolate. Ever since, the Chocolate Festival has been held at the Cocoanut Grove, to continued success. We asked Berry-Kline some questions about this year’s festival.
How much chocolate is at the chocolate festival?
ANN BERRY-KLINE: There are about 32 vendors that will bring anywhere from 300-600 tastes. So, I don’t know, maybe 500 pounds of chocolate? This year I’m actually really excited because we have some old favorites coming back, but we also have a lot of new people coming up—from chocolate rice crispy bars to hot chocolate to ice cream, truffles, caramels. Mission Hill [Creamery] is coming. They’ll be selling ice cream cones. We’ve got different savories, coming too. We’ve got India Joze. We have some moles coming. It’s always neat to taste chocolate in hot things, not sweet things. We even have a chiropractor come that will do minor adjustments. He has a chocolate drink that he sells.
What’s there to do besides gorge yourself on chocolate?
We have a workshop, which is an amazing event. It’s two hours, right before the Chocolate Festival. The workshop presenter’s name is Brian Wallace of Endorfin Chocolat. He’s out of San Francisco. He’s got the most energy I’ve ever met in anybody. He does a background on chocolate and the health benefits of chocolate, and where it comes from, how it’s made. For the young, we have cupcake decorating and face painting. We’ve got 5-6 vendors bringing their wines with them, so you can pair your wine with chocolates. Also, new this year is going to be Highway 1 Brewing Company. They’ve got a chocolate stout.
What’s the Chocoholic of the Year award?
We’ll usually take about five different nominations and put them out there to be voted on. The winner gets to reign as Chocoholic for the year. I’m a previous Chocoholic of the Year recipient. You get to wear a sash. You’re sort of like royalty at the event, both this year and the next year. It’s just for fun.
INFO: 1 p.m.-4 p.m., Jan. 17. Cocoanut Grove at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. 423-5590. Tickets: $15 (includes six tastes), $35 (workshop—starts at 11 a.m.).
BAR NONE Ann Berry-Kline’s Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival fills the Cocoanut Grove again Jan. 17. PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHOCOLATE VISIONS